There is so much to say about this movie; I had to think long and hard about what to write.
Tomm Moore's "Song of the Sea" is AWESOME! It's one of the best films I've seen in a while (it's way better than "Secret of Kells"). Everything about it is nearly flawless: the visuals, the story, the characters, the music... I could go on forever! But I won't, so let's make this brief.
-The visuals are unlike any other cartoon I've ever seen. In some ways they're even better! The character designs have the typical Tomm Moore look: simplistic yet highly expressive. This allows viewers to focus on the character's actions and thoughts, rather than the pointless nitty-gritty details like what kind of sweater they're wearing
The best part though is the background art: everything looks so fantastical with its simple shapes, intricate textures, and rich colors fit to match the different atmospheres of each scene.
-The characters were well-rounded and relatable. My favorites were Ben and Macha. These two undergo the most character development: Ben goes a long way from being a selfish brat, to (in the film's words) "the best big brother in the whole world". Also I like Macha was not your typical villain. On a side note, those seals look SO CUTE !
-The story is also great! I like how it tackled themes like death and loss in a way palatable to children, and relevant to the story in its entirety. Too many family films use death as a quick plot device or to start up pointless drama. like The best thing about the story is its ambiguity. It leaves lots of things to the viewers' imagination--- did Granny know that Bronagh's a selkie? Why exactly was Mac Lir so sad? Why is Ben not a selkie? What ever became of Granny's fur coat XD? You could come up with a billion answers to these sort of questions, and they'd each make perfect sense without obstructing the story. Tomm Moore's changes to the selkie myth are also a nice twist. Most people don't know what a selkie is, so I predicted he'd do a very by-the-book interpretation of them. Thank goodness he didn't! It made the film much less predictable and easier to watch. The best change is perhaps the selkie's sealskin to a shiny white coat. Because the image of a person literally crawling out of living seal flesh is just gross . It certainly looked gross in "The Secret of Roan Inish" (1995)!
-The visuals don't reflect the time period. According to Tomm Moore, this film is set in 1987 because that was "Ireland’s period of dramatic economic growth" ( www.tinymixtapes.com/film/song… ). Yet there's nothing distinctively 80s about it. At first glance, I thought this film was set in the present day. Why set it in the '80s if they're not gonna show us the '80s?
- The film contradicts itself at times. Like how Ben could suddenly swim to the bottom of the ocean, despite being afraid of water. I know why he does it; but my question is how. Is it because his mom's a selkie? If that's the case, why couldn't he swim earlier???
-Maybe Ben's not a selkie because either...
A) Ben and Saoirse are half-siblings (they look nothing alike!)
B) Selkies are all female
C) Ben will become a selkie when he hits puberty
-I wonder how Conor and Bronagh met. Conor seems like a decent guy, so I doubt he took her against her will. At least I hope not!
- It's ironic that this film has elements of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" (mute maidens of the sea, magic seashells, even Old English Sheepdogs), when it's set around the same time that "The Little Mermaid" (1989) premiered.
While not perfect, I love "Song of the Sea" for what it does right.
Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments below.
Peace out !