Review - Netflix’s New Movie, Wendell and Wild, is…Wild
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
October 28, 2022 - Among all of this month’s spooky movie releases for the season, Netflix dropped a new and highly anticipated addition this past Friday. From director Henry Selick and producer Jordan Peele, comes the newest release of the stop-motion Halloween flick genre called “Wendell and Wild”.
The movie centers around an orphaned, punk rocker, Kat (voiced by Lyric Ross) who is dealing with survivor's guilt since the tragic accident that took her parents’ lives, and two demons (Wendell and Wild, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele) who want to escape to the real world away from their lives of labor. After they bump into one another, they strike up a deal to bring Kat’s parents back to life and to get Wendell and Wild to the real world, but of course, things don’t go as planned and hijinx ensues.
Both Selick and Peele leave their distinct creative marks on this piece with subtle nods to their previous work like musical touches and visuals straight out of Selick’s Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Peele’s flare for inclusive character design and political statement like with his horror hit, Get Out, as well as the comedy chops that made him famous. It all comes together to create a comforting, familiar atmosphere with beautiful and fresh stop-motion animation.
The plot, on the other hand, is lacking from someone who has been counting down the days to its release since its announcement and is a huge fan of the creators. Aside from the creative nods to Selick’s and Peele’s works, the plot feels somewhat crowded with many other characters that have something else going on in the story and are given little time to fully flesh out. It was difficult to connect with the characters that the story was supposed to be centered around and though it comes back together at the end, I was left wanting to feel more for the characters. I get that not every animated movie can or should have some deeper meaning but I also couldn’t shake the feeling that the story needed to connect with its audience more.
For what it’s worth, what the movie lacks in the plot is made up for in the levels of fun and action it has as well as the soundtrack and visuals. Even with its familiar feel, the movie still undoubtedly stands on its own as an original piece that will likely be another seasonal staple for many who love the stop-motion Halloween genre.