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Kapitein Rob en het Geheim van Professor Lupardi (2007)

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Kapitein Rob is minding his cousins Stijn & Sandra when he is called away on a secret mission. His arch enemy Professor Lupardi has developed a weather machine and is threatening not only ... See full summary »



(comic "De Avonturen van Kapitein Rob"), , 1 more credit »
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Title: Kapitein Rob en het Geheim van Professor Lupardi (2007)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Thijs Römer ...
Kapitein Rob (as Thijs Römer-Schuurman)
Paula (as Katja Römer-Schuurman)
Arjan Ederveen ...
Professor Lupardi
Alex Klaasen ...
Jack Wouterse ...
Cigaret Larry
Ricky Koole ...
Hans Kesting ...
Chef Commando's
Marcel Roelfsma ...
Chef Bewaking (as Marcel Roelfsema)
Stijn Westenend ...
Mike Reus ...
Kenneth Herdigein ...
Commando 1
Richard Kemper ...
Jennifer Hoffman ...
Emilie Pos ...


Kapitein Rob is minding his cousins Stijn & Sandra when he is called away on a secret mission. His arch enemy Professor Lupardi has developed a weather machine and is threatening not only to destroy the Dutch houses of parliament, but the Elfstedentocht as well. Written by Il Tesoro

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29 November 2007 (Netherlands)  »

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€1,400,000 (estimated)

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Uneven adventure, even for children
4 June 2009 | by (Rijswijk, ZH, Netherlands) – See all my reviews

During the last decade or so, there has been cinematic a boom in Dutch children's entertainment. Some of the most successful have proved to be film versions of classic children's literature such as Kruimeltje and Pietje Bel. But when Shooting Star Filmcompany decided to bring newspaper strip hero Kapitein Rob to the big screen, he struck out big time despite proclaiming the good captain to be 'The Netherlands greatest hero' and giving him an enormous and unsightly belt buckle with 'KR' on it to wear.

Created by artist Pieter Kuhn and written by Evert Werkman, sea captain Rob of the sailer 'De Vrijheid' had 73 different adventures in newspaper Het Parool between 1945 and 1966. What started off as maritime and historically correct adventures soon ventured into sci-fi territory once Rob met his main adversary, Professor Lupardi. While the comic is still regarded a classic in the Netherlands, it is not something that each new generation is brought up with the way they are with Rob's contemporary 'Tom Poes' or the ever popular 'Suske & Wiske'. In other words, there wasn't exactly a build in audience waiting to see Kapitein Rob - the Motion Picture.

Therefore screenwriters Hans Pos (who also directed) and Simon de Waal decided to update the character for the new millennium to a certain degree. A lot of the characters still dress like it's the forties, but use modern day cellphones and laptops (shades of Tim Burton's Batman and it's animated series, only far less shadowy and murky). As the good captain (who doesn't seem to have a surname), Thijs Römer looks less mature and world weary than the comic book original. This is presumably because he's doesn't smoke a pipe. On the other hand, while the original Rob was clean shaved, this one has scruffy stubble even when attending a party or entering a casino (perhaps to make Thijs look a tad older).

Although we see Rob working on his sailboat, he never actually sets sail (which was a good thing for Römer who is afraid of water). Instead he keeps getting calls on his Dick Tracy wristwatch from an unnamed secret agency he works for. His boss, 'The General' is played by Jack Wouterse, of course (it seems you can't make a Dutch film without casting him) even though he looks more like an Admiral (which would be more appropriate for Rob). Rob only seems to be called into action when Professor Lupardi (Arjan Ederveen, who is to children's films what Wouterse is to the Dutch film business) and his fortune cookie obsessed assistant Yoto (Alex Klaasen) are up to no good.

Unfortunately Hans Pos never seems to know what kind of film he is trying to make and the inconsistent script doesn't clear things up either. This is evident from the first 15 minutes (which the official site provides a link to watch online that has long since expired). Rob starts off in James Bond mode, rescuing a blond damsel in distress from a time bomb trap laid by Lusardi. After spending some time painting the first letter 'd' in 'De Vrijheid' (which seems a bit useless when the entire name is already on the boat) Rob attends a party held by a blond lady whom we assume to be the one he saved, only it isn't for she has two children and a fiancée. The children, Stijn & Sandra make it clear that they prefer Rob over their mother's new beau, but just when you're certain that Rob will get rid of this male rival before the film is through, it is revealed that the woman in question, Marga (played by Ricky Koole) is Rob's sister. Her annoying boyfriend is never seen again for the rest of the film and of course neither is the damsel from the opening scene. Instead, a new love interest is introduced later on in the form of weather girl Paula (Katja Schuurman, Thijs Römer's real life Mrs.) and yes, you guessed it, the two young children become an essential part of the proceedings.

From there on the film keep switching back and forth between a children's film and a would-be James Bond adventure. A scene in which Rob is having a pancake eating contest with his two cousins is followed by a dull casino sequence in which Rob confronts another character from the comic books: Cigaret Larry (Hans Dagelet, looking rather like René Belloq from Raiders of the Lost Ark). Other famous faces pop up for one scene, than disappear again. Amongst these are very old and puffy looking Joost Prinsen as a police inspector, Kenneth Herdigein in a one line role as a Commando and real life minister of finances Wouter Bos as the Dutch Prime-Minister (political favoritism in a children's movie, what has the world come to?).

The plot resolves around Lusardi needing gold and a so-called 'Ultra-Crystal' to power his weather machine because he wants to trick the Dutch people into believing there will be another Elfstedentocht (a traditional ice scatting marathon which it hasn't been held since 1997). And while most of the supporting actors are allowed to go completely OTT (Lusardi and Yoto are never anything but caricatures and fail to be an actual threat) Thijs Römer plays Rob with all the intensity of a wooden plank. Of course the fact that he insisted on adding his wife's maiden name to his own and being credited as Thijs Römer-Schuurman doesn't help either. It may endear him to feminists, but deprives him of some of the essential manliness needed for the part.

As a final nail in the coffin, this picture had it's television premiere less than two years after it's theatrical release at 9 AM on the Belgian children's channel Ketnet (and even then it was postponed for half an hour because they decided to add some unannounced 'toons into their television schedule).

6 out of 10

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