Moomin and Midsummer Madness (2008)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

When trying to understand the appeal of the Moomins, you first have to look at their creation back in…
Hello?
Hello?
Anybody?

Anybody?

"Congratulations Mouse. You’ve finally done it. You’ve finally succeeded in completely alienating your entire readership. Bravo. Genius. Take a blog that’s largely supported by Disney fans and devote it to obscure European cartoons, Irish politics and a film that was literally never even released."

“Congratulations Mouse. You’ve done it. You’ve finally succeeded in completely alienating your entire readership. Bravo. Genius. Take a blog that’s largely supported by Disney fans and devote it to obscure European cartoons, Irish politics and a film that was literally never even released.”

WHAT HAVE I DONE!? Surely its not too late?!

“WHAT HAVE I DONE!? Surely its not too late?!”

"Nope. They’re gone. You had your one chance at internet stardom and you blew it. That was it."

“Nope. They’re gone. You had your one chance at internet stardom and you blew it. That was it. Let’s go boys.”

"No! Wait, where are you going?"

“Wait, where are you going?!”

"Back to the Google images page you stole us from. Farewell, Mouse."

“Back to the Google images page you stole us from. Farewell, Mouse.”

"See you, Mouse. It was fun except for that time I was almost fed to wyverns."

“See you, Mouse. It was fun except for that time I was almost fed to wyverns.”

"Peace out, dawg."

“Peace out, dawg.”

"No…my readers. My maps. They’re all gone…"

“No…my readers. My maps. They’re all gone…”

“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.” “There’s a pain goes on and on.” “No more views and no more comments.” “Oh my blog is dead and gone.”

“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken.”
“There’s a pain goes on and on.”
“No more views and no more comments.”
“Oh my blog is dead and gone…”

Guys, I swear, I will review a movie you’ve actually heard of as soon as I’ve done this one. Contractual obligations and all. If it helps, I’m as much in the dark about this one as a I think most of you are (with apologies to my Scandinavian readers). That’s not to say that the Moomins are unknown in Ireland, I know quite a few people who are fans, but the whole Moomin phenomenon just kind of completely passed me by. My blind spot on the Moomins honestly extends to most things Scandinavian. I just don’t know that much about those countries apart from the fact they constantly conspire to keep Ireland out of the top five on the Human Development Index, the Nordic Marcia Brady to our Gaelic Jan.
 Nordic Marcia
"Sweden did it again! Sweden, Sweden, Sweden!"

“Sweden did it again! Sweden, Sweden, Sweden!”

 

Okay. So. The Moomins. What are they? I don’t know. I mean literally, I have no idea what they’re supposed to be. Wikipedia describes them as “fairy tale” characters, which is just wonderfully specific. I suppose, since they’re called “Mumintrolls” in Swedish they’re supposed to be trolls from Scandinavian folklore but…
Yeah, how did I not get that?

Yeah, how did I not get that?

Well anyway.
Okay. So. The Moomins. They’re a family of white, hippo…things. Who hang out. And have whimsical adventures tinged with an unmistakeable air of melancholy. They were created by a Swedish-speaking Finn named Tove Jansson who wrote and illustrated nine books featuring the characters between 1945 and 1993 and who also takes a hell of a stylish photograph.
Who you know fresher than Tove, riddle me that?

Who you know fresher than Tove, riddle me that?

There have also been EIGHT cartoon series based on them, and numerous movies with the most recent being released this year. They are, like all things that are cute but difficult to explain, huge in Japan.
And yes, they have their own theme park.
"Because Europe."

Because Europe.

So, now we’re ready to talk about the movie? Oh, we have not even begun to unpack all this.
So, one of those eight (!) cartoon series was  Opowiadania Muminków, an Austrian, German and Polish co-production that ran between 1977-82. Then, in 2008, a Finnish company took that series and edited into a single movie called Moomin and Midsummer Madness, the English dub of which I am reviewing today. So, to recap.
  • Swedish speaking Finn writes a book.
  • Germans, Austrians and Poles adapt it into a TV series.
  • Finns adapt TV series into movie.
  • Americans dub movie.
  • Man kills God.
  • Man creates dinosaurs.
  • Dinsosaur kills man.
  • Woman inherits the earth.
 Got that? Okay, let’s do this.

So our story begins in the Moomin valley where it’s Midsummer and everyone’s sweatin’ like a pig. Our characters are Moomintroll, who’s just your basic model Moomin with no added distinguishing features, his mother Moominmomma, his father Moominpoppa and his girlfriend, the Snork Maiden and already I’m hugely confused. Look, these are the Moomins:

Moomin

And this is the Snork Maiden:

Snork Maiden

Yeah. Does anyone else think the naming convention in this thing is a little inconsistent? I mean, I’m no Moominologist, but that, to me at least, looks like a fuckin’ Moomin. So why isn’t she named…I dunno…Moominsnorkmaiden?

