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“Children need a little order in their lives, especially if they can order it themselves.”

I’d like to start off by pointing out a mistake which should have been fairly obvious from my last review. When I said that the only two Disney movies that haven’t gotten a blu-ray release yet were the remaining package features, I was wrong – The Black Cauldron has yet to be released on that format. This is something I should know both as a Disney fan and for the fact that it’s On The Shelf for future voting (it might even be perfect review fodder for Halloween…)

Anyway, on to this month’s review.

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking, or Pippi Longstocking for short, was one of my childhood idols, something I never quite realized until I rediscovered the film that introduced me to her in the first place. Pippi lived a Peter Pan-esque life completely independent from grownup rule and schooling; she called the shots in her own house, but had a firm grip on average adult responsibilities – which she was able to approach and complete as if they were games – and little to want for thanks to a sizable fortune she happily shared with those in need, not to mention she knew how to run circles around stuffy useless old farts with her playful, seemingly simple wit.

Basically, she’s everything I wanted to be as a kid AND as an adult.

And who do we have to thank for bringing this character to life? That would be none other than Sweden’s own Astrid Lindgren.

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If JK Rowling is the literary world’s cool mom, then she’s its sweet and occasionally sassy old granny.

Lindgren is revered in her homeland for perfectly capturing a child’s point of view in her stories; you’ll find no wishy-washy protagonists or condescending for the kiddies in them. Her female main characters in particular are fierce, free, and adventurous, though they keep a genuine loving heart beating within them. That’s probably why I was drawn to Pippi so much after finding her. Though it’s been years since I’ve picked up the Pippi Longstocking books, I recall them being among my childhood favorites. They’ve been adapted multiple times for television, film, and even stage, yet as of writing there’s only been one full-length animated version, the one we’ll be looking at today from Canada’s primarily television (but sometimes film) animation studio, Nelvana. This wasn’t the first time Pippi was courted for an animated retelling, however. Hayao Miyazaki approached Lindgren for one back when Studio Ghibli was just getting off the ground, even going so far as to draw an entire sketch book’s worth of preliminary designs and storyboards, but she turned him down because…

Because…

You know what? She’s got no excuse. As satisfied as I am with the one we got, you really dropped the ball, Lindgren. Just think about it. HAYAO MIYAZAKI’S PIPPI LONGSTOCKING. Something simple yet beautifully animated and whimsical that could have stood on the shelf between Kiki’s Delivery Service and Whisper of the Heart. Seriously, look up the drawings he did. You’ll be wondering why he got left holding the bag too.

So without further adieu, let’s sail right into Nelvana’s Pippi Longstocking and see how it holds up.

The opening credits roll over a montage of our titular heroine (voiced by Melissa Altro; yes I’m well aware she’s Muffy from Arthur) living a life of unbridled freedom and adventure on the high seas. The daughter of former pirate Captain Ephraim Longstocking, Pippi travels the world with him and his loyal crew, whom she considers her extended family. Also along for her journeys are her pet monkey Mr. Nillson and her horse named…Horse. Pippi’s a great explorer but not the most creative at naming things. Our first song, “What Shall I Do Today”, covers the extent of Pippi’s travels, from deep sea diving to traversing the Sahara on camelback, though to her it’s just another ordinary day. I’m also blown away by what a set of pipes Melissa Altro has. Four out of the movie’s five songs belong to her, and she carries them with the training and talent of a performer twice her age.

One night the ship is tossed into a storm. Even after being told to stay below deck, Pippi leaps aboard in a raincoat and galoshes and helps weather the gale as good as the rest of the crew. She’s even enjoying herself – until she discovers a tidal wave has washed her father overboard. Her attempt to retrieve him in a lifeboat almost results in her getting swept away as well and she’s saved at the last minute by first mate Fridolf. The last thing she hears Ephraim say is to wait for him at the family home of Villa Villekulla.

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And everyone laments the fact that things would have been ok if only they had John Smith onboard to perform an emergency badass rescue.

