“Surprise” is the word most often associated with “The Secret of Kells,” Tomm Moore”s directorial debut and 2010″s out-of-nowhere Best Animated Feature contender. With a few short films and the animated series “Skunk Fu!” under its belt, Moore”s Irish animation company, Cartoon Saloon, snuck into the category with mystic lore and 2D-animated whimsy. Moore”s film couldn”t top Pixar”s “Up” but it did grab the attention of animation buffs who eagerly awaited his follow-up. Now it”s here, looking just as gorgeous and meticulously crafted as “Kells.”
Inspired by the legend of the “selkies,” an Irish mermaid who can transform from sea creature to human for earthbound travel, “Song of the Sea” follow a young brother and sister, Ben and Saoirse, as they embark on a fantastic journey to uncover their mother”s ancient, magical secrets. The film stars David Rawle (Chris O'Dowd”s “Moone Boy”), Brendan Gleeson, and Fionnula Flanagan.
In a post-Miyazaki”s retirement world, the trailer for Moore”s film should deliver a little relief to animation buffs. “Songs of the Sea” looks stunning, swirling and jagged like “Kells” with even more polish. Critics out of the 2014 Toronto Film Festival seem to dig it; Peppered between frames of wonder are heaps of praise.
“Song of the Sea” distributor GKids has quickly become one of the American market's top global animation purveyors, releasing revered titles like “Wrinkles, “”Ernest & Celestine,” “A Cat in Paris,” “Chico & Rita,” and Studio Ghibli films “From Up on Poppy Hill” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” in recent years.”Song of the Sea” joins “Kaguya,” “A Letter to Momo,” and “Patema Inverted” on the company's 2014 slate. Moore's film is one of the 20 films competing for the 2015 Best Animated Feature Academy Award.
GKIDS will open “Song of the Sea” in limited theaters on Dec.19