The Bottom Line
- Imaginative backstory.
- Creative use of silence.
- Fresh and natural style.
- Occasionally rough animation.
- Animated Short Film Using Stop-Motion Animation
- Directed by Suzie Templeton
- Originally release in the United Kingdom.
Guide Review - 'Peter and the Wolf'
Made by Breakthru Films using models in stop-motion animation, pioneered by Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations, the animation is jerky at times, but pleasingly primitive. Animation has become so slick and glossy that watching it threw me back to classic films such as 1933's King Kong. The models and sets are artful, without distracting from the engrossing story.
Speaking of story, Peter is given some personal history in this version. He is an outcast in his village, mocked and even beaten by children and local hunters. His grandfather is his guardian and protector, but they live more of an isolated life than we have seen, say, in the Disney version.
The story is set to a new recording by the Philharmonia Orchestra performing Prokofiev's original score. But the score itself becomes a character, for it isn't present in the film until Peter escapes from his gated home and begins his adventures in the wilderness with his friends the duck and the bird. Suddenly, the overbearing silence that has been following Peter since the beginning of the story, gives way to the lilting tunes of the flute and clarinet.
I won't spoil the ending of the story, but this version of Peter and the Wolf finds a way to satisfy the resolution we crave for Peter and his captive wolf. The story is a lesson in social ills, the food chain, parenting, friendship and more.
I can honestly say folks of all ages will enjoy it, because I watched it with my 2 year old and 5 year old, who watched it as intently as I did.