Halloween once again brings with it a bunch of new scary movies, but one that has captured the attention of countless people around the world is stop-motion animation, Wendell & Wild. Based on the unpublished book of the same name by the film’s director, Henry Sellick and co-author Clay McLeod Chapman, Wendell & Wild has become the latest Netflix original to get tongues wagging, but is it worth your time?
Not quite one for the entire family
Don’t let the stop-motion animation side of Wendell & Wild fool you, this probably isn’t a film you want to watch with your youngest children. There are genuinely spooky moments that may give the little ones nightmares, but at the heart of the movie is a message on how, despite everything in the world at times seemingly being against you, putting morality and kindness first is the key to unlocking a happier future.
Not only is Wendell & Wild hugely representative of the society we live in due to the various types of people and characters that are included in the film, from all sorts of different backgrounds, but it holds a mirror up to modern society, tackling some of the issues that plague our everyday lives. Themes of greed and corruption run through the movie’s life blood, as it takes place in a world that relies on capitalism, where profit comes first, and people come second. It’s a somber reflection of current times.
The voice acting is, as you would expect from a cast this stacked, absolutely fantastic. Lyric Ross brings a real emotional twist to her take on lead character and troubled teenager Kat, while both Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele do an incredible job of bringing the titular demons to life. Props must also go to Angela Bassett and Ving Rhames, who give standout performances as Sister Helley and Buffalo Belzer respectively. There isn’t a single Achilles heel among the cast.
Where Wendell & Wild does fall a little flat, is in its overexposure. A fair bit of meat could have been trimmed from around these bones, and the film still would have been impactful. As it stands, it does a great job of making its mark, but not a perfect one. More time in the editing suite would have done the movie the world of good, but when you spend so much time and energy on stop-motion animation, it must feel very difficult to leave anything out.
Wendell & Wild is available on Netflix from Friday, October 28, 2022.
Wendell & Wild is yet another success for Netflix, and while I could have done with 20 minutes or so shaven off the final run-time, it does its job of maintaining the audience’s attention from beginning to end, thanks to a tremendous cast of characters and some stellar storytelling. This probably won’t be a film that absolutely everybody will enjoy, but if you’re a fan of the likes of Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, you’re probably going to find something to love about Wendell & Wild. A great welcome back to the director’s chair for Henry Selick, after a 13-year break from feature film releases.