Oh look, its Brainy Smurf, Vanity Smurf and Ignacio Bolivar, the Red-Hatted Lord of Chaos.

Oh look, its Brainy Smurf, Vanity Smurf and Ignacio Bolivar, the Red-Hatted Lord of Chaos.

Yes, yes, I know she’s not actually a Moomin. The Snork Maiden is actually a Snork, which are different from Moomins…somehow. My question is, why create Snorks if they’re just Moomins with hair? Why create two fictional races that are, for all intents and purposes, identical? This would be like if Star Trek created the Klingons and then created another race that were exactly the same only less interesting…

Godammit Voyager.

Godammit Voyager.

We also meet the Moomins…adopted daughters? I think? Little My and Mymble. Jesus. Is this what it’s like for non-comic fans watching Marvel movies? Like, you’re just plunked into a story with dozens of characters with decades of interalted back story and personal history and just expected to know what’s going on? Alright, well, from what I can gather Little My and Mymble are from another species,  called the Mymbles, not to be confused with Mymble, who is Little My’s sister, or their mother, who is known as The Mymble. Also, from what I can tell, in the books they look like humans but in this movie they look like chickens with red hair.

To me, old friend.

To me, old friend.

Okay, well let’s talk about something I do know something about. The animation is that special kind of lo-fi, seventies stop motion that I just love. It’s certainly not Aardman level quality but my God, I can’t repel nostalgia of this magnitude. I just find it utterly charming. Shows like The Clangers, Postman Pat and Chorlton and The Magic Roundabout all used the same style and they all had a certain quality…cosiness, is the closest I can come to describing. Just a feeling of familiarity and the sense that everything was fine and would continue to be fine.

Alright, well the nearby volcano starts belching ash and Little My starts cackling that the whole world’s going to burn and they’ll all be charred to a crisp.

Ooooooooookay what the fuck am I watching? That is really creepy. Suddenly the atmosphere of cosy innocence seems less like a comfort and more like a trap. As if any second this thing is going to veer away from Saturday morning innocence into bleak existential horror. Like if you were just scanning down this blog and you saw a picture of me except when you looked closely you saw it was all creepy and fucked up and I was just staring at you with these black, soulless eyes and sharp teeth and it gave you nightmares for the rest of your life.

..

..

.

"I would never do that to you."

“I would never do that to you.”

So it’s so hot and sooty that the Moomins decide to have coffee (just the ticket) and then sleep outdoors where it’s cooler. Moomintroll places a toothbrush beside his bed and says “I brought my new toothbrush, the one my friend gave me.”

"Good thing everyone here knows who my friend is and I dont have to elaborate on that in any way."

“Good thing everyone here knows who my friend is and I don’t have to elaborate on that in any way.”

Suddenly the earth opens up and swallows his toothbrush and then closes up again and Moomintroll is distraught because it was a GIFT FROM HIS FRIEND. The Moomins see the volcano erupting in the distance and flee…well, they walk calmly back into their house. Yeah, the Moomins are kinda laid back about all this. Losing the toothbrush got a bigger reaction than the Earth’s fire-blood bursting forth to render all to blackest ash. I’m not even kidding, Moominmomma asks if it’s morning already (the sky is bright) and Moominpoppa calmly replies “No dear, the volcano is just spouting fire.” Moomintroll, at least, asks if it’s dangerous and Moominpoppa replies “Well, maybe a wee bit dangerous.”

Sure, and this guys a wee bit sunburnt.

Sure, and this guy’s a wee bit sunburnt.

Then the sea level starts to rise and soon the house is flooded, with Little My shrieking delightedly “It’s the end of the world!” and who is this kid, the Anti-Christ?! Wait a minute…

GET ME AN OLD PRIEST AND A YOUNG PRIEST!

GET ME AN OLD PRIEST AND A YOUNG PRIEST!

Moominmomma decides that, trapped in their own home and with the flood waters rising, now is the perfect time for them to go to bed. The next morning the house is still flooded and they’re still trapped. Moominmomma mutters “A change is as good as a rest but this is too much, we don’t even have coffee.”

"Are you HIGH?!"

“Are you HIGH?!”

So the Moomins sit down to breakfast even though the lower half of their house is underwater and the foundations could crumble any second. At least the narrator tells us in his pleasant “Mister Rogers on tranquilisers” voice that it’s the most exciting breakfast the Moomins have ever had. Which I should certainly hope so, as most breakfasts don’t have the threat of iminent death hanging over them as long as there’s enough bacon for everyone.

