With all of the complaints and backlash against the Oscars not nominating The Lego Movie in this category. I wanted to take a look at some of the independent ones that did. Song of the Sea is one that went completely off my radar and if it was never nominated. I would have never heard about it. It’s from the same filmmakers who brought us The Secret of Kells and I really did enjoy that one. I always love seeing hand drawn animated movies get made because those ones don’t get noticed too much these days. This one stands out even more because it’s style is unlike ones you have seen before. It has an almost Hieroglyphic look to it’s characters and settings that do set it apart from other features. But how is the movie as a whole. Well, let’s continue.
The story is based on the Celtic myth of the selkie (Humans that can change into seals). In this story, two children live in a lighthouse with their father who is still upset over the loss of his wife and their mother. Ben, the oldest is a little bit upset with his younger sister Saoirse(pronounced ser – sha everyone. Not cirrhosis) because it was when she was born that his mother left them. Saoirse is mute and has yet to start communicating with anyone. But one night she discovers a flute that her brother got from their mother and with that she finds a white coat that turns her into a white seal whenever she is in the water. Her father becomes upset when he finds out that she has taken the coat and decides to lock it up and throw it in the water. The two kids are then forced to live with their grandmother in the city. In hopes that they will soon forget about their mother’s loss and not be tempted to go back to the sea. When Saoirse begins getting real sick . Ben learns that it’s her coat that can help save her and they go off on a quest to do so.
This is the only fairy tale that I can think of that tells kids that life is not always going to be wonderful. You will have to deal with some pretty awful things during your time here. There is a character in this whose son has loss someone he loved. She was so upset in seeing him sad that she stole his emotions away. This turned him into stone, and then she began putting her own emotions away to try and hide her pain and it just got worse from there. This is a good message for all kids in that if you keep all of your feelings bottled up inside. You too will end up being just like a stone figure.
As I mentioned before, the animation is really beautiful and it shows that you don’t have to do everything in 3D CGI to tell a really good story. I’m sure it would have been just fine if it was. But for me, this one just felt more …ummm…..morre……uhhh. Damn it, I can’t think of the word right now, but there is something rather unique and altogether beautiful about it being done this way. My friend Kim saw this with me, and she really liked that there was no jokes about pop culture and there was not a side character used just for laughs and I have to agree with her.
Unless your movie is from Studio Ghbli or Pixar. Original story lines in animated features is a very rare thing to market to the tiny mass consumers of today. Kids are bombarded everyday with ads for every well known franchise there is. From toys to candy to clothing and even breakfast pastries. Most kids will have no idea that a movie like Song of The Sea even exists. It’s just not the type of movie you would see advertised during most programs aimed at the little tykes. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’ s a very good fairytale that has wonderful characters, intriguing storyline, and beautiful animation. I could easily see there being a few plush toys based on some of the characters, but that will never happen. I can’t imagine that any company would take a chance on making merchandise for a movie like this because it’s not from a well known studio. It also has the misfortune of not looking like most of the animated movies that kids would want to see. This is more perfect for the ages 6 to 10 crowd. The PG rating is not accurate for this at all. This should be rated G. Yes, it does deal with some heavy themes such as death and loss, but it also has a high message of finding strength and being true to yourself. Giving it a PG rating for mild peril language and pipe smoking images is just ridiculous.
The Good: The animation and it’s themes.
The Bad: The PG rating it received.
The Odd: Finding out that the woman you married and have two kids with is a seal.