Song of the Sea Blu-ray Review
SONG OF THE SEA has an ethereal quality to it that is intoxicating to watch. You are taken on a journey of sights and sounds. This is the well anticipated follow up to “The Secret of Kells” for Director Tomm Moore. He does not disappoint.
Folklores are around every culture. They are passed down from generation to generation. Each generation tries to put a new spin on these well told tales. SONG OF THE SEA tackles the Irish folklore of selkies. Selkies are similar to mermaids in a way. They are female on the land and are seals in the water. The story revolves around 10-year-old Ben (David Rawle), his 6-year-old sister Saoirse who has never spoken and their father Conor (Brendan Gleeson). The family lives in a lighthouse in Ireland and hasn’t been the same since the death of the mother Bronagh (Lisa Hannigan) after the birth of Saoirse. There is a sadness to Conor and he drowns his sorrows every year on Saoirse’s birthday at the local pub.
Ben has had resentment toward Saoirse since her arrival and doesn’t much like having her around. He blames her for the death of their mother. One night he tells Saoirse a scary story about Macha the owl witch (Fionnula Flanagan) and her son the giant Mac Lir (Brendan Gleeson). Mac Lir was very upset about something and he cried and cried. This created the ocean. Macha didn’t like seeing her son in distress, so she stole his bad feelings and turned him into stone. She herself has repressed any feelings that she has, by housing them in jars. This scares Saoirse and Ben tries to calm her by telling her that the story came from their mother.
Later on that night Saoirse plays a seashell horn left by her mother. This leads her to a coat. Saoirse takes the coat and goes to the water where she becomes a seal. So we then learn that she is a selkie. Saoirse is found the next morning on the beach by her grandmother (Fionnula Flanagan) who is alarmed by what is going on. She decides to take the two kids away to the city without their trusty dog Cu. There is a nice innovative sequence as they go to the city and Ben maps it all out. You see the real landmarks in correspondence with the drawings of Ben.
Ben and Saoirse are miserable at their grandmother’s house. She plays her religious music and is not in tune with the times. It also happens to be Halloween with all the kids in their costumes. Saoirse decides to play the horn again and this alerts some faeries to her presence. Saoirse is shown to be the key to the freedom of faeries and other mythical creatures. This is where the story takes off. Ben, Saoirse and Cu are on a journey back home and to the many wonderments that are out there. I will stop here to not spoil the rest of the tale. It has many twists and turns and should be experienced organically.
The colors and images used by Moore is fun to experience. He definitely has an eye for making animation a magical experience of wonders and not just of talking wise cracking animals and kids. He has the pulse down for making stories that will appeal to adults and children alike. It also helps that the animation is hand drawn. Computer animation can be good, but I definitely prefer the old school style of animation.
SONG OF THE SEA is a triumph in animation and heart. It should not be missed.
Video: The bright colors really stand out here. They are vivid and come alive on the screen. This is a well done transfer.
Audio: The sound was fine. There were times where I had difficulties hearing, but the Irish accents may have been more to blame for that.
The Art of Song of the Sea (7:25): This feature is exactly how it is described. You see some of the art that was used in the film.
Animation Tests (7:48): You can watch this with or without the director’s commentary. This focuses on the animation and how it looks without the color added in.
Behind the Scenes (2:50): This is another feature where you can get the director’s commentary. This short feature concentrates on the voice recording, the countries involved, concept art, animation and the folklores.
Audio Commentary with Director Tomm Moore: Moore provides quite a bit of insight into the making of the film.