Netflix’s latest original animated movie, The Wizard’s Elephant, now streaming globally, but should I check it out? Here’s our PLAY, PAUSE, or STOP review of the new feature film that hit Netflix today.
Set in the fictional small European town of Baltese, where the impossible seemed possible before the Great Foreign War cast it in perpetual gray, the film centers on young orphan Peter, who lost his mother and sister during that same war period. He is being raised by the old soldier who saved him many years ago, Vilna, but he has always thought that his sister might still be there despite his guardian’s insistence that they are deceased.
One day, on his routine trip to Market Square, Peter meets a fortune teller who promises to answer life’s toughest questions for the small price of a coin. Risking the only coin he had earmarked for dinner with Vilnius, Peter rises to ask the question that has plagued him for years: How do I find my sister?
To which the fortune teller replied: “Follow the elephant”.
The film is based on the children’s novel of the same name by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, whose work has been adapted for film multiple times, including her first published novel «Because of Winn-Dixie,» which was made into a film in 2005. .
The Magician’s Elephant marks the feature film debut of director Wendy Rogers. She was a long-time visual effects supervisor and found a niche in animation, working on such notable films as Shrek, rinsed& The cat with boots.
To create the film, Rogers partnered with Animal Logic, the Australian animation and visual effects studio that was recently acquired by Netflix in an all-cash deal last year. Animal Logic was the animation studio for such notable films as the lego batman movie, peter rabbit& DC League of Super Pets. They are also the studio behind Adam Sandler’s upcoming Netflix animated film, Lionthat will arrive on the platform in the fall of 2023.
While I was skeptical of the film due to the lack of marketing and fanfare from Netflix and a first-time director, I was pleasantly surprised by this utterly charming creation.
While «wish fulfillment» stories have been around for years, The Wizard’s Elephant brings a layered approach to your development. While he has his heart set on the orphaned boy seeking family reunification, he also has a surprising amount of humor and a playful element to the impossible tasks Peter has to perform to free the elephant he so desperately needs.
While the animation is strong enough, I think the standout pieces that enliven the movie are the memorable characters accompanied by impressive voice acting performances.
The film is narrated by the aforementioned fortune teller voiced by the perfectly sarcastic Natasia Demetriou (Nadja in What we do in the shadows). Noah Jupe (A peaceful place movies) delivers unrelenting hope and youthful exuberance with his portrayal of Peter. Stage and screen legend Mandy Patinkin (The princess Bride, Homeland) He graces us with the range of emotions required to bring Sgt. Lutz. A soldier’s need for pride and build balanced with the angst of wartime choices and delight in the tedium of small-town retirement make the perfect sounding board for Peter. Oscar nominee Brian Tyree Henry (raised causeway, Bullet train) awakens the whimsical nature of this film with the unreasonably hopeful officer Leo. MCU star Benedict Wong (strange doctor, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) brings his prowess in the mystical art to his role as The Magician. And last, but certainly not least, former “Daily Show” correspondent Aasif Mandvi brings to life at the perfect moment with his funny and eccentric characterization of the King, who has Peter accomplish the impossible tasks that keep the audience going. involved throughout history.
While I’ve come to understand that DiCamillo’s children’s tale can take on a slightly darker tone by focusing on the city’s post-war slump, I had no problem with the mood and feel Rogers conveyed with his version. Rogers does well enough in the opening narration to give us an adequate summary of the events that have led to the grim atmosphere that the story’s setting provides. While a movie like Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro Plunging headlong into fascism and war-torn climates in a traditional children’s tale, many parents can breathe a sigh of relief that the director chose to be more subtle with the heavier subject matter. The use of perpetual cloud cover, flashbacks to how Peter was separated from his sister, and The Countess’s loss of laughter give the audience just enough color for what has plagued this town before The Countess’ arrival. Magician and his elephant.
In general, The Wizard’s Elephant He gives us an original fairy tale that brings out the child in all of us. The central themes of Hope and the Belief in the Impossible mixed with indelible characters make this film a cut above Netflix Original Animation.
Watch The Wizard’s Elephant on Netflix if you want
- Despereaux’s Tale
- Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro
- wishing dragon
MVP of The Magician’s Elephant
Aasif Mandvi as The King.
After a first act filled mostly with preparation for Peter’s journey, Aasif Mandvi’s character of the King leaps into the story in the spirit of a child on Christmas morning. His light-hearted nature and his pursuit of over-the-top theatrics take this film to a whole new level of delight for its audience.
PLAY, PAUSE OR STOP? The Wizard’s Elephant on Netflix
A simple story of hope, belief and reunification for the whole family to enjoy.
what did you think about The Wizard’s Elephant on netflix? Let us know in the comments below.