The crew is sad to see Pippi leave them, but she’s not worried for herself or for her father, whom she firmly believes survived the storm. Pippi bids them a fond farewell and rides into town on Horse carrying nothing but an old suitcase and a song in her heart, “Hey Ho, I’m Pippi”. It isn’t my favorite song in the movie; it’s upbeat and catchy, but something about it always rubbed me wrong ever so slightly. Maybe it’s because it comes so soon after such a dramatic scene, maybe it’s because Pippi is already so blithely content with her situation immediately following the loss of her only parent, which to be fair is completely in character for her. There’s this odd balance of maturity and immaturity that exists within Pippi; she’s able to see the upside in most situations and act well according to her best interests, yet she’s so focused on that and what keeps her blithely in the moment that she never allows herself to process the kind of healthy emotions one might need to in the long term – unless there’s something we don’t know about her…

Pippi arrives in Villa Villekulla and begins making herself at home, dusting off the collection of treasures and mementos from abroad. We also learn her suitcase is loaded with nothing but gold coins to help support herself, though it’s a drop in the bucket compared to an enormous pirate’s chest completely full of treasure lying about in the living room.

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Or as Jeff Bezos likes to call it, pocket change.

Meanwhile, in the house across the street from Villa Villekula live two children named Tommy and Annika. They have recently moved there from the city and find their new country life dull. I wish I could say more about them but sadly there’s not much to talk about. That’s all we ever get know about these two; one’s a boy, one’s a girl, and they’re bored. That’s it. It’s a sad reminder that not every brother-sister duo can be as interesting and fun as Dipper and Mabel Pines. In a way, though, that is kind of the point. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for the viewing audience, blank slates that we fill in with our selves to discover just how odd and unique Pippi is by comparison.

There is the fact, however, that Pippi is the first character we’re introduced to, so we’re already somewhat used to her peculiarities long before we meet Tommy and Annika. If I had my way, I’d have the film begin with Tommy and Annika going about their ordinary lives, then introduce Pippi when she meets them while moving into Villa Vilekula, resulting in a neater transition from the ordinary world into the extraordinary world of Pippi, and, barring one or two hints, never being quite sure if she’s telling the truth about her adventures and her father until the very end.

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Also I swear they copied Christopher Robin when designing Tommy.

On hearing about his children’s tedium, their father declares “Nonsense! Children never get bored, you have your whole lives ahead of you” and I’d joke about him being your average oblivious “father knows best” type of dad to come out of the 1950’s, but considering that was the time the books were written, it’s unfortunately spot-on. He suggests they go outside for a game of croquet, a platitude that must be common in that household since Tommy and Anika roll their eyes and mouth it along with him when he’s not looking. Still, they go along with it since the internet hasn’t been invented yet and they have nothing better to do.

Tommy and Annika are in the middle of their high-stakes game when they spy movement in Villa Villekulla and Pippi walking by backwards. Their curiosity aroused they say hello to this this strange new girl and Pippi proceeds to tell them a bit about her adventures, albeit a tad exaggerated for excitement.

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“Ah, a fellow adventurer in the veins of my own travels! How delightful she’s starting so young.”

Pippi invites her new friends over for an impromptu breakfast where she cooks an improbable amount of pancakes all at once while introducing Tommy and Annika to her playful lifestyle. “Recipe For Life”, on top of making you crave pancakes HARD, is yet another fun ear worm all about Pippi’s worldview, though it’s so fast that most of my attempts at a singalong go like “Da da da da da da da da da da da da da, da da da da da da da – THERE’S REALLY NOTHING TO IT, THERE’S REALLY NOTHING TO IT, ALL YOU DO IS FOLLOOOOOW THIS RECIPE FOR LIFE!!”

Unfortunately the racket and the sight of Horse hanging out on the veranda attracts the unwanted attention of local snobbish busybody Mrs. Prysillius (Catherine O’Hara). Mrs. Prysillius was not a character from the original books, but rather a creation for the 1969 Swedish television series. While the Pippi Longstocking stories never had a main villain, she more or less filled that void by serving as an antagonist of sorts, insisting Pippi live a more grounded, normal lifestyle, preferably one where she’s reigned over by a responsible adult. Ever since, Prysillius has been a mainstay in most every adaptation, though each one varies on how well-meaning or horribly prudish she can be. Here, she’s an overbearing bully of a woman who goes about riding a bicycle with a little dog tucked in the basket and –

Wait a second!

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Nelvana, you might wanna put your lawyers on standby. Just saying.

Prysillius puts the kibosh on the fun and glowers Tommy and Annika into returning home. Blind to her discomfort, Pippi shows Prysillius around Villa Villekulla while cleaning up her mess by skating around with brushes tied to her feet. She also explains her living situation, horrifying the uptight old prig. She ominously tells Pippi this won’t be the last time she hears from her and dashes off to the police station.

