Issue: Jan-Feb-March 2021


Audiences love a great story, whether steeped in reality or fiction. Recently, a number of studios have released unique stories based on popular cultural myths, all using various animation techniques to tell their tales. Here, we look closely at a trio of these legends.

Over The Moon is based on a Chinese Legend.

First, Netflix takes viewers to China in the feature film Over the Moon, based on the legend of the moon goddess, Chang'e, who is celebrated yearly in Chinese culture with the Mid-Autumn festival. The film is crafted in CGI and contains two diverse styles: one for the scenes in China, and another for those on the moon, which was also crafted in 3D but with a 2D aesthetic. As a special treat, handcrafted drawings by the director himself were incorporated into a specific scene.  (See "Moonstruck".)

Between Two Worlds
Wolfwalkers is based on Irish folklore.

Next we arrive in Ireland and take a trip deep into the forest for the Apple+ feature Wolfwalkers. Crafted by Cartoon Saloon, this beautiful hand-drawn movie follows a young female hunter as she befriends a mysterious girl who is a shapeshifting werewolf, and learns that she, too, has this unique ability. All the while, she risks becoming prey as her father tries to rid the area of these creatures. Although crafted by traditional means, the animators turned to CGI and VR to help guide certain aspects of the film. (See "Between Two Worlds".)

An Open Book
Baba Yaga is based on an Eastern European fairy tale.

Then we travel to Eastern Europe, where the innovative Baobab Studios invites audiences to learn firsthand about the re-imagined fairy tale of the witch Baba Yaga through a compelling VR experience. "Baba Yaga" comes to life with illustrative 2D pop-up animation, as well as hand-drawn and stop-motion styles, with 3D at its core. (See "An Open Book".)