Travel, adventure, and a healthy dose of girl power, brought to life using interesting, visual, artistry. On this edition of Creations of Chaos, it’s production studio Shout! Factory’s, Long Way North.
Sacha is the daughter of Russian nobles. Her parents are ecstatic that the time has finally come for Sacha’s debutant ball. They are even more thrilled when the Prince attends and requests a dance with their flowering daughter. Sacha however, is not content dancing her life away. Instilled in her by her Grandfather, she has a spirit for adventure and exploration.
Sacha’s heart is set on a mission that does not involve marrying a Prince. Sacha’s Grandfather, and his ship, have gone missing during an expedition to the North Pole. Sacha believes she has uncovered the clues that will bring about her Grandfather’s rescue. All she needs is a ship and a crew that will risk their lives based on the aspirations of a fifteen-year-old girl.
For me, one of the marks of a good animated film is longing to hang the art from certain scenes on my wall.
Long Way North has a graphic animation style that dazzles. It’s subtle, and its subtlety is what makes it feel alive. The 2-D, hand drawn back grounds and characters, lack outlines, giving them a distinct gracefulness. Films like Long Way North make me happy and relieved to see that 2-D animation still holds a place in the world of animated films.
In the scenes on the ship, the ship constantly rocks and sways. I imagine as an animator, having to assure that both your characters and your background are always in motion, causes quite a challenge.
I was also impressed by the blizzard scenes. Instead of the snow only falling around Sacha, the animators turn the blizzard around on the audience. The assaulting snow driving straight at you, envelopes you in the Arctic landscape and gives you an appreciation for Sacha’s tribulation.
There seems to be an emphasis more than ever to create entertainment that empowers girls. Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Anne Shirley, Wonder Woman, are just some of the recent film and television women thinking for themselves and defying expectations. I believe that Sacha from Long Way North can be added to the powerful ladies’ club.
Sacha is a girl who follows her dreams and makes her own decisions, despite the pressures put upon her to be a proper society lady.
Her heart longs for travel, adventure, and exploration. Although she knows she is not entirely equipped for what lies ahead, she is willing to work hard and learn.
The quality that shines brightest, is Sacha’s perseverance. She presses forward, even when everyone else doubts her, even when she starts to doubt herself. Relying on her instincts and intelligence does not always come easy, but she refuses to give up her mission. Sacha is a young lady who inspires.
Long Way North is a visually beautiful, smart, animated film. Though I don’t think it would be particularly attractive to the little ones, anyone upper elementary age and older will admire Sacha and her journey.
This is the second of studio Shout! Factory’s films that I have recently viewed. I am impressed with their willingness to try something unique, and their ability to tell a good story. I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the future.