A peaceful summer day in the Moomin Valley is interrupted by a volcanic eruption. At the last minute the Moomin family finds refuge in a strange house. It turns out it's not an ordinary ...
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A peaceful summer day in the Moomin Valley is interrupted by a volcanic eruption. At the last minute the Moomin family finds refuge in a strange house. It turns out it's not an ordinary house but a theatre stage where the Moomin Family begins to write a play.Written by
American Film Market
"Moomin and Midsummer Madness," adapted from the stories of award winning author and renown Finnish artist Tove Jansson, follows the Moomin family, their friends and their neighbors, as they survive an unexpected volcanic flood in Moominvalley. The Moomins, trolls who resemble fuzzy hippos, are a rather eccentric and unconventional bunch. Not knowing anything about dramatic arts, they find that a floating stage makes an ideal place to live. Even their friends, like the miniature, chaotic Little My, the old wanderer Snufkin, and lonely Mrs. Fillyjonk, all have admirable quirks and create unique moments of their own throughout the story.
Having just read "Moominsummer Madness," the book on which the movie is based, this adaptation appears to follow Jansson's story very well. Every scene has been optimized well. Even without reading the original book beforehand, this movie felt true to Jansson's typical style of characterization and storytelling. As most Moomin adventures do, they prefer to portray human emotions instead of objective morality. The story presents an anti-establishment message through heart, drama, comedy, and a collection of adorable, abstract and allegorical creatures. It shows that, in the face of danger or in safety, there is no one strict way of going about your life, as long as you can reach your goal.
This movie was originally produced for TV in 1977, by Polish studio Se-Ma-For, as a 7-minute-per serial. You can tell it was done on a modest budget, from its lack of lipsync and somewhat choppy animation, but the animators and designers work around it well. These classic pieces of stop-motion animation, and their accompanying musical score, have been nicely remastered, and strung together to create a longer yet coherent narrative. Crisp, clear, vibrant picture quality makes the stylized models and backgrounds pop out with timeless appeal, just as Tove Jansson's characters and stories naturally are. The only scene where the quality starts to dip is the scene in which Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden meet Mrs. Fillyjonk; the picture turns a bit reddish, as film tends to do over time, but otherwise it all looks great. The music, remixed into faux-stereo, might be a little dated itself (listen to that funky guitar when Moomintroll dives into the kitchen!) but is still a joy to listen to, and sets the mood well for each scene. Additional sound effects have been added where there weren't any in the original Polish version, and do a great job in livening up certain scenes. The English dub was produced in Canada, and therefore the characters bear a North American accent. The original Polish animation was narrated entirely by one man, whereas this movie features a full cast. They're all fine voice actors, even if they get a little hammy at times. The only one I can't personally stand is Snorkmaiden's, whose shrill, whiny voice makes Minnie Mouse sound pleasant by comparison.
If you're unfamiliar with the Moomins now and would prefer to see a movie as opposed to reading a book, this movie is a fine place to begin. It's filled with the same inquisitive, heartfelt and understandable charm that has made the characters so beloved, particularly in Scandinavian and Asian countries, for over 70 years. As long as you don't mind the mellow animation, this is recommended viewing for any family.
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