100% Wolf (2020)
Directed by: Alexs Stadermann | 95 minutes | animation, family, comedy | Dutch voice cast: Rosanne Waalewijn, Remco Coppejans, Simon Zwiers, Fauve Geerling, Richard Groenendijk, Anke Helsen, Richard Spijkers, Jurgen Stein, Pamela Teves, Chris Schep, Inger van der Zanden, Walter Baele, Martine de Jager
‘100% Wolf’, the film adaptation of Jane Lyons’ children’s book, is about Freddy Lupine, son of a single werewolf. We’re introduced to Freddy when he hasn’t had his werewolf transformation yet, but it’s obvious he can’t wait to get there. Although you might expect otherwise, Freddy’s family isn’t made up of bloodthirsty, dangerous monsters. No, werewolves are at the other end of the spectrum in this animated film, doing superhero-esque things like rescuing people from burning houses. It’s no surprise that Freddy hopes he will grow up to be just as big, strong and indestructible as his father…
Although, indestructible… In a tragic accident, Freddy’s father Flasheart is killed and Freddy immediately turns an nemesis for life: the scary ice cream seller Foxwell Cripp. Not only does Cripp steal the moon ring important to the werewolves, he is also responsible for Flasheart’s death. The film then takes a time jump to the day Freddy becomes a werewolf. Should be, rather, because the expected change turns out very differently than Freddy – and the rest of the pack – expects. No dangerous incisors, frightening fierce eyes and an impressive posture; Freddy is turning into a white poodle! Thanks to his evil niece and nephew Chariot and Harriet, he gets a bright pink haircut and a silver band, which prevents him from becoming human again.
Poodle Freddy flees the scorn of his family and runs into the mutt Batty. She helps him – because of the promised reward of a room full of flesh – to take on Cripp; after all: if Freddy brings the ring back, will everything be all right? Cripp isn’t the only bad guy in the movie, though. ‘100% Wolf’ goes completely into ‘Lion King’ mode; which the older viewer will already be able to predict after the first altercation between Flasheart and his brother Hotspur. To complicate matters, there are also a bunch of noble dog haters out there who are out to exterminate all the puppies.
‘100 % Wolf’ does not excel in originality. You will recognize many story elements from other (animated) films. Still, the plot is fairly solid, although not all characters come out well and it feels quite chaotic. The pace and joke density are high. Not all jokes are equally successful, but (young) children will undoubtedly enjoy the silly situations in which Freddy finds himself. The message – accepting yourself as you are – is a bit over the top. All this is wrapped in a visually appealing animation style. Great achievement by these Australian/Belgian co-producers to make a film with a non-Hollywood budget that seems to come from there.