100% Wolf

***1/2

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

100% Wolf
"While adults might cry "cliche", youngsters are likely to fall in love with these familiar fairy tale elements, which are given a dash of modernity."

Familiar themes of an orphaned boy, an evil uncle, being true to yourself and finding your pack are given fresh Aussie energy in this animated adaptation of Jayne Lyons' coming-of-age story. The werewolves here may look fierce but it's quickly established that, aside from a hatred of dogs and their long-documented problems with silver, they get up to rescue missions after their moonlight "warfing".

Young Freddy (briefly Jerra Wright-Smith, before Ilai Swindells takes on vocals) can't resist tagging along, taking the sacred ring to help find his dad Flasheart (Jai Courtney) - the pack's High Howler - but on a night that goes badly wrong, he is left without dad or the ring and with slightly unhinged ice-cream man Foxwell Cripp (Rhys Darby) determined to prove the werewolves are real. It's quickly established that his Uncle Hotspur (Rupert Degas) could rival Simba's Uncle Scar in the sibling rivalry department and to top it all off, on his first "warfing" he finds himself transformed into a poodle rather than a wolf.

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Aside from a lifetime of loathing dogs, it turns out Freddy isn't very good at being one and soon finds himself in an unlikely partnership with street savvy Batty (Samara Weaving), who lends a paw on his first night on the lam, even though she's normally a lone operator. Alexs Stadermann reteams with Maya The Bee scriptwriter Fin Edquist as they rework animated movie staples, including the dog catcher and pound woes of Lady And The Tramp and Secret Life Of Pets, the self-discovery journey of The Lion King and an evil boffin's (Jayne Lynch) plan to wipe dogs from the planet.

While adults might cry "cliche", youngsters are likely to fall in love with these familiar fairy-tale elements, which are given a dash of modernity with the inclusion of mobile phone fun and games. Cripp is quickly established as the traditional slapstick villain, in the Dick Dastardly mode, only with more personality problems, while Hotspur represents a deeper, more existential threat. There's a lot of plot here, but attention has been paid to character, so while the action set pieces are slickly handled, there's still room for emotional connection. There's a decent dollop of humour, including obligatory scatalogical gags, which though always a home run for younger audiences, also have enough intelligence about them to make them work for adults. Away from the adventure, there's a strong message about acceptance and not pre-judging people that many adults could learn from as well as kids but it never comes across as preachy - definitely the sort of thing that will have youngsters howling for more.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2020
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100% Wolf packshot
A young werewolf has problems with his transformation.

Director: Alexs Stadermann

Year: 2020

Runtime: 96 minutes

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