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Film Review: Over the Garden Wall

While technically not a film, this Emmy- winning Cartoon Network mini- series is a halloween- time classic. The tale follows angsty- teen Wirt, and his half- brother Greg and their journey into the unknown. Meeting various eccentric characters, the brothers battle beasts ( those real and fake). While most of the characters seem completely random, they do bear a purpose to the greater plot. The plot, loosely based off of Dante’s Inferno, is heart warming yet gut- wrenching.

For those who don't know, Dante's Inferno is a book in which the main character, Dante, visits each individual circle of Hell. Following this structure, the creators of Over the Garden Wall have the two brothers explore the world they have seemingly fallen into. While each episode, (or circle) seems vastly unrelated and random, each person they meet and place they go to serves a larger purpose. Whether it is teaching the boys, (or just Wirt) a valuable character lesson or contributing to the storyline.

The main antagonist, nicknamed, ''The Beast'' is a non- human figure that lurks in the forest of the Unknown. He thrives off of turning wandering and lost children into trees to be turned to oil. His whole essence is completely horrifying- as intended. In the darkness, he is a black figure with large, looming antlers and glowing eyes. But when in the light, he is made of Endelwood and filled with multiple holes. While only being shown in the dark, just having the knowledge of his appearance is spooky enough.

While not appearing so, the creative time designed and animated the series via an online medium. While nowadays, most animation is done on a 3D animation app called Maya, the entire mini- series was hand drawn, then colored on Harmony's Toon Boom. This is extremely tedious work but overall, the final product reflects it well. The background, the pieces of art that are the foundation of the ambience created, were all drawn in Adobe's Photoshop.

The whole show was created by Patrick Mchale. While he is an extremely talented artist and writer, his music is the most recognised and praised. Writing and composing the soundtrack, it is very unique in comparison to most soundtracks out now. The style is very strongly inspired by 20th- Century Americana, though there are quite a few references to Opera and show-tune ballads.

This show is a must- watch for creatives and non. Its uniqueness inspires those who create to make something completely out of the box, while still remaining at a large corporation, like Cartoon Network (rip). it deviates from the norm and bring attention to the dying art of American- folk storytelling.

“Oh. Did you know that dinosaurs had big ears but everyone forgot ’cause dinosaur ears don’t have bones? You didn’t? That's because it's not true, it's a ROCK FACT!!!”

1 comment

1 Comment

John Nelson
John Nelson
Oct 21, 2023

Good writeup! I would definitely remove the last-episode twist about the lamp though, or put a spoiler warning at least..

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