Old Fangs

Old Fangs


Reviewed by: Andrew Robertson

Opening with stop motion leaves, dropped frames, there's a sense of nature and not nature. Animated onwards, a wolf and a cat and a fox. They are friends, on a journey. Their wee car pelts down the road, they stop at a cafe, there is laughter. They wander through some woods eventually, and there's an important question: "Do you recognise this place?"

"I'm trying to."

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The wolf is here to visit his father. In flashbacks we get a sense of the place, a childhood, a boat in a pond, and the looming presence of a father. A big bad wolf, in fact.

There is a creaking, cigarettes, alcohol, friends waiting in the long grass. There's good sound work, a certain finality constructed with car doors and violins, a suspenseful guitar mood. Le Quan Ninh's music work and Laurent Sassi's sound do a lot to create the tone of the film. The voice work of Rhob Cunningham and John Morton as the young Wolf's pals is all right, but minimal, and there's similarly little of Alan Holly and Paul Young as Wolf and his father, the titular Old Fangs. The rest is down to the animation work of writer/director Adrien Merigeau. Animation is often almost entirely visual, and while there's good technique on display it's not as captivating as animation can be. There's a solidity to it, but not the conviction of films like Mother Of Many or the variety of Madagascar, A Journey Diary or the darkness of The Moon Bird or the consistency of Lebensader.

There are oddities in character design - some animals anthropomorphised more than others, some left 'dumb' and others stripped of their tails. There might be something about vegetarianism, and there's certainly more than ample evidence of a troubled home life, but it doesn't quite work. If Old Fangs is the big bad wolf then we don't see it, and the presence of a stag recalls Bambi, but that handles the red in tooth and claw more ably. The ending is satisfying in its incompleteness, the sound of breathing, sobbing, filling a house, and then a wood. But given the quantity of animation out there adequate scripting sadly isn't enough to distinguish Old Fangs.

Reviewed on: 01 Mar 2011
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A young wolf whose mother has left gets his friends to support him in confronting his absent father.
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Director: Adrien Merigeau

Year: 2009

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: Ireland


Glasgow 2011

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