|'The finale of the film brings everything together in an ultra-satisfying visual treat, an explosion of invention and idea realisation.'|
Studio Ghibli are the must-mention touch point when it comes to Song Of The Sea and, in wider context, the Cartoon Saloon studio, led by this film's director Tomm Moore. Two feature length mainstream releases might be too soon to crown the studio the heir apparent to Ghibli's throne, but Song Of The Sea follows The Secret Of Kells as a well-received, beautiful looking piece of animation, which does put Moore and his studio at the head of the small throng of animators not reliant on CGI.
As you might expect, the film looks gorgeous. The quality of the art on show is not solely reliant on the colours, the smooth animation, the beautiful pen work, or the unusual pairings of shapes and designs that bring life to every element of the frame. Rather, Moore's work blends each of the above into a visual palette which means locations and characters are distinct and satisfying. The finale of the film brings everything together in an ultra-satisfying visual treat, an explosion of invention and idea realisation. For the gamers out there, the style is reminiscent of several releases which utilise the UbiArt framework from Ubisoft, another example of a studio doing very good things to support traditional design and storytelling.
In that regard, Song Of The Sea's narrative proves to both back up the visuals on display but also, to a point, let them down slightly. Moore's story, screenwritten by Will Collins, blends Celtic myth and folklore with a very Pixar-esque approach to looking at, and dealing with, loss. The mature look at the latter theme is, like the film's visuals, a beautiful lesson for young and old alike. Parents who choose to screen this for youngsters are likely to be richly rewarded with both questions and solutions. The narrative that tells this tale though is very quest-driven and sees protagonists Ben (David Rawle) and Saoirse (Lucy O'Connell) often casually hopping from new fantasy to new fantasy. It's so simple in many ways that, at times, it can suck at the attention span.
The message of the film though, and the gorgeous way in which it presents itself, are more than enough to see it through, and to justify a purchase. Song Of The Sea is a film to revisit. Scenes reveal details as they flow, your eyes taking in the depth of what's presented, which, crucially, extends to more than just the showcase of art work.
Song Of The Sea is out on UK Blu-ray and DVD from Monday 9th November 2015.