REVIEWED: Wonder Woman 1984, Soul, Wolf Walkers and more

It’s clear that 2020 has been a tumultuous year for the film industry, and 2021 is shaping up to be similarly tricky. Covid-19 restrictions around the world are still affecting both film production and distribution.

Despite this, whether you are willing and able to attend cinema screenings or opt to stream new and classic releases, there hundreds of thousands of films available.

University of Chester Film Studies student Luke Barnes weighs in on some of the biggest recent releases.

Wolfwalkers

Image supplied by Apple TV

Wolfwalkers is an animated fantasy film directed by Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.

The plot sees Robyn and her father move to an Irish hamlet in the 1600s to kill wolves and to start a new life.

It was nice to see a return to 2D animation. It has been too long, and it looked really beautiful throughout, you could tell a lot of work had gone into it and it really helped the film to standout amongst the 2020 animation landscape.

Overall, a beautifully thoughtful and heartbreakingly sad animated film that you owe it to yourself to see.

4.5/5

Full review here.

Wonder Woman 1984

Yikes. How can a film franchise go from a 5/5 (Wonder Woman 2017) to this? There are so many issues with this film I don’t even know where to begin.

To start on a slightly positive note, Gal Gadot is still a lot of fun as Diana/ Wonder Woman.

But my central issue with this film – and the one that almost made me stop watching it – is the consent issue. When Diana’s lost love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) comes back from the dead, he is in the body of someone else.

This other person does not know Diane or Trevor and yet this body is used by Trevor to have sex with Diana which raises all sorts of iffy moral questions; who thought this was a tasteful idea in a family film no less.

Another issue I had with this film is just how in love with the 1980s it is. When I first started seeing 80s nostalgia it was fun and charming, but this film manages to push it over the line and make it feel gimmicky and annoying. There are moments when the film could have the charm of a Chris Columbus film but then it has to go and overdo it.

Also the film looks oddly cheap throughout which does not make sense considering its budget.

1/5

Full review here.

Soul.

Soul is an animated family film directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers. The plot follows a part time teacher/ wannbe jazz musician Joe (Jamie Foxx), as he dies before he has a chance to achieve his dream of performing on stage. Whilst in the afterlife Joe meets 22 (Tina Fey), a young soul who is struggling to find their spark, together the two of them run away back to earth and go on a journey of self-discovery together.

This film almost made me cry, almost.

I thought it was a incredibly well realised friendship and touched on the very real experience of what it means to be human. The individual character arcs of Joe and 22 are equally well done, and you are left staggered at the complexity of emotional impact they manage to elicit.

My one complaint would be that the soul world stuff is a bit dull at times, and it tends to drag on.

Overall, a film that resorted my faith not only in Pixar but in the animation genre in general.

4/5

Full review here.

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