Meanwhile, we see some of the devastation that the flood has wrought on the rest of the Moomin valley, with many residents trapped on their roofs thanks to the disatrous response of the federal government.

George W. Bush doesnt care about duck people.

George W. Bush doesn’t care about duck people.

So the two duck people are Misabel and Whomper who ask if they can visit the Moomin’s home even though it’s early in the morning and completely against etiquette. Moominmomma graciously welcomes them in, saying “I do apologise, the house is a bit of a mess today and the living room is underwater.” Suddenly, the water level rises dramatically and their all in danger of drowning (well, at least they had breakfast, most important meal of the day after all). Mymble angrily yells “Sister! What have you done?!” and Little My says that she didn’t do anything. And that’s an odd thing to think, isn’t it? Why would she assume the normal child is responsible for raising the flood levels? That would take some kind of supernatural, dare I say, INFERNAL power? Wouldn’t it?  Hmmmmm? Hmmmmmmmm!?

 the church lady

The Moomin family climb up on the roof but as luck would have it a theatre just happens to be floating by and they climb on and just float down the river. ‘Kay.

While exploring backstage, Little My, Mirabel and Whomper realise that they’re not alone…

predator

Well no, it’s not the Predator but it’s still really creepy. They stumble around in the darkness while something watches them with mad staring eyes. After stalking them for a few scenes, the mysterious figure reveals hersefl as Emma, the owner of the theatre who has had it with these motherfucking Moomins on her motherfucking stage. Moominpoppa apologises for crashing her house and Emma explodes saying “It’s not a house! YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT A THEATRE IS!”

"Gasp!" *faints dead away*

“Gasp!” *faints dead away*

Seeing all the props lying around, Moominpoppa asks if a theatre is a storage place for old junk, which of course it isn’t unless Andrew Lloyd Webber is being staged (hi-yo!). The next day, Mymble, The Snork Maiden and Misabel explore the dressing room which is full of mirrors and Mymble exclaims “it’s a girl’s dream!” which of course is true.

Chicks dig looking at infinity. Everyone knows chicks did looking at infinity.

Chicks dig looking at infinity. Everyone knows chicks dig looking at infinity.

The Snork Maiden suggests that Misabel try a new hairstyle and Misabel basically says that she’s damned if she’s taking fashion tips from a naked hippo and storms off. Mymble and the Snork Maiden then discuss whether the Snork Maiden should wear clothes and I don’t actually think this has ever been addressed in any cartoon I’ve ever seen. There’s so many cartoon characters who don’t wear clothes and never get called on it. And now that this movie’s brought it up…I can’t not notice it.

Cover your shame!

Cover your shame!

So it’s around here that the movie really starts betraying its origins as a TV series. There’s a few scenes of the characters just putzing around the theatre that was clearly just supposed to be a five minute episode and doesn’t really have any bearing on the plot so I’m just going to skip ahead. After Emma explains to our five million characters what a play is, the Moomins decide to put on a play because what else are you going to do when you’re floating down a river on a theatre? Moominpoppa is picked to write the play (ugh…that hack?) and Misabel proclaims that she’ll be the leading lady as she’s always wanted to be someone else. This leads to an absolutely flawless transition from a medium shot of Misabel’s model on the stage to a long distance shot of the miniature stage model with a tiny Misabel on it. Seriously, you cannot tell that that’s not the same Misabel at all.

Apparently we ought to.

Seamless

"Seamless, huh?"

“Seamless, huh?”

"Youre fired."

“You’re fired.”

"And with good cause!"

“And with good cause!”

Anyway, the theatre floats past a tree and Moominpoppa decides to weigh anchor and tie the theatre to it. Moomintroll (yeah, remember him? Our lead?) suddenly decides that he has to sleep in this tree and the Snork Maiden then says that she has to sleep in the tree.

Man, I remember what that’s like. When you have a girlfriend but you’re both still living with your parents. It’s tough. You do end up fucking in trees a lot. After everyone’s gone asleep, Emma comes by and sees that Moominpoppa has tied the tree to the theatre’s prompter’s box. Emma asks aloud what she’d do if the prompter’s box was damaged (I dunno, hire actors who can learn their damn lines?) she unhooks the rope and lets the theatre drift away, leaving Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden trapped in the tree.

The next day, the narrator informs us that Moominpoppa and Moominmomma are very worried about Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden. I don’t see why he needs to tell us this, though, it’s so easy to read their expressions.

Happy.

Happy.

Clinically depressed.

Clinically depressed.

Frantic with worry.

Frantic with worry.

Consumed with fiery lust.

Consumed with fiery lust.

Whomper sees Misabel crying because they’ve lost Moomintroll, the Snork Maiden and Little My…wait, what?! When did Little My disappear?! And more importantly, what’s she up to?!

