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Wendall & Wild
       review by Bobby Blakey

Director Henry Selick is one of the all-time great stop-motion animation filmmakers brings us classics like Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach and Coraline. Now he has teamed up with Jordan Peele to bring the unpublished book of the same name by Clay McLeod Chapman and Selick, Wendell & Wild to life. The film has officially debuted on Netflix, but does it bring more of Selick’s brilliant work to life or will it fail to summon the needed spirits to make it work?


Wendall & Wild follows two scheming demon brothers, Wendell and Wild, who enlist the aid of 13-year-old Kat Elliot to summon them to the Land of the Living and features a great voice cast including Lyric Ross, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Angela Bassett, James Hong, and Ving Rhames.


Much like Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline this latest film from Selick brings a dark story to life that is infused with great visuals, heart and some creepy imagery. I love stop motion but admit that this one never really peaked my interest initially which is why it took me so long to get to it, but I am glad I did. It brings everything great about those other films into its own unique look and feel for yet another great entry into the Selcik filmography.


I love the old school look to it as I think too many of them as of late have been using CGI to clean it up, but I want it too look like the style it is and see the work these people did. Here it is fully intact or at least appears to be and works to perfection. While I love strange shapes and designs for characters I wasn’t initially sold on this look with the more sharp angles and extra facial lines, but as it moved on it grew on me and by the end I was really digging it.


I am always impressed with these types of films and the attention to detail and this one is no different, but even more so they managed to capture the likeness to a lot of actors without it taking away from the character designs most notably in Wendell, Wild and Father Bests played by Keegan-Michael

Key, Jordan Peele and James Hong respectfully. These crazy looking characters look just like them, but have enough sharp edges and style to still be their own thing.


The story is pretty simple, but brings up a lot of real life issues and depth while infusing it with the fun and creepiness of the supernatural. It is fun to watch offering up so many styles and creative world building that it will keep the senses on high alert much like Selick’s previous outings.


I really enjoyed this film and while it doesn’t outrank Coraline or Nightmare for me it stands on its own two feet as a great addition to the genre and is hopefully finding the audience it deserves.


Decide for yourself and check out Wendall & Wild streaming exclusively now on Netflix.

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