AFI Fest Review: “Wolfwalkers” is a Mesmerizing Animated Adventure for All Ages

Taking place during the English colonization of Ireland, “Wolfwalkers” (directed by Tomm Moore & Ross Stewart) is a Celtic folklore-inspired animated film that will wow the senses. Vibrant, beautiful, whimsical and done in the “old school” hand-drawn animation style, this is a film about seeking adventure, friendship, being ones true self, modernization and colonization.

“Wolfwalkers” revolves around a young girl Robyn (voiced by Honor Kneafsey) whose father (voiced by Sean Bean) is a hunter commissioned by the Lord Protector (voiced by Simon McBurney) to clear the pathway for the colonization of the land. With said colonization comes the destruction of the forest and the wolves (which the townsfolk are terrified of, but they are only trying to protect themselves and their land, which is always the case in colonization) that inhabit it as well as an erasure of the Celtic or pagan culture (in which Wolfwalkers — people who can transform into wolves as they sleep — are a thing) as the Christian conquerors try to erase the native ways. As Robyn tries to adjust with her new life in a new land as an outsider, she yearns for adventure and the freedom that lies just beyond the city walls.


One day, Robyn ventures off following her father on a hunt (against his wishes and the rules of the city where no children are allowed outside the walls). She so wants to be just like her single-father whose only goals is to protect his daughter as he tries to do what he thinks is best for her. While out wandering the woods she stumbles across an unlikely friendship with Mebh (voiced by Eva Whittaker), a young wolfwalker, and they embark on a quest to save Mebh’s missing mother.

“Wolfwalkers” is a beautifully touching story of friendship set against a backdrop of fear of what’s different and colonization. It’s a story that translate through the ages. Its so easy to get wrapped up in this film and loose yourself completely while watching and its animation has such an old Celtic vibe. This vibrant film is enthralling and engaging from beginning to end as we get lost in the captivating and spirited animation, score and storytelling.

Coming to Apple TV+ on December 11, 2020.