After using his mother's newly built time machine, Dolf gets stuck involuntary in the year 1212. He ends up in a children's crusade where he confronts his new friends with modern techniques... See full summary »
A ripping adventure yarn about teenage boys who join the crew of a ship of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. After a dramatic shipwreck and escape from an attack by natives, they must make their way to safety by themselves.
Steven de Jong
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Frensch de Groot,
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Yannick van de Velde,
Wendy van Dijk
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After using his mother's newly built time machine, Dolf gets stuck involuntary in the year 1212. He ends up in a children's crusade where he confronts his new friends with modern techniques. The crusade however turns out to be even trickier than first imagined.. Written by
Good for children 8 - 14, but if you read and loved the book: DON'T WATCH IT!
I waited for ages to watch this film, because as a lover of the book (which is highly recommendable for both older children and adults, in Dutch or in translation)I was afraid to be disappointed - and I was.
The director (who made some very qualitative other movies) was aiming at a younger audience than the mid teens that the book was meant for, andfor that group, he did a good job. It's an adventure film which is at the same time quite historically accurate and informative for that age group.
For me and my contemporaries who read the book in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and who think back to it with great love, the film is an abasement.
Many plot lines were changed. Some choices are understandable: women get a bigger role than they did in the book for example, technology has changed, and some parts of the story had to be left out so that the film wouldn't be too long. Some choices are less understandable, but probably sounded good when they were argued for by the scriptwriter: the main protagonist Dolf's personality has been changed substantially, many characters have been written out, new plots have been introduced. None of it works. The plot is incoherent, very unbelievable and lacks suspense.
The acting is poor.
The costumes are completely unbelievable because they are just too clean and new. The locations are also too clean. But mostly, the props annoyed me, especially the medieval paper and books - somebody learned how to make paper by hand and then reckoned that was enough to make it look medieval.
But the thing that irritated me most was the fact that the two hundred odd extras playing the children in the crusade look like happy, well-fed, healthy children in a high budget school play rather than the ill, starving, dirty, wild, desperate children that Thea Beckman portrayed so powerfully in her book.
I'm not saying they should have starved the child actors, obviously that's impossible. Nor am I saying they should have stuck to all the original twists and turns in Thea Beckman's plot, that would also have been impossible. You see, making this book into a film... is impossible.
There were a lot of bad choices made when making this film. The casting director, costume director, scriptwriter, and of course the director himself all made some bad choices. Would other choices have made for a better film? Maybe. Would they have made for a good film? No. In the end, the only important bad choice for this film was the very first one: the choice to make it.
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