Animated children’s movie, Riverdance: The Animated Adventure was released in the UK back in 2021 but is now available on Netflix. It is an Irish film with a dash of Spain and America.
Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Movie Cast
- Aisling Bea as Margot
- Sam Hardy as Keegan
- Pierce Brosnan as Patrick
- Jermaine Fowler as Benny
Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Movie Plot
Set in a riverside town of Ireland, a young boy and girl head into a magical land where they meet the supposedly extinct Megaloceros Giganteus. They learn the value of tradition and fight evil.
Riverdance: The Animated Adventure Movie Review
There aren’t many animated movies that are devoid of America, though many of them have been released in the past year which have more representation. So, when I say that this is the first Ireland based animated movie I have seen, then it is quite sad. Naturally, there was a lot of excitement and hope from the movie. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent it was a mere token movie. A way to say that they know there is a country called Ireland.
The introduction to the movie sounded was thick with a forced accent that bordered mockery and a genuine try. From then onwards, I reminded myself that the movie was intended for an audience of 7 years and above. Yet, the apparent confusion of the ethnicity of every character made me question what films think of children. Do they believe that gorgeous, colourful scenes are all it takes?
The choice of casting will further my point. Aisling Bea who plays a minor role is one of the few voices that do not seem forced. Obviously. Then is James Bond actor who finds his roots in Ireland and thus gives a believable performance as a Megaloceros Giganteus, a huge reindeer. For some reason, Lilly Singh plays the role of another Megaloceros Giganteus and has an American accent.
The Americans of the movie arrive much later on but at the beginning itself, the animated movie did not do the one thing all such movies do. One thing animated movies do is make death scenes surprisingly emotional. They can happen right at the beginning of the movie and yet move the hardest of viewers to tears. I have not yet processed Tadashi’s death. Unfortunately, the movie had a death that happened before one could connect to it. It gave a reaction of “Oh, no” rather than suppression of inevitable sobbing.
Where good vs evil is an important topic that children often learn about, it is also not the only thing they need to learn about. The movie talks about the same old topics of important traditions, fighting evil and always listening to adults. It needed to catch up with the movies of the present that are about depression, love, overthinking, societal commentary and even the environment. Movies like Inside Out, Up, Zootopia and Luca have made strides in teaching children about life that when movies like Riverdance fall back into simple good vs. evil stories, it is underwhelming. The movie did try to show aspects of “fitting in” but rather than showing the struggle they relied more on the phrase itself and added it in as a side thought.
It has many animals. It is a children’s movie after all. Big and buff deers / reindeers, big-eyed frogs, and gummy worm fishes. They were there to teach the humans valuable meanings of life and dance the Irish Riverdance. The frogs did it, the Megaloceros Giganteus did it, and even the fishes sort of danced. The dance was so powerful that it made the girl walk on the water. I was expecting a reason for how but like all my expectations, the movie didn’t even touch it.
Is it just me or are animated movies always supposed to be magical? Magical in a way that is more than talking animals. Many dialogues had the word magic in them but it didn’t translate to the movie. What did happen though was a Lion King-inspired Megaloceros Giganteus chase. Where they were galloping away from the antagonist. Seen and done.
The Good Parts of Riverdance: The Animated Adventure
Apart from the mesmerising voice of Pierce Brosnan, and the perfect character of Aisling Bea, the movie did have some good parts. Keegan, our protagonist was a boy that I would definitely root for and his grandmother is a person that deserves the whole world. Mulan’s grandmother and Keegan’s grandmother would be best friends. She was charming, hilarious, sweet and totally delightful. I wished the movie was about her.
There were many different body types. Children movies are infamous for having highly sexualised figures for their characters but this movie got human bodies right. While they did have some surprisingly curved women, there were also people who weren’t which was refreshing. It appreciated them.
As these movies are also the way parents reinforce lessons like always listening to elders, Aisling Bea’s character was out to make the parent’s job much harder. She advocated that “Sweets fix everything” in a manner that made me want to run and get myself gummy worms. Not that I need an excuse. It voiced every child’s dream so the rebel in me is pleased.
Lastly, the movie had several wordplays, some that are probably meant only for the adults watching. They gave life to metaphors like black sheep and mystical bridges of truth to further show that even if the story was subpar the writers are definitely talented.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
In conclusion, this is not an animated movie that I will suggest anyone watch. It didn’t give me anything about Ireland except for the few actors and the Riverdance. Children need to be given more than good vs. evil and talking animals.
They need to be given credit to empathise with issues like racism, cultural appropriation, environmental struggles and the myriad of injustices that the world is drowning in. Movies like this that promise representation of cultures, need to step up and not Americanise the stories.