“Hilda” – House In The Woods EPISODE REVIEW
Posted 4th February, 2023
In this episode of Hilda, Hilda ends up lost in woods with the Woodman. The two of them explore around, searching for a way to help Hilda get back home, and come across a strange empty house. Said house grants wishes to it’s residents! All they have to do is think or say what they want, and the item puffs into existence. It sounds like a great treat, but then we learn that the house locks it’s visitors inside, and there doesn’t seem to be a simple easy way out.
I’ve currently been binging episodes of Netflix’s Hilda, as part of research for my upcoming video on 2010’s British Cartoons. This was the first episode that I felt inspired to actually write about, which is saying a lot when the show has been a blast so far.
I already love the dynamic between Woodman and Hilda. A plucky little girl with a “Let’s get on with this” attitude paired with a laid back and dry Woodman is a recipe for funny chemistry, Hilda’s impatience clashing with the Woodman’s optimistic reaction to being trapped in a wish house.
It’s also fun seeing what characters exactly wish for, because it says a lot about their desires or tastes. I especially liked when they didn’t say what they wanted, and their thoughts spoke on their behalf. These wishes get even more fun when more of Hilda’s friends arrive at the house, causing the wishes increase and diversify.
The episode is rich in tension too, because Hilda’s mom is worried sick at home, and her daughter can’t simply walk back. At the same time, Alfur and Raven have been assigned as rescuers by Hilda’s mom, so they must be anxious to not let down their friend’s mother. You really feel that a lot is at stake just by the simple end goal of Hilda getting back home.
There’s this charming cosiness to the house, but also a dark mystery at the same time. Things get especially sinister when any attempts at escaping are met with surrealist space-shifting. I was whimsically enchanted by the idea of a house that grants you anything, yet also apprehensive WHY the house was so eager to spoil it’s prisoners.
Is this a Hansel & Gretel style witch? Is the house a lonely sentient being? Are our characters trapped in another dimension? I really like that we never know in the episode, so it’s up to the viewers to speculate what’s going. I kind of hope that the series never explains it, because it adds some intrigue to Hilda’s fantasy lore.
This isn’t just a wacky weird fairy tale story though. The whole experience does make Hilda question where her home really is, and if she’s letting her nostalgia cloud her from admitting that Trolberg is also her home now. Being stuck inside a house that’s trying artificially simulate your home will do that.
All in all, this is my favourite episode so far, and I’ll be surprised if anything tops it. Then again, I’m only 11 episodes in, so maybe it’s too early for me to consider this the show’s peak? We’ll have to see!
Revolting Rhymes (Part 1) (2017) SHORT FILM REVIEW
Written by Jambareeqi
Posted 4th March. 2018
Howdy Folks! So, today I released a video on the Oscar Nominated animated short LOU from Pixar (click here to watch this video), now it’s time for me to talk about ANOTHER nomination in the category of “Best Animated Short”, which is Part 1 of the animated adaption of Roald Dahl’s “Revolting Rhymes”.
This film intertwines Dahl’s takes on three classic fairy tales of Snow White, Three Little Pigs, and Red Riding Hood. I wasn’t too sure how it’d blend these stories together neatly, but you know what? They really pulled it off! I was truly impressed by how well they linked together.
With Red and Snow being childhood friends, their arcs are given rich emotional history, because not only could Red support Snow during her mother’s death, but Red was also there when the Huntsman took Snow away to be killed, though Red couldn’t find the guts to shoot him, and she’s lived in guilt ever since.
While the three little pigs’ houses are being funded by Red’s savings, which the brick pig stole from her, making Red wage a personal vendetta against the greedy swine. It’s connections like these that really help to link the fairy tales smoothly, without ever feeling contrived.
The Short also has a superb balance of black comedy & dark drama. Characters can be comically cartoony, but there’s still something sinister behind these kooky subversions of fairy tales. Red actually becomes a very somber figure, intimidatingly draped in the fur of the wolf who ate her grandma, gaining fame for her wolf killing skills, and feeling haunted by the loss of her loved ones.
While Snow manages to overcome her stepmother’s attempted murder, moves in with 7 small people, proving that she has the strength to live a normal self supporting life. The Small people are also depicted as normal everyday blokes with human flaws, rather than babies for Snow to pamper, which I really admired, because it’s about time these characters had some dignity.
Seeing these two reunite is wonderfully moving, as you can tell that they’ve missed each other, and Red can finally have closure after all these years of self shaming. These two really are the heart of this short film, and add some endearing depth to it through their sincere friendship.
The Short takes Dahl’s material in a more emotional direction, adding interesting layers to these fantasy characters, but remaining super faithful to the author’s bleak sense of humor. The Film is sort of trying to do it’s own unique thing, but you can still tell that the creators are paying loving homage to an iconic British writer, and not once straying too far from the spirit of his poems.
Also, the Tale is actually being narrated by the big bad wolf himself, who is telling the story to a sweet old lady, and he explains that his nephews were victims of Red’s revenge spree. So, in a way, we can sort of sympathise with the big bad wolf from this angle, even though Red was killing out of defence of herself or others, because we can see that he was lovingly protective of his nephews.
There’s a constant sense of tension during his narration too, this blend of trying to charm the old lady, but also feeling annoyed at her sympathies towards Red in the story. So, once we learn who this old lady is, things take a really creepy turn, a twist is revealed, and the Big Bad Wolf shows his real intentions that night. It’s a great conclusion to the short, one that wraps things up in the circle of vengeance, but also leaves us feeling a little disturbed by Wolfie’s secret plan all along.
To Conclude, I really enjoyed this short film! It’s amusingly quirky, but also quite dark for a children’s animation, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Roald Dahl adaptation. It’s splicing of three stories actually works surprisingly well too, and even brings some affectionate drama to what’s supposed to be a twisted retelling of classic fairy tales. This is totally what “Hoodwinked” could have been like if it had stronger characters, funnier humor, and visually appealing animation. I totally get why this film was nominated for an Oscar, believe that it deserves the nod, and wish it good luck for tonight.
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