Peter & the Wolf is a 2006 animated short film (33 minutes) directed by Suzie Templeton.
It is, of course, an adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's musical children's story, Peter and the Wolf. It takes some liberties with Prokofiev's plot, but the story still centers around a boy named Peter who lives with his grandfather in a cabin in the forest. Peter wants to go out and play with his two pets, a duck and a crow with a lame wing. Peter goes into town for some groceries and gets a balloon, which he uses to help the crippled crow to fly.
The cabin is protected by high walls, and Grandfather locks Peter in, apparently because Grandfather is afraid of wolves that live in the forest. However, Peter manages to filch the keys while Grandfather is sleeping, and sneaks out of the compound with Duck and Crow. The three of them have a grand time sliding around and playing on the frozen pond just outside the gate—until a wolf does in fact show up.
- Adaptation Expansion: The characters get backstories in this version. Peter is a poor boy in a shantytown; the hunters are drunken louts that stuff him in a dumpster and threaten him with their guns. The Bird is a flightless crow that Peter assists with a helium balloon; the Cat is the grandfather's cherished pet, the duck is Peter's only real friend until he's Swallowed Whole by the wolf.
- Androcles' Lion: Peter releases the wolf after seeing its horrible fate and being abused by the onlookers. The wolf walks by Peter to the gate and leaves peacefully as a form of gratitude.
- Bird-Poop Gag: The cat tries to eat the crow, but the crow, assisted by the balloon, manages to get into a branch high enough so that the cat can't scrabble up. After the crow realizes it is safe, it poops on the cat's face.
- Animated Adaptation: Of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf.
- Cats Are Mean: The main role of the cat is to serve as a pursuer to the bird, though the wolf is the Big Bad of the story. This version of the cat is a more of a Big Fat Jerk who gets his by first plunging into the icy pond when going after the Sparrow, and then getting pooped on by the Sparrow when he gets out of the water.
- Cat Up a Tree: In this case, the cat is up the tree to escape the wolf, not to get rescued by the fire department.
- Canine Confusion: At one point, the wolf slashes Peter across the face with its claws. While this is not technically impossible, it is still odd for a wolf. Wolf claws are dull because they are used for traction while running and cannot be retracted. Swatting with a paw is a very cat-like action, and not something canines tend to do because they rely mainly on their jaws for fighting. Also, wolves and other canines would have difficulty slashing like that because their shoulders don't easily allow for that kind of motion.
- Enemy Mine: Peter and the wolf briefly join together because they both hate the hunters. He escorts the wolf to the edge of town, step for step, and gives it a clear run back into the forest.
- Grandparental Obliviousness: The quest is done while Grandpa's asleep and oblivious of his grandson's disobedience.
- Hungry Menace: The wolf is just a hungry predator looking for food. It didn't kill the duck out of spite or for the sake of evil. Duck was just unfortunate and couldn't escape in time. Peter realizes this in the end and releases the wolf back into the wild.
- It's Personal: Peter's only real friends are the bird and the duck. When the wolf devours the duck alive, Peter assumes a Death Glare worthy of the wolf herself, and from that point on, stops at absolutely nothing to make sure she is captured - and suffers as he is suffering. He gets better in the end, and as he's escorting the wolf to the city gates, BOTH of them now wear that expression.
- Jerkass: The hunters are hard core versions of this trope. They toss Peter into a dumpster just for funsies, then point their rifles at him. It loses them their quarry when Peter chooses the wolf over them at the end.
- Kubrick Stare: Peter, who for all his cuteness can deliver a pretty intense stare, throws a Kubrick stare at the wolf after it swallows his duck, whole.
- Menacing Stroll: When Peter frees the wolf, they stroll to the town gate together with identical Death Glares. Nobody, but nobody, dares get in their way.
- Misplaced Wildlife: The Bird is very obviously a Pied Crow, which is an African bird. They might have meant it to be a Eurasian Magpie, something you can and do find in Russia, but it looks nothing like a magpie. Compare.◊
- Morton's Fork: Peter is given an terribly unappetizing choice: To either let the wolf - that just devoured his best friend alive - win, or let the hunters who stuffed him in a garbage dumpster and brandished their guns at him win. He chooses the former and frees the wolf.
- Off-into-the-Distance Ending: Ends with the wolf, freed by Peter, dashing away towards the full moon.
- Silence Is Golden: Prokofiev's music is supposed to be accompanied by narration telling the story. Since this is a visual adaptation, the narration is cut. Instead, the story is presented with no dialogue at all, only the music.
- Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: At one point, the wolf slashes Peter across the face with its claws. While this is not technically impossible, it is still unlikely. Wolf claws are dull because they are used for traction while running and cannot be retracted. Swatting with a paw is a very cat-like action, and not something canines tend to do because they rely mainly on their jaws for fighting and hunting.
- Stop Motion: The short is animated with stop motion.
- Swallowed Whole: The wolf swallows the duck whole.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Peter sees some bullies abusing the helpless wolf after it is captured. He realizes that both its fates are unpleasant. It could either be humiliated and tortured as a circus animal or be sold as meat for the local butcher. Peter realizes that even though it killed his friend, it only did it because that was its basic nature. He feels sorry for it, and releases it back into the wild.