Directed by: Suzie Templeton
Long-time readers of this site (LOSERS) will know that I have a severe bias towards stop-motion animation, and that bias ain’t goin’ anywhere with this Oscar-winning short. A “re-imagining” of Prokofiev’s classic children’s story of the same name, Peter and the Wolf basically does everything that a “gritty” and “realistic” version of a kid’s story should do, and it does it perfectly right. I know, I was surprised, too.
There’s no dialog in the film, but the plot remains mostly the same as the original. Peter is a young boy who’s locked up in a forest cottage with his grandfather. He escapes one day to play with his only two friends, a goose and a raven, but a wolf comes along and eats one of them. Peter hatches a plan to catch the wolf and does so, but when his grandfather takes it to the circus in town to sell it, he releases the wolf and leads it out of town, to freedom.
It’s actually a much more complex version of Prokofiev’s story, where we see the arc of Peter being upset and looking for revenge to him realizing that two wrongs don’t make a right and freeing the wolf. It’s… still not SUPER complicated, but it was originally made for little kids, and before you figure out that world is not all about you, you just don’t understand nuance all that well. In any case, this movie is gorgeous and unsettling and just fantastic, all at the same time. I heartily recommend it, and hey, it’s only half an hour long (which apparently makes it the longest-running winner of the Academy Award for short film. Neat).