Kenny Starfighter is a useless and airheaded would-be space hero, having trouble fixing his grades at the Space Hero Academy on the planet Mylta (Swedish for "cloudberry jam"). He is obsessed with becoming a space hero - alas, he does not want to become a barber, the proud occupation of all of his equally dim family members - but he hasn't got the faintest idea of what a black hole is, and when he sees a celebrity on TV he acknowledges this as a typical case of "deja vu". His only chance of becoming a space hero of the lowest degree is to catch enough speed criminals. He'll get fifty points for one ticket, and it takes 1000 to get a degree. He's already having problems doing the math, and when he attempts to catch his first Winnebago speed criminal (see Spaceballs) he can only appreciate it through his dashboard exclaiming "Really fast!" As luck has it though, he crashes through one of those pesky black holes and ends up on the planet Earth, where he gets his big chance catching a big space criminal, a big-headed, wheelchair-bound "brainiac" if you will, with the properly Swinglish name 'Rutger Oversmart'.
This may seem like a lot of exposition to give away in English for a movie that few people outside of Sweden will even see - but paradoxically, I think anyone not Swedish might appreciate this movie more, since I can only imagine it being wonderfully bizarre for anyone not familiar with cultural in-jokes or the Swedish language, which reveals some horrid acting for those that master it. Furthermore, Kenny Begins is a prequel to a popular mini series called Kenny Starfighter that aired in Sweden in 1997 and became hugely successful. It had a similar plot and it introduced Kenny Starfighter, played with utter brilliance by Johan Rheborg, a character that became enough of a phenomenon to launch quite the hype in Sweden for this first movie, with quite a budget to boot, with some of the most expensive special effects ever devoted to any Swedish film.
As for the movie, it really does fail where the series won me over. The writing is drastically thinner with a more contrived sound to much of the dialog, and the actors aren't really convincing anyone either. There are two kids in the movie, played by Bill Skarsgård and Carla Abrahamsen. There were four kids in the series and they were all goofy and charismatic, if not totally realistic. These two aren't really acting, more talking very statically as if they are obsessed with "acting". As the plot of the movie progress, it turns out we are meant to care for these characters more than we do for Kenny. Kenny becomes like both the star and comic relief, whereas these two kids become the "human element" of the story.
This is a sloppy miscalculation, but the rest of the movie isn't really that well thought up either. It all stands and falls on Rheborg's valiant Kenny Starfighter, and if you enjoyed the series you will enjoy the movie. Not as much, because it's actually a pretty bad movie in every sense, but this is a rare case where that doesn't really prevent a recommendation. There's a scene where the heroes can see mayhem flying about outside the window and one of the school teachers fly up against the glass. Kenny points and exclaims "Oh look, an old lady!" Final point: If you don't think that's funny, you don't have to see the movie.
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