Whomper asks Misabel if she’s actually upset and she says no, it’s just a good excuse to cry about some other things. Harsh.

Meanwhile we meet Snuffkin, a Mymble hobo who’s fishing by the river.

"More characters! More I say! Hang those who talk of less! There's still some space over here, ho!"

“More characters! More I say! Hang those who talk of less! There’s still some space over here, ho!”

Snuffkin sees Little My (his half-sister incidentally) floating by in a wicker basket while the narrator helpfully explains that she had fallen asleep and fell into the river. Because after all, the golden rule of cinema is “Tell don’t Show”.

Snuffkin tells Little My that he has unfinished business with “a certain villain” and she decides to tag along because she is the child of the devil, I believe I’ve made that clear. They come to a park enclosed by a wrought iron fence and full of signs forbidding pretty much everything. Inside the park, children mill around in straight lines under the watchful gaze of the Park Keeper. That don’t sit right with Snuffkin so he tells Little My that he’s going to plant Hattifatteners in the park to destroy the status quo.

"Introduce a little anarchy, and everything becomes choas. Im an agent of chaos."

“Introduce a little anarchy, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos.”

 What are Hattifatteners? They’re small, ghostlike creatures that grow from seeds and are magnetic. Apparently the Hattifatteners make several appearences in Moomin media and are quite popular, with Finnish children even making snowmen of them OH JESUS CHRIST…

THAT IS SOME FUCKING SLENDER MAN SHIT.

THAT IS SOME FUCKING SLENDER MAN SHIT.

Snuffkin and Little My plant these abominations and watch as they grow, with Snuffkin excitedly saying “soon we’ll be able to see their eyes!”

I…I…I…I…

That is the creepiest goddamn thing anyone has ever said…

Snuffkin then says “When they’re first born they’re highly electric. They burn when you touch them.”

They burn when you touch them. They burn when you touch them.

They burn when you touch them.
They burn when you touch them.

The Hattifatteners swarm around the Park Keeper who can’t believe what he’s seeing, rubbing his eyes and yelling “Have I gone mad?!”

"GOOD QUESTION!"

“GOOD QUESTION!”

The Park Keeper flees the park, chased by the little nightmare-condoms and Little My and Snuffkin start tearing up the park’s signs. But what about the children? With the Park Keeper chased away they have no one to look after them and they ask if they can tag along with Snuffkin and Little My. Snuffkin, although he says “I foresee disaster.”

"Well lets see. A mysterious wandering stranger in the company of the devils child summons nightmarish creatures and then abducts a load of children. It sounds like a goddamn Lovecraft story."

“Well let’s see. A mysterious wandering stranger in the company of the devil’s child summons nightmarish creatures and then abducts a load of children. Yeah, I foresee disaster too.”

Meanwhile Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden come across the discarded signs and are then arrested by the Park Keeper who thinks that they’re the ones who took them down (there’s actually a whole sub-plot with another character that leads into this but no, no more new characters, that’s my quota I’m done). They get locked up in the Park Keeper’s jail (man, the Finnish park service does not fuck around). The Park Keeper finds a flyer for Moominpoppa’s play and decides to go. Moomintroll asks when they’ll be released and the Park Keeper says once they’ve apologised and rebuilt all the signs and written the word”Forbidden” in a notebook five thousand times. The prisoners protest that they’re innocent but th Park Keeper snorts “Innocent Schminnocent! That’s what they all say!”

"Except when they plead Guilty-Schmilty to avoid a harsher Sentence-Schmentence."

“Except when they plead Guilty-Schmilty to avoid a harsher Sentence-Schmentence.”

The Park Keeper leaves them under the watch of his cousin and leaves for the play. Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden now reveal a rather devious side to their personalities, playing on the kind-hearted old cousin’s sympathies by pretending to be freezing cold. It’s perfectly plausible of course. They’re both completely naked and now I can’t stop noticing it.

"Wait a minute....AH!"

“Wait a minute….AH! WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME I WAS NAKED?!!”

The Park Keeper’s Cousin lets them out to make them a cup of tea and Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden make a dash for freedom. And then…and then the narrator says “Unless you’ve been behind bars, you can’t imagine how good it feels to be free.”

Huh. Something you want to tell us, Mr Narrator?

"You see children, your candy asses wouldnt last five minute in the Big House."

“You see children, your candy asses wouldn’t last five minute in the Big House.”

Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden arrive back at the theatre before the show starts along with Snuffkin, Little My and their whole coterie of the children of the damned. The curtain’s about to go up but Moominpoppa still hasn’t finished the script because he’s an unprofessional hack.

"Ahem."

“Don’t look at me like that. You want to work in this business sometimes you gotta trash the competition.”

