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Review: 'Song of the Sea' is one seriously colorful animated film

The director of "The Secret of Kells" returns with another Oscar-nominated eyesore.
Song of the Sea
Here's but one example of the meticulously animated frames in "Song of the Sea."GKids

‘Song of the Sea’
Director:
Tomm Moore
Voices of: David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson
Rating: NR
3 (out of 5) Globes

Like “The Secret of the Kells,” “Song of the Sea” was a surprise Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. But it shouldn’t be a surprise. Moore makes some of the most colorful films imaginable, animated or otherwise, every single frame a meticulous riot of greens, blues and purples. It almost doesn’t matter what’s going on in them, except that it does.

Much as “Kells” did, “Sea” explores how his country’s tall tales connect with people of all ages, bottling up the sensation of being at that point in childhood when the real world has not yet stamped out one’s imagination of a magical world. Turning to another Irish story, Moore gloms onto “selkies,” a twist on the mermaid in which women turn into seals when they hit the water. After the mysterious death (or at least disappearance) of his mother, a young boy (voice of David Rawle) suspects such an incredible malady grips his younger sister as well, especially once she discovers wanderlust.

Deeply felt as the storyline is, once “Sea”’s characters have wound their way into the spectacular underworld of fantastical creatures and sights, “Sea” kicks up several notches higher than it was. There’s tiny white specks floating about in the ether, plus a geezer who lives amongst a sea of his own white hair. There are legions of seal-women that fill out the frames. Even the father (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) is himself a sight: a massive, grieving ball of melancholy who, along with his son, keeps the amazing grounded in the recognizable. It’s as much a maximalist eyesore as any blockbuster — see it on the biggest screen imaginable and just stare — but it’s equal parts gigantic and personal.

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