At the station, we meet the only officers that apparently run the place, Kling and Klang, who are so inept at their jobs that they make Chief Wiggum look like Commissioner Gordon. The first example we get of their lack of basic instinct is of them approving a request for a nail file and extra-long bed sheets from the inhabitants of the upstairs jail cell.

Said prisoners are small-time crooks Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson. Thunder-Karlsson is voiced by comedian Dave Thomas, but Bloom’s voice, Wayne Robson, eluded me for years, despite the fact that I knew I’ve heard it before. It’s that kind of reedy, high-pitched voice that sounds like it was made to voice obnoxious comic relief characters. It was only after revisiting a handful of Disney movies from my childhood era, the 90’s Renaissance, that it hit me.

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Let’s hope Bloom has better luck reaching freedom than Frank ever did.

The two chums share their modest dreams in “A Bowler and a New Gold Tooth”, which, as far as most villain songs go, I find vastly underrated. It still keeps the showiness of most traditional animated villain songs but presents it as a light, hummable vaudeville act (it’s what formed my headcanon where Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson are ex-vaudevillians who quit showbiz in favor of crime after their careers petered out). The end where their separate verses come together as a counterpoint duet is something I can’t get enough of. Plus, it’s refreshing to have bad guys who yearn for the simple things out of life. Some men want to rule the world, some men want to watch the world burn, and some men just want decent dental care and headgear. I can get behind that.

Also while the animation so far has been above average (not quite Disney level but of slightly higher quality than something made for television) it’s this one song that has the best animation in the entire movie. It’s highly elastic, there’s tons of lighting and shadowing, and it’s creative when it comes to showcasing these ex-cons’ fantasies. I’m not sure why the animators decided to go all out on this particular number, but then again Nelvana has already proven that they excel at animating insane trippy big-lipped alligator-style moments.

Mrs. Prysillius barges into the precinct demanding that Kling and Klang drag Pippi to the local children’s home because, in her own words, child services is useless in these matters. I get the feeling she’s dealt with them before and they’ve put her off because even they are probably sick to death of her constant meddling. Prysillius rants about how Pippi is endangering the community and herself with her recklessness in living alone and by keeping a pirate’s hoard lying about in an unlocked house, which Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson can’t help but overhear. Enraptured by the thought of unguarded treasure ripe for the taking, they make plans to break out and hit Villa Villekulla for all it’s worth.

The following morning Pippi catches Tommy and Annika on their way to a place she’s never heard of, a strange building where children are mandated to sit and take in as much information as possible regardless of its usefulness, a place called…SCHOOL.

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Pippi thinks she can do just fine without having to learn trigonometry and capitals of places she’ll never visit, but Annika says “It’s fun to go to school! I’d go CRAZY if I couldn’t go!” which only confirms my theory that she is not a real little girl but a robot intent on learning humanity’s weaknesses before the electronic uprising. Even Tommy, who’s essentially a clone in the same vein as her, looks shocked by her statement.

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“SUBJECT 40211 STATES EDUCATION IS PROFITLESS PURSUIT. DOES NOT COMPUTE.”

Pippi does change her mind later and pops into the classroom unannounced just as it’s time for math. The teacher…who I just realized is never named so I’m gonna call her Mrs. Jergenmanjensen, welcomes her and tries to get her involved in the lesson, but doesn’t take too kindly to Pippi’s outspoken attitude and unfamiliarity with how your average classroom works. She attempts to drum the rules into her head all the while Pippi counters her with playfulness, creativity and some serious acrobatic skills in the back-to-back music battle known as “Pluttifikation”, named so after Pippi’s constant mispronunciation of “multiplication”. Sad to say it’s the last song in the movie (and we’re barely over a half-hour in), but at least they end that particular aspect on a high note (pun not intended). Again, I’m a sucker for counterpoint duets, and Mrs. Jergenmanjensen proves a worthy adversary for Pippi’s vocals. Yet eventually Pippi’s voice wins out and she leads the other students in musical rebellion, bringing down the enforced mind-numbing hierarchy of the education system through song.

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“We don’t need no education, we don’t need no thought control!”