Moominpoppa is getting more and more frazzled but Emma reassures him by saying “Don’t worry, the audience won’t understand it anyway.”

"Sigh."

“Sigh.”

The play starts but then Mymble’s character is attacked by a lion, Little My rushes the stage to protect her and my God I wish I could say this kind of thing didn’t happen in theatre in real life. After explaining to Little My that it’s just a play, Moominmomma sees Snuffkin’s gaggle of abducted children and does what all trolls do in this situation.

"Little cuties. Im going to keep you!"

“Little cuties. I’m going to keep you!”

Yeah. She’s just going to keep them. Hope you weren’t too attached to your children, dozens of parents. Moomintroll and his family are reunited. The play is a smashing success and the Moomin family return to the Moomin Valley which is no longer underwater.  The end.

***

Okay, I know I’ve been ripping on this one a lot so let me be clear that that’s more because it’s weird than because it’s bad. It’s not a bad movie. It’s not great cinema either, but it is excellent children’s entertainment. Sometimes those are the same thing, sometimes they’re not. Having seen it, I do understand the appeal of the Moomins a little better. This is around as far away from the “fart joke dance party” style of children’s film-making as it’s possible to get. It’s gentle, sweet, utterly charming and with just enough weirdness and little dark touches to not put adult members of the audience to sleep. If you have kids of your own, or if you just dig this style of seventies stop-motion, it’s worth a look.
Scoring
Animation:  09/20
My own personal bias showing here, resulting in a relatively high animation score.
Leads: 10/20
Moomintroll’s kind of a blank slate but that works for a character who’s supposed to be charmingly innocent.
Villain: 07/20
More of an antagonist than an out and out villain, but the Park Keeper’s good for some laughs.
Supporting Characters: 11/20
Most of the best intentionally funny lines and best unintentionally funny weirdness comes from the supporting characters.
Music: 07/20
If I say “Seventies music from an Eastern European children’s animation” imagine what that sounds like. It’s pretty much that. Whether that’s a good thing or not depends on you.
FINAL SCORE: 44%
NEXT UPDATE: 02 September 2015. I’m launching a new project that I’ve been working on for months and will be running all through September. This is something I’m really proud of and I really hope you enjoy it…even though it has nothing to do with animation. 
Drought
Crap. I need a miracle. It’s time to appeal to a higher power.
"Dammit. I really, really dont want to do this but Ive got no choice."

“I’m not a praying Mouse. And I’ve never asked you for anything before. But please, please save my blog.”

"I knew youd come crawling back eventually."

“I knew you’d come crawling back.”

 NEXT REVIEW: 03 September 2015
Soooo...we cool?

Soooo…we cool?

Neil Sharpson aka the Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, comic book writer and blogger based in Dublin. The blog updates with a new review every second Thursday. Today’s review was made possible thanks to the kind donation of Juha Tilli. Thanks Juha! Also thanks to Paper Alchemist for her drawing of Mouse in the tavern.

78 comments

  1. After my exhaustive research on Moomins (read: skimming its Wikipedia page), I figured this would be the movie you were gonna review. Thus, I tried watching it. But as someone who didn’t want to actually buy a copy of it, the internet would not allow me to watch it. But I was able to watch Zarafa. Never heard of it? Now we’re even.

  2. “Suddenly the atmosphere of cosy innocence seems less like a comfort and more like a trap. As if any second this thing is going to veer away from Saturday morning innocence into bleak existential horror.”

    You mean like Gravity Falls? Nah, I kid. That’s more like Over the Garden Wall.

    Woow, this was a weird one. Seems a little hard to follow. I wonder if seeing it in TV show format would make it any better?

    Mouse I promise the reason I haven’t been visiting this blog as much lately is because I’m super busy with my new job and not because you’re reviewing obscure stuff. Honestly, I like obscure stuff.

    That being said, BIG HERO SIX OH BOY!! AWESOOOOOOOOME! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. It’s a good movie, but definitely not without its flaws.

  3. I know you gave this movie (relatively) high marks, but I can’t help feeling this can only be truly appreciate by a viewer who is high. Very, very high. Tripping-balls, stoned-out-of-your-gourd, damn-near-OD’ing-on-marijuana high. . . . Rather like Gumby, come to think of it.

    (You may have gone crawling back to Disney for one more fling, but we all remember your vow to review the worst Disney movie of all time. . . . Unless . . . that IS the worst Disney movie of all time . . . ?)

    1. Hi Mouse!
      Even I was wondering when we will be treated with the worst-Disney-movie-of-all-time review… looking forward to it!
      And does memory fail me but wasn’t Anastasia on your to review list?

