This is the second movie based on the lucrative Belgian children's series from the mind of media mogul Gert Verhulst. Never having bothered to watch the TV show, I was surprised by a hilarious preview featuring all the right trailer ingredients. For instance we see the popular Plop shouting towards a backtracking camera: "Grootvadertje, ik kom er aaaaaaaan!", Gary Oldman style (twice). We soon learn why: old grandfather Knap is at deaths door and the only cure grows in Kabouter Plop's neck of the woods. Then we get an equally over the top voice over artist introducing us to three new disgusting characters (with great emphasis on 'disgusting'). At this point I knew I had to see it.
In no time Plop's buddy Klus builds a computer generated balloon so they can reach grandpa before he croaks. During an unscheduled pit stop, they are bothered by the aforementioned dirty kabouters called Snot, Zweet and Spuug or something like that. Mr Trailer guy was not kidding about these guys, they really are completely disgusting. Still, without his mighty voice, it was somehow less funny to me this time. Luckily the regulars soon go up, up and away in the CGI Balloon that must be the most expensive thing ever produced by Studio 100 (but with all their merchandising profits they could certainly afford it). Unfortunately it still looks like something that belongs in a five minute TV show instead of the silver screen.
Basically the whole franchise is a Smurfs rip off. All the kabouters have merely one character trait and their name tells you what it is. Instead of talking Smurfish, they repeat their own names as often as they can (Klusserdeklus, Zweeterdezweet). Plop normally has no personality at all (being the one to identify with), but this time he gets to emote quite a bit, fighting back tears from worrying all the time (but still saying 'Plopperdeplop' constantly). One thing that does differentiate the kabouters from the Smurfs are their double sided caps (like a pair of bloomers on their head with the trousers sewn shut). These things have the annoying habit of 'standing to attention' whenever the wearer is surprised. Unfortunately these guys get startled by everything. We get an erect bloomer overdose, with the accompanying whistle each and every time.
Of course you cannot end a movie like this without including the standard Disney routine of having the most beloved sidekick seem to perish so that every member of the target audience is sobbing until he/she/it opens one eye. In this case it is not exactly our favourite sidekick, but I bet you can guess which character it is anyway. And so all's well that ends well and every one gets a Plopkoek to eat. It did not really live up to the trailer, but then again nothing could have.
5 out of 10
Under ten? Add your age and divide by two to get the correct rating
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