Monday, January 17, 2022

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure (2021)


Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Riverdance: The Animated Adventure (2021)
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Music
Length:  90 minutes
Rating: TV-G
Production/Distribution: Aniventure, Cinesite, River Production, Constantin Film, Notorious Pictures, SND Films, Vértice Cine, Sky Cinema, Netflix
Directors: Eamonn Butler, Dave Rosenbaum
Writers: Dave Rosenbaum, Tyler Werrin
Actors: Pierce Brosnan, Brendan Gleeson, Lilly Singh, Jermaine Fowler, John Kavanagh, Pauline McLynn, Stephen Delahunty, Conor Drum, Sam Hardy, Hannah Herman, Rory Kardos-Ivess, Thomas Lappin, Danny McColgan, Brian Tynan
IMDb Blurb: An Irish boy named Keegan and a Spanish girl named Moya journey into the mythical world of the Megaloceros Giganteus who teach them to appreciate Riverdance as a celebration of life.

Cat’s Point of View:
It’s hard to put into words how giddy I was when I noticed that Riverdance: The Animated Adventure was available to stream on Netflix. When I listed it as my #12 on November 2021’s Top 20 list, it wasn’t clear where it would be landing for streaming purposes following its initial run. I could have danced a jig on the spot (had I still the coordination and balance for such things).
I feel I must preface my review with the same disclaimer as my Top 20 entry: don’t expect the stage show when you watch this movie. If you have the story from the show in your head, you would likely be disappointed and frustrated with the movie. Clean your mental slate before embracing this whimsical Irish tale of magic and music.
I’m pretty sure the few stinky critic reviews I’ve seen so far (as well as regular audiences) were from those that didn’t bother to modify their expectations – and failed to take into consideration the fantastical nature of Irish folklore.

I can’t say that I’m familiar with all of Ireland’s myths, but I do know a fair amount of them. Irish art, music, and mythology have been passions of mine for many years. Deer have been represented in several legends. Why not this one, too?
Let’s put aside whether or not the legend of the Irish deer (Megalocerus Giganteus) magically preserving the flow of rivers and teaching people step-dancing is authentic or not. It’s still a fun story. I actually adored how the writers incorporated the deer with the dance, and also the overall message of the movie – coping with grief and moving on in celebration of life. The heart of the story is authentically Irish enough that the rest doesn’t matter.

There were more layers to this story than I anticipated. It’s definitely about more than just dancing deer and the soundtrack. It’s about family, community, responsibility, owning your mistakes, tradition, friendship, and inclusivity as well. Complex for a kiddie movie? Perhaps, if you look at those concepts on paper. The animated tale made it easy to swallow without being preachy. I will also add that the production was very respectful in portraying death on screen so that it wouldn’t be as traumatic for young viewers.
Honestly, if you know someone with young kids dealing with grief from the loss of a loved one; this might be a good movie to show them to help them through it a little.
Now for the music.

I don’t think they could really get away with calling this Riverdance without some aspect of the original within the film. In this case, Riverdance: The Animated Adventure uses quite a bit of the music from the stage production. The same composer was on board, after all. Some songs were used only as a background score as events unfolded, but other tracks still hosted lively Irish step-dancing on the screen. It was just animated this time. I got a bit misty when my favorite piece played. Each number was thematically appropriate for the action on screen.
I absolutely adored this marriage of music and animation. If you loved the music of the stage production, perhaps give Riverdance: The Animated Adventure a try. Do keep in mind that the message is geared for younger kids, but it could still be fun for the whole family. My 18-year-old daughter watched with me and enjoyed it more than she would admit to. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 38%
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 5.4/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 5/5

P.S. - There is a brief post-credits scene.

Movie Trailer:

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