Song of the Sea
It seems fair to say that Song of the Sea is crafted from nothing less than heart and raw emotion. Every dazzling scene penetrates the soul, telling the story of an Irish youth who discovers that his mute sister is endowed with incredible powers.
This Irish animated film largely resembles the 1988 Studio Ghibli masterpiece Grave of the Fireflies, both tonally and thematically. Each film centres on a brother and sister attempting to survive outside their homes in a world that they are not entirely familiar with. They also both retain considerably sombre tones, especially for animated features. Song of the Sea takes itself seriously, but not too seriously; the fun emerges not from the humour, but from the fantastic adventure that the two siblings embark upon. Perhaps if more animated films were like this they might be held in the same esteem as live-action movies and would not need a separate category at award ceremonies.
Song of the Sea may be one of the most beautiful animated features ever created, with an ethereal art style that is quite unlike anything else. The character designs offer up a certain youthfulness akin to an early-morning cartoon, whilst the background animation is rather more abstract and creative. Together, every scene, every shot, every frame brings a tear to the eye. Alone, this film’s animation would have ensured a great flick, but the film keeps on giving with an original soundtrack that elevates it to celestial levels. Each moment flows so brilliantly that Song of the Sea resembles poetry more so than it resembles a movie.
No film is without fault and at times the voice acting lacks grandiosity: a film of this gravitas requires performances as majestic as those from the greatest of animated films, such as The Lion King. This is disappointing, especially because Brendan Gleeson is among the cast and he is definitely capable of delivering something truly spectacular. The lead, Ben, can also be fairly irritating as all he seems to be doing for half of the film is complaining and bullying his sister. For once, it seems the little girl is the most likeable character in a movie.
Song of the Sea is released nationwide on 10th July 2015.
Watch the trailer for Song of the Sea here: