Song of the Sea, Blu-ray (2014-2015)
Director: Tomm Moore
Voices: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson, Fionnula Flanagan, Lisa Hannigan, Pat Shortt
Writer: Will Collins
Studio: StudioCanal & others/ GKIDS/ Universal 61168900 [3/17/15] (2 discs: Blu-ray + DVD)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (on Blu-ray), English & French DD 5.1 (on DVD), French DTS-HD MA 5.1 (on Blu-ray)
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Digital copy & UltraViolet expires 5/2/16
Extras: Behind the Scenes (optional commentary), Animation tests (optional commentary), The Art of Song of the Sea, Audio commentary track with the director, Conceptual trailer, U.S. trailers
Length: 188 min.
This gorgeous animation feature appears to be a collaboration of Irish, Belgian and Danish filmmakers. The creators of the film previously got attention for their Oscar-nominated Secret of Kells, which we reviewed. Song of the Sea was also nominated for Best Animated Feature. It is based on the Irish legend of the Selkies – a seal/human female mix.
The little seal-child Saoirse’s mother – entirely a Selkie – disappears back into the water with the seals after giving birth to the last seal-child and the cute little girl is initially not treated well by her older brother Ben. But they go on a journey to save the world of magic, meeting spirits, fairies and others, and dealing with the owl witch Macha. The idea is to keep the spirit world from disappearing, and Saoirse has a major role in this via the effort to awaken her special powers. I liked the husband’s crotchety mother, who drives an old Citroen, and who is depicted as similar to the owl witch in some ways.
The various mythical creatures and the visual fantasies are beautifully done in a lovely hand-drawn style, and the magical storytelling is well done. Children should be fascinated with both the story and the unsual creatures and images. An underlying theme is that these stories, animals, emotions and nature connect us with one another and lead us to our better selves. I’m usually not drawn to Gaelic or Celtic things, but I loved this one. This is definitely a work of art as well as a great animated family film.