Do you know who your friends are? Sure, you may associate with various other humans in your day-to-day existence — a mother here, an over-friendly co-worker there — but do you really know them? Are you 100% sure that Lawrence from the office isn’t really a harp seal in disguise?
I ask this because the Selkie menace is at an all-time high. The last big Selkie resurgence was in 2010, when the Colin Farrell flick Ondine made brief mention of them. Before that was 1994, and The Secret of Roan Inish, also with Selkies. Oh, and for the uninitiated:
Selkie (sel-kie) n. A creature or spirit in Scottish and Irish folklore that has the form of a seal but can also assume human form. (Thanks, free internet dictionary.)
In greater detail, they’re seals that, when underwater, look and act totally like seals. But they also have the ability to strip all that sealskin off their bodies and blend in with us human folk. Traditionally, they tend to target humans in unsatisfying relationships, only to romance them and leave them hanging when they inevitably throw their living seal costumes back on and return to the ocean.
Now they’re back thanks to Tomm Moore, the guy who previously printed a giant exclamation mark on the animation world with 2009’s The Secret of Kells. He’s given new life to the Selkie scourge with his newest film, Song of the Sea.
The film follows a little girl, Saoirse, who happens to be part seal. She and her brother Ben are whisked away to the city to live with Grandma, but in their transition to city life, Saoirse loses her magic living seal costume. Which is bad. And if her and her brother can’t get it back, things will get even badder for all of sealkind.
Song of the Sea has been in the works for a while now. Four years ago, Moore and his animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, put up a proof of concept trailer for the film. This will come as no surprise to those who’ve seen The Secret of Kells, but it looked absolutely gorgeous. Watch it below.
Now that we have a glimpse at the finished product, it looks even better. Way better. I-just-want-to-stare-at-theses-seals-until-die better. There’s an endless supply of genius images crammed into this minute of footage. Check for the moving family bedroom mosaic that fades into the film’s logo. Or the Hobbit-looking granny stepping out of a Shire-looking hill door. Or any of the landscapes and backgrounds (especially that one with the badger).
And, of course, the seals. What does it matter if they’re infiltrating our society to steal our women and take our jobs, probably. They look beautiful, illuminated by light or swimming under a behemoth of a whale or just sort of sitting there with those cute seal faces. Get all googly-eyed at them below.
And keep an eye out for Lawrence — his breath has been smelling an awful lot like fish lately.
Song of the Sea is set for a late 2014 release, if this year-old Screen Daily piece is still accurate.