Home 100% Wolf

100% Wolf (PG)

Cast: Adriane Daff, Jai Courtney, Ilai Swindells, Jane Lynch, Samara Weaving
Genre: none
Author(s): Fin Edquist
Director: Alexs Stadermann
Release Date: 31/07/2020 (selected cinemas)
Running Time: 95mins
Country: Australia
Year: 2020

Freddy Lupin is heir to a long bloodline of werewolves and he is determined to make his father Flasheart proud. On his 14th birthday, Freddy steps proudly into a shaft of moonlight as part of his warfing. As the dust clears, the pack elders are horrified to see that Freddy has transformed into a poodle rather than a wolf. The distraught teenager has until the next moonrise to prove his worth as a wolf or cast out from the pack.


 

LondonNet Film Review
100% Wolf (PG)

A top dog requires the biggest heart not the shiniest coat or sharpest teeth in director Alexs Stadermann’s life-affirming computer-animated adventure. Based on the 2009 book by Jayne Lyons, 100% Wolf howls familiar life lessons about individuality, self-expression and friendship within the framework of a teenager’s coming-of-age in the aftermath of personal loss. Fin Edquist’s script plays up narrative similarities to The Lion King: a self-doubting heir who must temporarily abandon his kingdom to discover the courage to fight for his inheritance, a scheming uncle determined to seize a throne he doesn’t deserve, a cliff-top tragedy and hard-fought redemption…

Life as man’s best friend provides Stadermann’s film with fart gags and obvious chuckles like when the hero, trapped in the body of a poodle, discovers the dizzying pleasure of dragging his bottom along the floor. Young audiences could lap up the underlying shaggy dog story but parents may find it harder to wag tails at such simplistic delights. Vocal performances are largely forgettable except for a virtuoso turn from Rhys Darby as the antagonist who enjoys two-way conversations with his stuffed monkey Scoops. He plays gleefully with the character and steals every colourfully drawn scene with his madcap antics.

Awkward teenager Freddy Lupin (voiced by Ilai Swindells) is heir to a long bloodline of werewolves led by his uncle Hotspur (Rupert Degas), who assumed the role of pack leader after Freddy’s father Flasheart (Jai Courtney) perished during a cliff-top tussle with ice cream van man Foxwell Cripp (Darby). On his 14th birthday, Freddy prepares to step into a shaft of moonlight as part of the warfing ceremony to confirm him as the pack’s new high howler. The boy recalls his father’s words – “The moon spirits decide what kind of wolves we become” – and is horrified when he morphs into a diminutive, fluffy poodle.

“It’s a wardrobe malfunction!” pleads Freddy but Hotspur persuades the pack that his nephew is cursed because he lost a treasured moonstone ring to Foxwell after Flasheart’s fateful fall. Pack elders give the distraught teenager until next moonrise to prove his worth as a wolf or be cast out forever. Permanently trapped in the guise of a poodle, Freddy races into the city to retrieve the missing ring. En route, he befriends streetwise stray Batty (Samara Weaving) and clashes with the fearsome Commander (Jane Lynch) of Coldfax dog shelter.

In the words of a pack elder, 100% Wolf is “a spirited little cub”. Animation is solid including a couple of competently executed chase sequences but Stadermann’s picture doesn’t flirt with the creative boundaries of the medium let alone plush them. Character design opts for cuteness over realism and paw-dropping detail including a climactic slaughter of four-legged friends in a Wallace & Gromit-style contraption that conveniently takes place off screen.

– Jo Planter


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