Wendell & Wild: A Bizarre Animated Comedy

(L-R) Wendell (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (voiced by Jordan Peele) in Wendell & Wild. Photo credit: Netflix © 2022.

Wendell & Wild, a pair of demon brothers, seek the aid of a teenage girl in order to escape the Underworld in the stop-motion feature.

Please note that there is a post-credit scene at the very end of the credits.

It was only natural that stop-motion animation filmmaker Henry Selick would team up with comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. Their talents certainly complement each other and to think, this film would never have happened without the success of Key & Peele on Comedy Central. With the two comedians, you know that there will be no shortage of laughs. Key and Peele approach their roles as a classic comedy duo with one acting as a straight man and the other providing comic relief. The tone is darker than other animation fare but the film has a PG-13 rating. This is not a film for young children much to Bob Chapek’s dismay. Animation is for adults, too. I do not know how many times that we have to keep having the same discussion about this genre.

Kat Elliot (Lyric Ross) is a troubled teenager and she’s back in her hometown. Her plan: to cause more trouble for the Rust Bank Catholic School for Girls. She was the sole survivor when her family’s car fell off a bridge. When one becomes an orphan at a young age, the trauma is sure to impact them for the rest of their life. While the brothers have their names in the title, it is Kat who is the film’s protagonist. This is a character who eventually learns to come around in the end. It’s not easy, of course, given the loss and adversity in her life.

Not long after her arrival, Kat is transformed into a Hellmaiden for the titular Wendell (Keegan-Michael Key) and Wild (Jordan Peele). All the brothers want is to escape their world for the Land of the Living. Easier said than done because they first must convince Kat to do their bidding. All Kat wants is to get her parents back. Will the brothers follow through on her wishes or will they just do what such movies usually require and ignore her? You’ll just have to tune in and find out.

This film features a lot of painstaking detail in its stop-motion animation. It is sure to be a contender for Best Animated Feature. Look no further than Henry Selick’s on credentials in the animation world. Jordan Peele isn’t such a bad filmmaker himself. Selick finds a way to capture the beauty of the animation in a way in which it does not look so “slick and perfect all the time” in his words. Listen, CG filmmaking has its advantages but there’s nothing better than going back to the roots of animation filmmaking.

If you’re looking for a bizarre animated comedy, look no further than Wendell & Wild.

DIRECTOR: Henry Selick
SCREENWRITERS: Henry Selick & Jordan Peele
CAST: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Lyric Ross, Angela Bassett, James Hong, Tamara Smart, Natalie Martinez, Tantoo Cardinal, Igal Naor, Gary Gatewood, Gabrielle Dennis, David Harewood, Maxine Peake, Ramona Young, Sam Zelaya, Seema Virdi, and Ving Rhames

Netflix released Wendell & Wild in theaters on October 21 and streaming on October 28, 2022. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.