      1. Well…I was going to review the worst Disney movie but since I need Walt’s help for the next one it looks like I’ll have to bury the hatchet. Anastasia is in train.

  4. I grew up on some of the Moomin books and saw this film last summer. I was surprised to see you review it but it was hilarious as always

      1. No, really, we’re fine… but we do miss the Disney. And I’m still wondering what you consider the worst Disney film. Is it the Wild (does that even count)? Inspector Gadget? High School Musical (not my baby!)? A movie you seem to hate even though it was fairly good/well-acted, Saving Mr.Banks?

      2. Miss the Disney related posts a lot, or a lot, or maybe its lota. Anyway, just hard to relate to obscure European movies and cartoons I’ve never even heard of.

        Just going to go back to lurking over here.

        By myself. Maybe.

      3. Well, you have to remember that The Mouse and many of his followers are European. And trust me, neither Asterix or the Moomins are obscure to me.

    1. Just think of me as a Yankee, but forget the pitchfork. We carry semi automatic semi military hunting/assault rifles now.

      lol

  5. Huzzah! Big Hero 6 will finally be reviewed! I’ve been waiting to hear your thoughts on it for quite some time now.

    Are you still planning on reviewing the Marvel movies? If so, do you plan on starting it right after Big Hero 6? Or are you going to wait JUUUUUST a little longer? Or are planning on keeping it a surprise??????? It’s up to you, of course.

    By the way, have you seen the new Fantastic Four movie? Or are you, like most people are doing it seems, avoiding it like the plague? I hear it’s VERY, VERY bad. So bad that it makes the other Fantastic Four movies seem like masterpieces (or, at the very least, watchable) in comparison. Heck, I heard that it scored lower than Batman and Robin. BATMAN AND ROBIN! Is it really THAT bad? I’ll have to see for myself when it comes out on DVD. Just to say I’ve seen it. Don’t worry, if this movie is as bad as everyone claims it to be, I’ll have time to prepare for it. And I can always watch The Incredibles, the best Fantastic Four movie thus far, afterwards if needed.

    Keep up the great work! See you in a couple weeks!

    1. Saw Fantastic Four. It’s bad, just as bad as Batman and Robin, but in a different way. In Batman and Robin a bunch of crazy stupid stuff happened. In FF nothing happened. NOTHING happened. Even when things happened nothing happened.

    2. Pfft. Cracked put together a list of superhero movies way worse than Batman & Robin back in, like… 2009 or something. Incidentally, I think the 1990 F4 film was on it.

      1. Huh, I’ve never heard of that list before. I’ll have to check it out (if it’s still around). Thanks for bringing it up!

    3. Lotta questions there. Okay. The plan originally was that I was going to review Big Hero Six before the Marvel movies but the storyline has meant doing BH6 earlier than I intended. I still have around three or four Joanna reviews to get through. Haven’t seen Fant4stic yet but may catch it when it comes out on DVD. Also, Batman and Robin is a fantastic comedy

      1. Fant4stic is a worse experience than Corman’s F4. It may be a marginally better movie, but it’s just so freakin’ joyless. There’s a few details to like, but the broad strokes are disrespectful to the source material, bland, and very rushed.

    4. It is worse It is like someone did a really boring movie about…something…(certainly not the fantastic 4) with a lot of exposition about how mean the world is to young talents and then, just as you think that the movie might get good now that all the set-up is FINALLY out of the way, suddenly someone (meaning the studio) swept in and turned what was already a pretty bad movie into a horrible low budget 90s action movie.
      The only reason why I think that it didn’t quite deserve to get a lower rating than Catwoman (yup, it might end up the lowest rating Superhero movie of all time when all is said and done) is that at least it isn’t downright offensive.
      Don’t pay for it! Really, don’t! Try to borrow it somewhere or whatever. It is not worth to pay one cent for it!

      1. You don’t have to worry about me paying for it. Because once it comes out on DVD and someone has uploaded it to the Internet, I’ll find it and watch it then.

        Man, I completely forgot about Catwoman. *shudders*

  6. This looks charming and innocent, not exactly something I would rush out to get, but certainly something I wouldn’t have minded growing up on.

    Big Hero 6…..eh, I’ve only seen it once and my first impressions were pretty much “Gah, I HATE the villain so much, he’s underdeveloped and rushed, and the side characters feel so unnecessary, and the action isn’t that memorable or that spectacular.”

    I didn’t hate the movie, but I was pretty disappointed.

    1. I sort of agree about the side characters, but Yokai is easily one of my favorite Disney villains. I liked that he and Hiro’s arcs were similar. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for badass longcoats.

      1. Yeah I liked the villain. And the side characters. They weren’t bad so much as mediocre. It was very obvious which characters the writers cared about more.

