Animation? Check. Heroes and villains? Check. A new blockbuster? Not really.
This movie tie-in might entice readers to seek out the Canadian animated feature film The Legend of Sarila, but it is hardly noteworthy as a storybook app. Three young Inuit teens search for Sarila, “a marvellous land located somewhere to the north between the glaciers,” in a desperate attempt to save their clan from famine. A devious shaman named Croolik, threatened by the powers of one of the young heroes, tries to thwart their journey at every turn. The story is inspired by Inuit legends, but it is difficult to see where the original source material lies and where modern retelling (appropriation?) steps in. Multimedia features include 360-degree immersion scenes, video segments and simple puzzles, but scenes appear to be mostly stills from the film, with some animation and minimal interaction added. The app features multilingual narration and subtitles, available in English, French and Inuktitut. The Inuktitut narration is provided by Canadian folk singer Elisapie Isaac, who is of Inuit decent. Eilsapie also contributes a small clip of her haunting song “Far Away” for the app.
The story will appeal to young readers with its classic hero’s-journey structure, but the app retelling is wordy, and the lack of interaction will likely leave them disenchanted. (iPad storybook app. 6-10)