For a family treat this half-term, this Halloween, there’s Wolfwalkers.
It’s from the Irish animation whizzes at Cartoon Saloon who brought us The Secret of the Kells and Song of the Sea, and this again taps into Irish folklore with a story of the English occupation in Kilkenny in the late 17th century, and an evil Lord Protector (voiced by Simon McBurney – evil functionaries are always Simon McBurney) who wants to tame the Irish and tame the countryside.
His plan is to rid the landscape of the woods and forests, and destroy the wolves therein who terrorise the sheep and prevent the land being used profitably for agriculture. However, what he doesn’t know is that there are spirits in the woods, called Wolfwalkers, human by day and wolf by night, who can command the beasts.
One of them is Maeve, a little wild red-headed girl who befriends the young English girl Robyn, whose father, a hunter voiced by Sean Bean, has been hired from Yorkshire to trap and kill the wolves.
All sorts of magic and very exciting adventure ensues, all in the graphic style of Celtic legend and with prefect story-telling pace. Excellent stuff – my youngest son, he’s 9, got up and clapped at the end, at home, and said it was an “absolutely brilliant film” – he’s totally right.