      2. His look was cool, I just thought he was extremely underdeveloped and very forgettable and since he’s barely in the movie, you barely have any time to understand his motivation and get invested in his character. I get what they were going for, but the result just ended up feeling like a wasted opportunity and lazy writing to me.

  7. So… the first time I’ve seen the Moomins driving someone to drink, but I can definitely sympathize. Especially with the Little My part. She has always been the darkest, snarkiest and meanest of the main characters, especially in the books. And of course she’s the absolute fan favourite, especially among young girls, which I kind of get, but not really. The amount of tattoos alone is mind-boggling.

    Anyhow, an enjoyable review and you definitely did the franchise justice. Admittedly it is a lot easier to get into the Moomin world through the various TV series because those take their time introducing the characters. Though there are some good movies as well. My personal favourite being Comet in Moominland, a prequel to the Japanese animated series, in which a comet is about the destroy the Earth and of course the Moomins treat it as more of a weekend curiosity than anything else. They’re lovably laid back and bohemian that way.

    Thanks for this and looking forward to Big Hero 6.

      1. The comet kind of just decides that if all they’re going to do is cheer and wave, then it’s not worth crushing them and simply ascends away back into space.

    1. My is snarkiest, but darkest? I’d give that title to the Groke, but maybe she only counts as a side character. *shrugs*

      1. Yeah, Groke’s a side character and actually more tragic than dark when you learn her backstory. Little My on the other hand… Though perhaps the word ruthless would be more descriptive. She’s always the one willing to make things happen, sometimes with questionable means. For example, in Moominpappa at Sea ants have taken over Moomintroll’s hideout. He spends a lot of time moaning about the situation, trying to figure out how to make them leave, whereas Little My simple swipes a canister of gasoline and watches the ant armageddon happen.

      2. Ahh yes, I remember that moment. I was a bit young to understand what she did, but Moomintroll et al’s reactions were enough for me to understand it was quite the atrocity. Crimson Cockerel-worthy work for sure, my word.

  8. Holy crap I’m still so confused as to what in the world these things are. Thank goodness us dumb Americans can get back to just reading reviews of good old American Disney animated movies now.

    Seriously though, the Moomins are probably not actually any weirder than any number of random American kids shows but not having any context for them at all makes it a thousand times weirder.

      1. That show is a trip, man. We’re talking an obsessive-compulsive obese troll, a narcoleptic nymphomaniac, a threesome of flashers, a nude blue alien with wildly anarchic tendencies, an entire family of child abusers and a farting blimp, all frolicking in a hallucinatory garden. And it’s all narrated by Derek Jacobi.

      2. The funny thing is that prior to the tellietubbies they made things like Rosie and Jim which were the reason I learnt as a child that glass was made from sand (sort of). The Boobahs are really weird and In the Night Garden is hypnotic. I only caught a bit of one once. I think a lot of children’s shows are a little weird though, when I was little we had Bananas in Pyjamas “chasing teddybears.”

        I actually thought you were going to reference the Magic Roundabout with the Blucatt story, the blue cat in that story says “I’m sooo evil”. Which would be a useful clip to have for villains I think 🙂

    1. You can’t really compare the Moomins to an American kids show. It is hard to describe, but American shows tend to have the need to go big. The Moomins can spend a whole episode mostly talking with each other, but not in the “we have really explain the audience something” way. It’s like you are walking down the street and get privy to some random everyday conversation.

  9. Hilarious review. Quality stuff. I am SO THRILLED for BH6!

    When I read the books as a child, none of the bizarre laws of the Moomin stories bothered me at all, which leads me to a theory: the Moomiverse runs on little-kid logic. It explains the naming conventions, the extraordinary events juxtaposed with calm reactions, the appearance of the various creatures, the endless character list…
    For example, if you think about the way a kid might name their toys Teddy, Bunny, Bep, Jelly and Christine, then Moomins named Moomintroll and Snork Maiden make a kind of sense. As for the horrific elements in a whimsical world, kids do that all the time. My sister had an imaginary enemy when she was little. Apparently he was a creepy old man who watched us play.

    Today’s wildlife tidbit:
    If Mouse came from my neck of the woods, chances are he’d be called the Unshaved Antechinus. The agile antechinus looks like a mouse, walks like a mouse, nests like a mouse and eats like a mouse, but it’s actually a marsupial more closely related to the Tasmanian Devil, as you can tell by its pouch, its needle-like teeth and its absolutely vicious temper.

    1. Your theory makes perfect sense, I was introduced pretty young as well, and it didn’t seem utterly bizarre, just kind of fascinatingly fanciful.

      P. S., cool antechinus, and I love your drawing that got featured today!

  10. I’m curious as to what you’ll think about about BH6. It’s one of my friend’s favorites. Mostly because of Baymax. Everybody loves Baymax.