Mercifully for Mrs. Jergenmanjensen, the bell rings before the students chop up their desks and start a bonfire with their textbooks. Pippi politely tells her that this school thing was fun for a little bit, but she won’t be coming back anytime soon. On the way out Tommy and Annika invite Pippi to a tea party their mother Ingrid is hosting. Pippi admits she’s never been to a tea party before and doesn’t quite know the proper etiquette for one, but she happily accepts regardless. The children also witness the circus arriving into town on enormous carnival music-spewing trucks which frighten Horse.

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Hmm, how did this get here?

All goes well at the tea party until Pippi arrives wearing an oversized sun bonnet, marching in like The Jungle Book elephants and quickly making herself a little too at home in the parlor. Mrs. Prysillius is quietly infuriated that Kling and Klang haven’t gotten around to doing their jobs yet, while the other guests don’t know what to make of the girl, especially when she does what I always wanted but never could because social conventions sticks her head in the giant cake and eats it from the inside out. Then she tries to turn this dullfest into a literal party by dancing with Mrs. Prysillius. This has the opposite effect, however, as she winds up wrecking the room and further reinforcing Prysillius’ belief that Pippi should be dumped at the nearest Dickensian orphanage.

Prysillius bullies the ladies into storming out with her much to Ingrid’s dismay. You get the idea that this poor woman was throwing the party in order to make some new friends and form a place for herself in this new town and Pippi unwittingly ruined her chances. You can’t help but feel a little sorry for her. Ingrid ruefully tells Pippi that she’s no longer welcome in her home until she learns to behave properly, which leads to the one real problem I have with this movie. The book this was based on was made up of some loosely connected short stories of Pippi’s escapades after moving into Villa Villekula; they’re fun and quick to read but not the kind that delves into character arcs or internal conflict because they don’t need to. They’re entertaining on their own without being introspective. In the movie, however, they try to set up this arc of Pippi being made aware of her lack of behavior and how it negatively affects her and those around her. It’s introduced after the Pluttifikation number when Mrs. Jergenmanjensen informs and laments over Pippi’s etiquette and confuses her since she believed she was acting fine. Then it’s brought up again with Ingrid, but the movie never bothers to follow through on it. There’s no argument made as to whether Pippi should learn to adapt or if she should keep being herself. They try to have a sad moment when they have Pippi sadly leaving the party saying she should return to the sea and become a pirate, but I’m not really buying it. It just feels like a second-act low point that’s there for the sake of it being there like other children’s films do.

Here’s the thing: if you have likable interesting characters, you can make good movies of them going through a series of events as opposed to following a traditional three-act structure. Just look at how many adaptations of Alice in Wonderland there are. But if you’re going to take these slice-of-life short stories and attempt to build an arc around them, you need to see it reach its conclusion and have your characters in a different place from where they started. This is how I’d go about it – first I’d scrap the behave vs. not behave thing altogether. The filmmakers tried to make this the focal point of Pippi’s non-arc and it was a big mistake on their part. Instead I’d do something no other adaptation has done before and go into why Pippi behaves as she does, why she seeks out adventure everywhere and lets her imagination run wild while her father is missing, delving a little into her psyche. And the catalyst for that would be none other than Mrs. Prysillius. Rather than making Prysillius a one-dimensional killjoy, I’d try to give her some motivation behind her behavior. Maybe she’s an aging mother whose last child has finally flown the nest and she’s desperate to show some loving care to anyone, despite the fact that she’s very set in her ways and has a tendency to smother. Her attempts to get Pippi into a children’s home isn’t so much out of wanting to keep her worldview in order but out of a desire to feel needed and too much stubborn concern. The tea party scene could be a rather emotional climax that the movie has been building up to where she finally blows up at Pippi’s naivete and yells at her that her father is never coming home and she should start facing reality. Pippi runs off in tears leaving Prysillius to realize the damage she’s done too late. Triggered by her words Pippi has a nightmare where she’s forced to relive the storm that took her father away, and reveal, just for a moment, a darker complicated side that brings the comparison to Peter Pan even closer than you might expect.

