Song of the Sea, the 2014 animated film created by Ireland's Cartoon Sarloon and directed by Tomm Moore, is a gorgeous and visually sumptuous movie that demonstrates the unique power of hand-drawn, 2D animation. It speaks to the viability of the medium in the Age of Computers. And it's the work of one of the true rising stars in animation today.
I'm a great fan of Moore's previous film, 2009's The Secret of Kells, which brilliantly combined Irish folklore, medieval manuscripts, cartoon surrealism and religious iconography. It's a thing of beauty to watch, and its reverence for the almost mystical power of books...in the world before print transformed human civilization and the human mind, manuscript is everything. This is a good time to brush up on our Marshall McLuhan texts.
Song of the Sea is nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, and is the second film distributed by GKids Films this year (the other, as we all know, is Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya). I am cheering loudly for Princess Kaguya to win, but if Moore's sophomore movie takes home the Oscar, I will be quite happy. It would demonstrate that the Motion Picture Academy voters had actually bothered to put in some effort on a genre that, frankly, they dismiss as second-rate. It takes no effort to hand trophies to Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks. Handing one to GKids Films? That would be much better, for Hollywood and the world of animation.
The Academy Awards will be broadcast this Sunday.