WENDELL & WILD (2022)
Release Date: 10/28/22 [Netflix]
"Two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot to summon them to the Land of the Living."
OUR MOVIE REVIEW:
Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild is a gorgeously creepy story about loss, compassion and the power of pushing forward. Selick is certainly no stranger to making some of the greatest claymation features of all time: The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. Wendell & Wild is able to deliver on the humor, the oddness and the creeps that Selick is known for and in many ways exceeds all expectations.
When the news came that Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele would be reuniting in animated form as the demons: Wendell and Wild, I couldn’t stop smiling. The two’s chemistry remains as strong as ever from their Key & Peele days. They’re interactions with each other are both hilarious and crucial to the story moving forward. It’s with our lead Kat that things are amiss, she’s strange and independent since her parent’s accident - she’s not instantly a character to root for. After some time with Kat, her character starts to expand and once she is introduced to the demonic brothers things go pedal to the metal.
While the film may have some predictable elements, especially ones you’d come to expect from Selick as a writer - the inclusion of Peele’s writing keeps the motivations of the characters fresh. It’s in Selick’s animation that he shines broadly, providing some of the most beautiful animation I’ve seen, period.
Beauty in the horrific can’t keep the viewer completely occupied, however the hour and forty-five minute runtime does creep by. There’s not necessarily any characters or situations needing axed but something seems to linger a little too long for an entirely satisfying experience. Nevertheless, the atmosphere and world Selick has created alongside Peele is a marvelous vision that will be worth the annual October revisit.