When people talk about the Boy Who Never Grew Up, few discuss the inherent tragedy of his situation – his abandoning home out of fear of authoritarian rule and subsequent return only to find his parents have replaced him with another child, how his refusal to grow up also applies to his emotional immaturity, the times where Wendy catches him crying in his sleep as his repressed feelings and tainted memories come to haunt him in the night. Pippi too refuses to grow up. She’s also lost her parental figure to forces she can’t control. Both claim to never cry, but Peter unknowingly does – and Pippi does once, too. In the sequel book “Pippi in the South Seas”, Pippi and her friends visit an island where Tommy is nearly eaten by a shark, though Pippi saves him at the last moment. In a rare moment, she completely breaks down and holds him the way you’d hold someone dear to you if you nearly lost them. She claims her tears are over the poor hungry shark, but you know it can’t be true. Peter and Pippi are in denial about the realities of their friends and themselves growing up and eventually being left all alone, and they hide that crippling fear with a mask of bravado. Behind the disguise of a carefree spirit who fills her days with games and adventures lies a sad, terrified, and lonely young girl yearning for the only stable thing in her life – a family.

We sadly don’t get any of that, though we do have a short scene of Pippi quietly reminiscing over memories of her and her father while staring out at the night sky.

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“Somewhere out there, beneath the pale moonliiiiight…”

Of course, not one to dwell on sadness for too long, Pippi cheers herself up by counting her gold coins. Thunder-Karlsson and Bloom, having escaped jail earlier, enter the house in an attempt to steal the gold, but are scared off when they hear Mr. Nilsson make noise upstairs. Mistaking Pippi’s description of Mr. Nilsson for an adult guardian, they depart to plan their next move.

Pippi receives more visitors the next day in the form of Officers Kling and Klang carrying out Mrs. Prysillius’ orders, but they fall prey to Pippi’s logic; if a child is living in Villa Villekulla, then it MUST be a children’s home.

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“Makes perfect sense.”

Kling and Klang stay to help her fix up the house and unsurprisingly, shenanigans ensue, especially when Prysillius rides by and decries their incompetency.

Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson return that evening to scope out Villa Villekulla, once again taking Mr. Nilsson for a formidable obstacle when they see his enlarged shadow through the window. At the moment he and Pippi are attempting to learn the Schottish, a made-up dance that sounds more like someone from the highlands sneezing that a traditional folk dance. Mr. Nilsson accidentally breaks the record so Pippi readies herself for bed, giving the would-be thieves the opportunity they’ve hoped for. It’s not long after they enter that they run into the still very much awake Pippi and finally come face to face with the minuscule monkey. Assured that they have nothing to fear, they try to carry the trunk of gold out but Pippi thinks it’s just a game and takes it back with no effort. She eventually gets around to asking what these two strangers are doing in her home and Thunder-Karlsson offers his expertise as a dancer to teach her the Schottish (what’d I tell you, headcanon confirmed!) Pippi gets Bloom to play music with a paper and comb so they can practice with music and the three wind up literally dancing the night away.

Like with “A Bowler and A New Gold Tooth” before it, the Schottish sequence is, while not in the same class as the aforementioned song, very well animated. I guess the animators just really loved doing Thunder-Karlsson and Bloom’s performance scenes. The crooks quickly tire out as Pippi kicks it up a notch and speeds up the dancing. Afraid she’s going to dance them to death, they vamoose before Pippi can give them a reward for their hard work – a handful of gold coins from her trunk.

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Later that day, Pippi takes Tommy and Annika to the circus, but not before setting up a couple of “spink traps” around the house in order to keep Mr. Nilsson safe while she’s out. Little does she know that shortly after she leaves, Thunder-Karlsson, Bloom and Mrs. Prysillius try to sneak in at the same time. Prysillius walks right into one of the spink traps and gets doused in mud much to the thieves’ amusement (and yes, I recognize the irony that Catherine O’Hara was the victim of something that wouldn’t feel out of place in “Home Alone”). When she questions what they’re doing here, Thunder-Karlsson pretends that they share her *ahem* “concern” over Pippi and wish to see her in good hands as well. To that effect Mrs. Prysillius hires the two to kidnap Pippi and drop her off at the children’s home. Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read that right. She’s that obsessed with maintaining her idea of normalcy that she’s willing to spit in the face of the law and common decency itself in order to uphold it.

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Helga Prysillius: Buttinsky, Domineering pietist, Dolores Umbridge prototype.

On a side note, you have no idea how much fun I had looking up synonyms for Prysillius. There’s so many creative ways you can call someone a conservative old fuddy-duddy when you really put your mind to it.

At the circus, the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world enters the ring. The ringmaster announces that anyone who can best him in a weightlifting contest will win a cash prize. Pippi initially demurs since one, she’s already swimming in gold, and two, the strongman seems like such a friendly decent fellow.

