Song of the Sea is the second major motion picture by creative mind, illustrator and genius Tom Moore. Moore received his first Oscar nomination for animation The Secret of Kells in 2009. The Secret of Kells is about the real book of Kells – a wild adventure with monks, viking raiders and a lovely tree spirit.
The adventure and folklore are ramped up this time and we are left with a heart-filled tale inspired by rich Irish folklore.
The relationship between Ben and sister Saoirse is strained and we see that for such a young boy, Ben has so much conflict and hate inside of him. This seems to be the fuel of the story and we see not only the loveable brother-sister relationship, but also how personality and huge life events change and shape people.
This story is somewhat sad, a little cruel even, but it is also a mature learning process. Using a young brother and sister for this process, taking away the adults makes these realisations more profound. The way we want to treat someone can have hazardous effects and we need to take into consideration their feelings and life circumstances.
Living on a beautiful hilltop in a lighthouse with his father and sister, Ben whiles the day away writing and drawing stories his mother used to tell him.
We see that in such a short space of time, these characters are loaded with personality. Ben loves his dog and stories, is afraid of the ocean and likes the genres action/adventure due to his red cape and water gun.
Saoirse, though six years of age and not able to talk yet, loves stories, dancing, her father and the ocean. Tom Moore is amazing in his cute and fluid animation, showing the land and the sea; where all the rocks and sky are scattered with swirls, spots and dashes, almost reminiscent of ancient runes.
As the story unfolds Ben and Saoirse decide to break out of their granny’s house in the city to get back to their beloved lighthouse. On this journey, that goes slightly pear-shaped, we come across some mature themes of death, love and helping. We all wish to help those in need, but we also need to analyse what is best for them. Ben is confronted with what is better, the easy way out or the more arduous journey that leads to greater happiness at the end.
We come across an array of magnificent characters and creations, all Tom Moore’s. It appears that all the folklore tales Ben’s mother told him were true, and the world is bigger than he thinks.
As mentioned before, the animation style is absolutely glorious and unique. Tom Moore is very fond of rounded shapes, rounded rocks and fire places, which partnered with his blue and orange palette, seem to create a warm homely feel to the movie.
Though our characters may enter dangerous situations, it is the environment that is just as important as the characters; the clouds in the sky, the tree branches, and little glittering lights that pepper the sky.
Each second of this movie could be used as a background to your desktop; even the most mundane images of a field are given a variation of lush greens, small blooming flowers, stoic mountains, all topped off with a warm pink sky.
This movie is superior to The Secret of Kells (though Kells is totally worth the watch), and we see the progression of adventure, script and characters in Tom Moore’s work. It is so refreshing to see Irish folklore portrayed so gorgeously, proving that animation is just as strong a format as reality.
This movie is perfect for children and adults alike, and if a child was to grow up with this film they would come away with an infinite amount of lessons and joy from it. This is a perfect family movie and shows the maturity we have come to see frequently in animations such as Finding Nemo and How to Train your Dragon.