Over the Garden Wall Review

A contrast of character is effective and necessary for any medium. Wirt (Elijah Wood) and Greg (Collin Dean) are brothers at war with one another, even if they do not notice it. From the immediate first scenes with them, the difference of tact and dissimilarity between the two is showcased. We have our struggle, and merely need to follow Over the Garden Wall through as it enchants its audience and paints a marvellous picture of brothers trying to make their way home. Their vain attempts at doing so are futile and fun at times, with some clear highlights shining through.

Its humour is a little too American for me, that does appear to be the disease afflicting Over the Garden Wall. Greg and the childish randomness wanes once in a while and becomes complacent and tiring. The jarring disposition between the world-weary Wirt and innocent Greg is nicely compared, but the grinding spectacle of coward and idiot combining forces to fend off danger after danger does tire from time to time. It is the sudden, smaller jokes that are the most engaging and rewarding. The act of Greg stepping on a pumpkin is not the best prepared, but the fumbling around with the pumpkin on his foot is. Having said that though, there is a throwaway gag where a midwife gags up a fish, and it is never held in the frame for more than a few moments. That randomness is beautiful. There are nightmarish conclusions to the normalcy, and there is a creepy undertone to many of the moments. It is realised well, and that is perhaps the best offering Over the Garden Wall has.

But where the bouts of writing fail in that modern Cartoon Network style, Over the Garden Wall comes to life in its eerie creativity and fantastic animation. It is inspiring, certainly, it is just a shame the writing staggers around when the animation excels. They are lovely, ten-minute pockets of different events and characters, with some more stimulating than others. Its music is tremendous and when paired with the scenery and surroundings of Wirt and Greg, it is hard not to lose yourself in the creative world director Nate Cash has constructed. Thanks to some exceptional stylish choices from Cash, Over the Garden Wall grows and grows from relative oddity to strangely brilliant oddity.

Over the Garden Wall is a nice enough time, exploring themes of responsibility and brotherhood, with a new addition to each episode to showcase some moral disparity or event. Confronting your fear of the unknown seems key, but for someone that was scared of Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask as a kid, I doubt there’s much hope for me. There is a degree to Over the Garden Wall, that, for some reason, reminds me of that old game. Maybe it is the worldbuilding or that fear of the unknown Over the Garden Wall is so desperate for me to confront. Regardless of that, the show is fun, the cast is enjoyable and Cash has provided a ten-episode piece of creativity.

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