Song of the Sea (2014)

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8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Love the visuals and fairy tale style storytelling

Takes a while to find its direction

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  Song of the Sea

Studio:  StudioCanal

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  September 6, 2014 (Toronto International Film Festival)

MPAA Rating:  PG

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Saoirse gets all the attention since she can fly!

Ben was abandoned by his mother at the birth of his sister Saoirse and grew up with his forlorn lighthouse keeper father.  Saoirse always seemed different and never talked…leading Ben and Saoirse’s grandmother to decide to take the children to a proper home in the city.  When Ben and Saoirse decide to runaway home, Ben learn that Saoirse is a selkie and that the fairy folk that his mother told him about were real.  Now, Saoirse is the fairy folks’ last hope and Ben must get her home before it is too late, but an evil owl witch named Macha could stand in their way!

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Guess your Gillette Turbo ran out of blades…

Written and directed by Tomm Moore, Song of the Sea is based on stories from Celtic legend.  The film was well received by critics and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (losing to Big Hero 6).

Song of the Sea was nominated for an Oscar with some controversy.  Few had heard of the film, yet fan favorite The Lego Movie was snubbed for the category.  As a result, Song of the Sea got a bit of a bad rap to begin with…yet it wasn’t the weakest nominee in the category.

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Owls are apparently evil

I really enjoyed Moore’s previous film The Secret of Kells, and Moore continued with the Irish themes here.  The story is an interesting blend of modern day storytelling with classic elements of Celtic myth.  The result is almost a Harry Potter style story with creatures and monsters in a real world.

I will say that the movie takes a bit to get going.  The set-up and the running away from home feels rather independent from the second half of the film.  It does establish the relationship between Ben and Saoirse, but I felt that the story picked up once Ben set out on his quest to find and save Saoirse.  It gave the movie the direction it needed and helped give the ending of the movie power.

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The lush landscape of Song of the Sea

What I love the most about the movie are the visuals.  I love traditional animation and it sadly is a dying art with the rise of the computer film.  Occasionally you get an animated film and often they are bad…just hurting the style more.  Here you get a beautifully drawn tale that bases its look in its simplicity (like The Secret of Kells).  It is classy and reminds me how rich the medium can be.

Song of the Sea could have been a perfect movie with a bit more work on the core story.  It is unfortunate that a movie like The Lego Movie gets so much publicity while a smaller movie like this gets little attention.  I wish more people could see movies like this and that some classic animation could get wider release…but now any computer animated film is shown on thousands of screens while a movie like Song of the Sea has to be sought out.

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Related Links:

The Secret of Kells (2009)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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