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“I must break you. And then call my agent to see if it’s not too late for me to play Thanos.”

Still, Pippi likes a challenge, so she steps up to the occasion much to the proud strongman’s escalating humiliation. Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson slip into the tent disguised as clowns and try to spirit Pippi away during their impromptu act, but it falls flat as Pippi recognizes her “sugarplums” from the other evening and eludes them, all while remaining oblivious to their intentions. Done with their bumbling, Prysillius orders the crooks to chase after the kids, then tracks down Kling and Klang and has them pursue the convicts. I’m of the mind that this was her intention all along; have Thunder-Karlsson and Bloom do the dirty work and then backstab them when it’s done. I wouldn’t put it past her at this point.

So a pair of bumbling cops driving a car where the siren only works if you slam all the doors at once are chasing down two convicts dressed as clowns in a stolen circus truck going after three kids on a horse, one of whom is the strongest girl in the world, as they’re all followed by an enraged obese woman on a bicycle. All it would take is one more random thing thrown into the mix and we’d be a repeat of the mindscrew chase from the Tom and Jerry movie, but alas, it’s not meant to be.

Kling and Klang get distracted by a rare fish jumping from their usual fishing hole and choose to pursue that instead. Tommy and Annika point out the imminent stranger danger to Pippi but she’s all “Cool, a chase sequence! How fun!” and just rolls with it. While climbing on to the hood to grab the kids, Bloom’s foot hits the lever that blasts circus music from the speakers, spooking Horse and causing him to sprint out of harm’s path and all the way home.

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Ah, there’s where I left that thing!

Prysillius crashes her bike into Pippi’s garden and the happy whimsical laughter of the children causes her to finally snap. Blinded by rage and looking like hell she demands Pippi come with her or else. This is supposed to be a terrifying moment, seeing this woman on the verge of a violent breakdown, or at least it would be if it weren’t for Pippi’s show of strength just a few minutes prior – heck, throughout the movie in general. Despite being taken by surprise Pippi is more than capable of handing Prysillius’ ass to her on a platter littered with doubloons, so that removes any suspense from what would otherwise be the high point of the climax.

Before Pippi can even think of delivering that much-deserved smack down, who should enter the scene but Captain Ephraim safe and sound and accompanied by his crew. Pippi is overjoyed while Prysillius is utterly stunned; though she happily takes the credit for ensuring Pippi’s well being while Ephraim was lost at sea. As for Bloom and Thunder-Karlson, they fall victim to one of Pippi’s spink traps, leap into Kling and Klang’s police car to escape, and are conveniently hauled back to jail.

With father and daughter reunited, it’s time for Pippi to return home to the sea. Tommy and Annika turn out to see her off. As she’s boarding, Pippi catches how heartbroken her new friends are on watching her leave for possibly forever, and decides her place is with them in Villa Villekulla after all. Her father allows her to go, says his goodbyes, and the three children begin planning their next adventures.

And that is 1997’s Pippi Longstocking. Does it measure up to my childhood memories of it? Well, I think so, but I acknowledge that I got to grow up with this movie and much of my feelings for it stem from nostalgia. To someone who hasn’t seen it before it’s easy to write off as just your average kids’ movie. Not great, but certainly better than something you’d see slapped together for children by people in suits who clearly don’t know how to make lasting original family entertainment. It’s a fair adaptation of a classic kids’ book with some actual thought and creativity put into it. My only complaints about it are there are a few moments where the budget begins to show if you look carefully, and the aforementioned abandoned attempt at introducing meaningful conflict. If that doesn’t bother you then, well, I can think of worse ways to spend 75 minutes. I like most of the characters, simplistic as they are, and the music, boy howdy! It’s a shame there’s never been an official release for the soundtrack because I can’t reiterate enough how enjoyable the songs are, and the score is fairly good too.

Though not a big hit in theaters, the vhs copies sold well enough that Nelvana produced an animated series which I remember being pretty good. There were some episodes that borrowed quite a bit from the other books which had Pippi taking Tommy, Annika and some of their school friends on trips to the South Seas and the Arctic circle; those I remember being my favorites, as well as the ones which featured Bloom and Thunder-Karlsson getting some actual character development. DVDs of the movie are scarce, and high quality episodes of the show even more so, but if you find it online I recommend giving it at least one watch. Just go into it with a child’s mindset of expecting an uncomplicated romp and you might find yourself having a good time.


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