‘Riverdance: The Animated Adventure’ (2022) Review: Guides Young Viewers to Navigate Death

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure centres around an Irish boy, Keegan (voiced by Sam Hardy) and his grandparents (voiced by Pierce Brosnan and Pauline McLynn), who are the guardians of a lighthouse. Before his grandfather’s sudden death, Keegan learns that the lighthouse must always be turned on to stop the Huntsman (voiced by Brendan Gleeson) from crossing over. He sets out on an adventure with Moya (voiced by Hannah Herman Cortes), a Spanish girl who lives in the small town, to the mythical land of Megaloceros Giganteus, and learn the importance of Riverdance by Patrick (voiced by Brosnan), the deer with the magnificent antlers, as well as Benny and Penny (voiced by Jermaine Fowler and Lilly Singh). But when Keegan doesn’t turn the lights on, the Huntsman crosses over the river and comes after the herd to steal Patrick’s antlers.

At the core of this story, directed by Dave Rosenbaum and Eamonn Butler, approaches how young children deal with death and grief in a comforting manner. Keegan’s grandfather taught him how to dance, live a good life by helping each other, and be kind to people. They were extremely close and when his grandfather died, Keegan lost the meaning of life and didn’t want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. When Patrick teaches Keegan how to Riverdance, he finally learns the true meaning of life and how his grandfather appreciated Riverdance more than anything.

While many animated stories deal with grief and loss, Riverdance: The Animated Adventure uses the emotional impact to drive the narrative forward. The movie shows the rich culture and tradition of Ireland as well as the mythology and folklore based on Riverdance and the deer. It also focuses on the importance of community and the strength that comes with bonding together for cultural events. There are heartwarming moments between Keegan and the other characters, who teach him the meaning of community. The movie guides the viewer and Keegan towards the significance of family values and passes them down to future generations. It takes Keegan some time to understand what he must do to protect Patrick, Benny and Penny, and even his friends that live in town. But once he overcomes the struggle of his grandfather’s death, he finds his way to his community and restores his faith in life.

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure is an entertaining and striking movie filled with dancing from both humans and their animal companions. The music is composed by Grammy Award Winner Bill Whelan and it is sensational. Although the movie starts with the death of a loved one and guides the viewer to deal with this loss, these tropes are meant to cause heartache. Despite these aspects, the story gets a bit muddy in the middle and the narrative tone doesn’t flow properly. However, towards the end, the movie finds its place and pulls the viewer back to the heart of the story.

Riverdance: The Animated Adventure will stream on Netflix on January 14.

Edited by: Raayaa Imthiyaz



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