  11. Hilarious review, Mouse! Yep, I’ve never heard of these things either. Looking forward to your special project and the BH6 review. 😀

  12. What did I just read? I’ve been lurking here for quite some time and I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so confused as I am right now… It was still a very funny review even if I felt like I’d need several different illegal substances to understand what on earth was going on.

  13. Yay, Moomins! Yeah, as I’ve said previous review, I’m actually familiar with them. I remember my father reading me the books as a kid (starting with what I think may actually have been the earliest in the story’s timeline, it was the stories of Moominpapa’s wild escapades he had before starting a family) and really enjoying it. I did think it would make a good movie. I was pretty surprised to hear it actually did get put on the screen overseas. Too bad for us Westerners they were too good to waste on dirty non-Scandinavians (or at least anyone whose ancestors strayed too far from the Sarcastic Continent). But trust me, I know these vaguely hippopotamine fair-folk. I had quite the good time reading about their adventures.

    Aww, poor Mouse. At least you have your not-secretly-racist-except-when-it-is whisky. And the cutest little baby in Ireland. And your good old friend the louse, who’s now definitely going to get off of me and go back to bothering his original friend, right? No? Well, darn it. In any case, he tells me to explain to you that a Snork is essentially a Moomin of colour, but this adaptation doesn’t seem to be consistent with that. I thought the same thing before I read the book when the Snorks and Moomins met for the first time and the latter pretty much had the same reaction as Marie and Isabella when being introduced to Kathy. Which is probably equally as much as a lockout to anyone else reading this comment, so if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go back a few pages and read Mouse’s novel he’s got on here, it’s a good one, y’all.

  14. Ok, that line sounded pretty in-character of Little My to me. I seem to remember one book in which she got lost and Sister Mymble was mainly worried for everyone else. Basically one of those ostensibly cute little girls who are actually terrifying. Also, wow, that sure is some flood, hope someone’s got a hunny pot or an umbrella handy. And have you ever seen that College Humour video where everyone dresses as a cartoon animal, but pretty much only wear what little actual clothes the cartoon animal wears? It was quite the laugh. Though it would likely be much more horrifying if Knuckles was endowed like an actual echidna. Let’s all be glad none of the character designers apparently carefully studied actual echidna anatomy, eh?

    Quite a bit of fun. Though I do remember this story being the one that excluded what might be my favourite character. Sniff, you are missed, you neurotic little being-of-unknown-identification, you. Also, too bad the Groke (who’s basically a slightly less uncanny-valley-dwelling jynx) didn’t show up, I can only imagine the hilarious throes of terror she would put you into, but this was an enjoyable bout of cultural-barrier/fandom-outsider-lockout derived mind-boggling confusion. Maybe I could check this out, the style seems really cool. It’s on my list after Roger Rabbit and all those Disney movies I never read the reviews of because I wanted my own opinion first.

    And on a final note, I congratulate Amelia’s once again working her alchemy on a sheet of paper and turning into that nugget of gold that is an image of your despair. T’is very well drawn.

  15. Wowsers… As I come from Sweden, I can only imagine how the Moomins might look to people in… well, any country in the world except for Finland, Sweden and (for some weird reason) Japan. I think we can all agree that the Moomins look more like hippos than trolls, despite that we call them “the moomintrolls” in Swedish. But yeah, let’s just move on from that. Despite that I wouldn’t call myself the biggest fan, I grew up with one of the shorter books (which I really loved as a small girl) and a cartoon series from Japan (which was really good, by the way). So I guess that I can handle most of the weirdness of this universe, But I never heard of this movie, even though I watched the one about the comet, that has been mentioned above.

  16. Thanks for the review, Mouse. I have a Finnish brother-in-law, and I live in Minnesota, so I’m almost-kinda-sorta Suomi-by-law-of-contagion, so I appreciate you taking a look at these…interesting…characters.
    …Although, seriously, I don’t get them at all; however, unlike certain Japanese productions of my acquaintance, I always got the impression that there was something TO get, if you follow me.
    …Also. Don’t ask me about the state of American television entertainment. Just don’t. Thank god for novels.
    Which reminds me, I’ve still got to set some time aside to read yours… 🙂

  17. One day Moomintroll notices that something strange has happened in the Moomin Valley – everything is grey; not just the sky and the river, but the trees, the ground, the Moominhouse, too! Did You Know?

  18. Oh. I realize I’m a bit late to this one, but when I was little I remember watching a moomin movie. It was based on the books that introduced the Snork Maiden among other things, and it was about the Moomins having to leave their home because of a comet they feared would destroy it.

    This review made me really nostalgic, is what I’m sayin’,

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