2.5 out of 5 stars
The common thread of The Munsters, The Addams Family and Hotel Transylvania is the motivation to take traditional movie monsters and make them into the protagonists. The reversal of roles is not new, but it does cut a fine line between farce and believability. Australian author Jayne Lyons attempts this transformation with werewolves in her book and the recent release of 100% Wolf.
Freddy Lupin (voiced by Triple J’s Ilai Swindells) has been waiting his whole life to experience the ‘transwolfation’ into his rightful place amongst his werewolf family. The Lupins live as humans during the daylight hours, but use their transformative powers in the evenings to help the people of the city. Quiet heroism that is only rewarded by their family members with their only apparent enemy in the town being the dog community. Fred is the heir apparent to his legendary father, Flashheart (Jai Courtney). The latter had been lost in a tragic accident while the younger Lupin was only a pup.
On the evening of his coming-of-age ceremony, Freddy stands amongst his clan. The moon does its magic on his image. Then to his horror, he discovers that things are not always meant to work the way they should and the teenager turns into a poodle with a cute quaff on top of his head. The bewildered canine must find out the answers to this strange twist of fate and fix things before the moonrise the following night. Freddy must stay ahead of his jealous and manipulative uncle while thwarting the plans of the local dog groomer voiced by Jane Lynch (Glee).
As he comes off seven years as a Disney animator, director Alexs Stadermann puts an Australian twist on a familiar animated adventure. There are whispers of classic coming-of-age tales like The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp that make this familiar, but enough new content to deliver some fun for the family. The combination of the awkward teen and the standard toilet humour may disgust some viewers. Still, it will most likely have the younger set howling on the floor.
The project has all of the earmarks for an eventual television franchise, but it does hold its own in the streaming world. The story of the bighearted and misunderstood lead dog has been seen before, but Jayne Lyons story does offer something worth seeing. In particular, having a positive depiction of a father and son relationship in an animated film helps this film to rise above the rest of the pack.
Reel Dialogue: Is ‘different’ meant to be celebrated? Being different from others is something orchestrated by God, something that can be seen in many of the letters in the New Testament of the Bible. Not only should it be celebrated, but help people within society to work together more effectively. Within the community of God or it could be said, the body of Christ, we are challenged to know our differences and how these skills work in the bigger picture of society.
Passages on being different: Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2: 18-19