Peter and the Wolf

A rarity in the film industry these days is a film that knows its limits and achieves its full potential within those boundaries. Such is the case of Peter and the Wolf, the Oscar winner for Best Animated Short in 2008. At just thirty-two minutes, Peter enchants you and keeps you in awe until the final frosty breath of its titular character.


Peter is a lonely outcast barred from entering the woods by his grandfather and forced to entertain himself by the harsh, neglectful village children. Upon breaking free into the woods, Peter’s only friend, a duck, is eaten whole by a wolf, who immediately turns his sights onto the grandfather’s rotund cat and a bird relying on a balloon to take flight. Peter decides to take on the wolf and capture him as his chance for greatness.

The entire film is an absolute spectacle of animation and detail. The facial expressions for Peter and the wolf are so intense at times they become frightening. The shockingly blue eyes of each are accented by a sternness that is seemingly spontaneous, but no doubt on purpose. The scenery of the Russian village and the woods are unbelievably detailed as well, making you forget that the whole thing is animation. By far the most astounding example of the acute details is the grandfather’s hands. You only catch a quick glimpse, but every line, every wrinkle, and every vein is visible reminding you of any elderly person’s hands you’ve ever seen.

The animation is accompanied perfectly by Sergei Prokofiev’s 1936 score. Peter is completely void of dialogue, but at no time are you left thinking that the inclusion of conversation would be an improvement. Each moment is expertly timed with the ebb and flow of the music. As mentioned earlier, Peter knows its limits in every aspect. The film flows at a steady pace and does not try to extend into a full-length feature. Once each miniature adventure is over, we are introduced to a new one with the same level of attention and interest.

Peter finds a way to pack the wonder of a full-length animated feature in one-third of the time and without a single word. Marvel at the attention to detail and listen to the wonderful, classic music.

  1. Completely agree… that is one greaat movie, and the animation is breathtaking

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