On Friday, April 17th I experienced the highly acclaimed 2014 animated film Song of the Sea the first time on Blu-Ray in the comfort of my Hobbit Hole. I’ve been hearing about this ever since I first saw a preview for it on The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Blu-Ray. And now I understand why they’re advertised together: both are traditional cultural folktales and unmistakably the best of their class.
By the silver beard of Zeus, all words seem to have escaped me! For one of the few times in my life, I barely know what to say. I’m spellbound by this film’s level of detail and veteran-grade storytelling. The feels! The color! The calm.
Song of the Sea was created by Tomm Moore, co-founder of Cartoon Saloon and the man behind The Secret of Kells fame. Released on December 19, 2014, this film is utterly impossible to ignore. A mere taste of its soft, soothing lullaby music and rich, symbol-driven visual language and you’ll be unable to resist the call of this masterwork.
Charming, eloquent, invoking, and luminous… these are all adjectives I’d describe of this new instant classic, worthy of sharing the same shelf as our collection of Studio Ghibli films. Just take a look at these gorgeous images gathered from the interwebs:
The monochromatic and geometrically rich graphic art style is unlike anything I’ve seen in a movie before. It resonated somewhere deep within my spirit and put me in an unbreakable trance of awe and stillness. The characters, unfolding story, and cultural messages here are plentiful and easy to connect to. Each serves his/her place in telling a fantastic tale that finds its way into your heart and does not let go.
I should also admit that before watching this movie I have had literally no priming in the vein of Irish folklore. However, this was not a barrier for understanding the immense value of this film, and I was not judged for it in the end. Visually, audibly, and emotionally, this film invites its viewers to feel a deep respect for Ireland’s almost overwhelmingly perfected sense of storytelling. I previously did not think this degree of polish existed outside of Hayao Miyazaki’s larger-than-life imagination, but Song of the Sea is overflowing with surprises.
This is one of those diamonds in the rough that comes along, redefines the medium of animation, and sets the bar beyond what is imaginable. I’ll be the first to admit that I did shed quite a tear upon its conclusion, but it was worth it entirely. Every moment was well thought out and each frame is worthy of its own fine art poster. I really didn’t want to see it end.
There is something here for everyone to learn from and be inspired by. I highly recommend Song of the Sea for your next movie night adventure. The sea is calling for you, friends.