Wendell & Wild

It is almost Halloween and now we have a brand new stop-motion animated film on Netflix right out of the mind of the director of Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline, Henry Selick. The new film included the talents of Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key.

Wendell & Wire is remarkably creative and original, with a ton of awesomely designed characters and some beautiful stop motion animation that takes the technique into some fantastic places.

The story starts out with young Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) involved in a tragic car crash that killed her parents. Kat blamed herself for the accident and spent the next several years hardening up.

When she was finally sent to an all-girls school in her hometown of Rust Bank where she immediately started having memories of the events she lived through years before.

At the all-girls school, she met several classmates along with school headmaster Father Best (James Hong) and Sister Helley (Angela Bassett). Kat met Raul (Sam Zelaya) and became friends with him.

Meanwhile, two scheming brother demons, Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Jordon Peele) were stuck placing hair cream on their gigantic father’s head. The head demon, Buffalo Belzer (Ving Rhames), was working his sons hard and they were anxious to create their own design of a bemusement park called Dream Faire. They came up with a plan to escape their father’s dimension and go to the land of the living to set up their park.

Another pot thread was the Klaxons, Lane (David Harewood) and Irmgard (Maxine Peake) were trying to plot to open their own private prison in the rundown and near ghost town of Rust Bank.

These multiple plotlines emerged very cleanly, more cleanly than one would expect with the variety of stories being included in this animated movie. The voice acting was well done and it is always fun to reunite Key & Peele.

The stop-motion animation was exceptional, featuring some of the more creative imagery that you are going to see. There were blends of other styles of animation in flashbacks to distinguish between the time frames in a clever and enjoyable manner.

There are some really great themes sprinkled into the film as well as the movie deals with grief and trying to deal with moving on after a tragic loss. The film has a powerful theme dealing with family and friendship as well.

Wendell & Wild is a perfect family entertainment for the Halloween season. It is visually stunning and engaging for the audience and is able to blend several stories into a reasonably cohesive narrative.

4 stars

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