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100% Wolf – Movie Review

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100% Wolf – Movie Review

Rating: D+ (Bad)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Cineplex

There are so many animated films centered on talking animals, it can be tricky figuring out a way to stand out from the pack. The Australian film 100% Wolf certainly gives it a game try by centering on a clan of werewolves and one who ends up turning into a dog instead. It’s an original idea and there are comedic possibilities with that premise. However, the movie can’t quite shake the thinness of many of the characters and most of the humour is tired and at times lowbrow. We are treated to a series of big set-pieces and the project is certainly a noble effort from former Disney animator-turned-director Alexs Stadermann. Unfortunately, 100% Wolf is an underwhelming tale.

There’s a nugget of a good concept and the character designs show some creativity. A lot of thought has been put into the history of this family of werewolves and their apparent feud with dogs. The filmmakers establish the world early on and we see the dilemma that faces the lead character Freddy Lupin. However, the characters aren’t fleshed out as they could have been. Freddy is a fairly generic hero with not much personality, while his uncle is an obvious villain. The movie also throws in a secondary antagonist in the form of an ice cream man obsessed with catching werewolves. Although there are a few chuckles generated from his behaviour, one wonders if he was needed when the story already has enough conflict.

The only character who makes any sort of impression is a stray dog named Batty. Samara Weaving voices her with the right amount of spunk and the designers resist the urge to make Batty’s design distinctly feminine. There are a few mildly amusing moments when she meets Freddy in dog form and is confused by his actions. Most of the comedy in 100% Wolf is definitely catered towards the younger demographic and there is a heavy emphasis on bodily fluid jokes. We are treated to jokes about rear ends and genitals, as well as an entire scene devoted to a dog’s urine. The urine is even shown on-screen in all of its glory and one has to wonder how animators feel when they’re asked to animate characters performing this action.

The movie attempts to move at a quick pace with constant action and while Stadermann directs these scenes with plenty of energy, it does feel like 100% Wolf is trying too hard to keep the audience engaged. The animation is solid with the characters being appropriately expressive and lively. The ice cream man is especially bouncy and elastic in his movements, bringing to mind Flint Lockwood in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It’s honestly been great to see the evolution of computer animation, allowing for these more cartoony approaches to animating characters. The production design also has a pleasing aesthetic to it.

Even with a few occasional good things going for it, the storytelling in 100% Wolf doesn’t seem to take full advantage of the possibilities of this concept. There is too much emphasis on whizzing from one point in the story to the next and the humour is disappointingly scatological. The characters are largely stale and can’t quite carry the narrative. There is the possibility to explore this premise further in a television series or maybe it’s better suited to a short film. It’s not an animated movie with much general appeal, although it’s harmless enough for the younger set (aside from the strange crude humour that arises).

Stefan Ellison