Even if you haven’t heard of Henry Selick, it’s likely that his movies have had an effect on you. Selick is the director of some of the best stop-motion movies ever made, including The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, and James and the Giant Peach, which was a favorite with kids.
That’s as good a run of three movies as you’ll see from any director, and Selick’s work in stop-motion has taken the art form to new heights. Selick is making a new movie for the first time in more than 13 years. It’s called Wendell & Wild, and it’s just as scary and great as all of Selick’s other movies.
Wendell & Wild is a Netflix original movie based on a book that Selick and Clay McLeod Chapman wrote but never put out. Selick and Jordan Peele, who wrote and directed Get Out and Nope and also played one of the main characters, worked together to write the script.
The movie is about a 13-year-old orphan named Kat (Lyric Ross) who is still dealing with the trauma of her parents’ deaths (which she thinks she caused) and the closing of her whole town.
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) October 21, 2022
Kat is persuaded to call demons Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Peele) to the surface world to bring her parents back after she accidentally becomes a “Hellmaiden.” She doesn’t know that they have their own plans, which include bringing back a lot more people from the dead.
This movie is exactly what you’d expect from a collaboration between Henry Selick and Jordan Peele. It’s spooky, strange, macabre, and deeply (darkly) funny. It also has a lot to say about the world we live in and how we treat the people around us.
This movie talks about a lot of different things, such as family trauma, gentrification, the prison system, capitalism, trans rights, and how bad education is. All of them are important to the story, and when the story comes to an end, each one packs a punch.
However, this makes the script a bit too full. Wendell & Wild has a lot to say and builds a very unique world from the ground up, so there is always a lot going on. Even though that can be a little annoying, it’s good to know that everything works together to make the story better, so the fact that it’s full doesn’t usually hurt it.
The story is great, with lots of interesting turns and characters that feel as real as any in a live-action film. Kat is rough around the edges, but she has so much to her that it will take a few times of watching to get to know her as well as you want.
Raul, who is played by Sam Zelay, is a sympathetic hero, and Sister Helley, who is played by Angela Bassett, steals the show. The movie’s title demons, on the other hand, get all the attention and shine. Wendell & Wild is a sketch comedy show where Key and Peele get back together to play two demon brothers who want to open a theme park.
They are spooky and strange to the max, so much so that they remind me of Jack Skellington and Oogie-Boogie. Both are silly and optimistic at heart, but they are also a little bit evil and cruel. You’ll laugh and want to throw up at the same time, often in the same scene.
The performances of Key and Peele’s characters shine brightly, but they wouldn’t have the same weight if the sculptors and puppeteers hadn’t made the characters look so good. That gets to the heart of what makes the whole movie so captivating.
The world that was made for Wendell & Wild is amazing, and so are the people who live there. This design was perfect in every way, making it the most unique-looking project Selick has ever worked on.
Even though I haven’t seen it in a while, I still remember a lot of the set pieces, especially a cruel theme park built on the stomach of a huge demon in the underworld. In Wendell & Wild, you’ll see things on film that you’ve never seen before, and you’ll want to rewind more than once to try to take it all in.
Wendell & Wild has some problems, but they aren’t as important as all the things it does right. Selick and Peele make a movie that only they could make, one with a heavy heart and dark humor that will please both longtime horror fans and young people who haven’t seen much of the genre before.
There’s nothing else like it, so I want to watch it again, which I think is one of the best things I can say about a movie.
Wendell & Wild will be shown in some theaters on October 21, and then it will be available on Netflix around the world on October 28.