Song of the Sea Review
Song of the Sea is an Irish animated fantasy film directed by Tomm Moore who previously directed the now famous Oscar nominated “The Secret of Kells“. And he’s got another winner with this film proving once again that he’s quickly becoming a big name in the animation industry.
Like his previous work, Song of the Sea is based on the ancient Celtic myth, this time the one of selkie. I found the story in this film captivating. It really is. It may seem simplistic at first, but I really connected later, especially in the wonderful finale which is filled with emotion. That whole scene is just indescribably beautiful and although prolonged and somewhat too emotional, it is still not only heartbreaking, but wonderful to behold, both emotionally and visually. The whole story is very engaging, well crafted and wonderfully executed making you want to know how it will all end.
The characters in the film are pretty good. They are pretty simplistic, but mostly good. The father is very well developed and the children are really sweet. The relationship between brother and sister is just so endearing to follow. But the character design is excellent, human as well as selkie and that very charming dog that made me smile every time he was on screen. One flaw that this movie has is unfortunately the acting which I think is rather flat sometimes. It is at times good, but often quite weak to the point of a distraction. The pacing is also a bit too slow, but still very leisurely and pulling you in with its story and visuals. The voice acting is the only flaw I found in this otherwise remarkable animated film.
Song of the Sea is incredibly original and the story has such a great mythology and world building to it. It has a big heart and although childlike, it is very mature as well. It has such a great adult and child appeal and is wonderful for the whole family. The tone is deft, the dialogue is pretty good and although I wished for less of it due to the film’s nature, I still loved it. It is wonderfully old-fashioned in its execution and it has such a timeless appeal to it. And it just knows when and how to end which I appreciated a lot. The whole world here is beautiful to stay in for an hour and a half and it is such a moving tale.
Now, the animation. What is there to say other than it is simply marvelous to behold. The hand-drawn animation here is so wonderfully crafted, artistic, almost like paintings. Especially the scenes at the sea as well as the ending are extremely beautiful and pleasing to the eye. The animators managed to make such a simplistic animation work and they made it seem like art which it really is. It is a technically splendid film which has exquisite animation and I also think the score is terrific, very moving and fitting to the story. Some of the imagery here is just breathtaking to behold. Some of the designs of the characters I wasn’t a huge fan of, bust most of it was pretty good. The animation may seem simplistic, but in a deceptive way as it is incredibly artistic and profound.
When I compare this film with the other animated films of 2014, I would rank it below just “How To Train Your Dragon 2” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” (if you count that movie as a 2014 release, of course). It is better than all the other animated movies released in this particular year and Tomm Moore should be congratulated for making another masterful feature film. I know that critics usually say his previous work is better, but in my opinion, Song of the Sea is quite on par with “The Secret of Kells” and maybe even better and I am so happy for both the director and Irish animation that they are gradually establishing themselves as major players in the animation arena. This charming film is really a feast for the eyes and heart, it is a movie that does not disappoint and every animation fan, like myself, will most likely adore it.