Thirteen year-old Nils Holgersson is bored dwelling on a farm with his parents. Instead of helping on the farm, he prefers to play pranks and tease animals. He wants to spend more time with...
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Thirteen year-old Nils Holgersson is bored dwelling on a farm with his parents. Instead of helping on the farm, he prefers to play pranks and tease animals. He wants to spend more time with a beautiful girl - Asa. One day life is unexpectedly changed Nils... Boy meets elf, who makes Nils shrinks to its size. What's more, Nils begins to understand animals and communicate with them. Gasior Bataki Martin and Raven became his friends. When Martin flies to Lapland with a group of geese, led by the wise Acre, Nils willingly joins them. Aka is confident that it can help Nils become a better person, and thus regain its normal growth. Meanwhile, Asa also travels to Lapland to find Nils. Written by
Good story, but ultimately too long for its own good plus weaknesses in acting
"Nils Holgerssons wunderbare Reise" is a German movie from 2011, so this one had its 5th anniversary last year. Actually it is two movies in one as it consists of two episodes of slightly under 2 hours, so if you want to see the entire thing you will spend almost four hours. It aired back in 2011 during the Christmas holidays and was also shown as a four-part mini series later on with each episode running for slightly under an hour. The director here is Dirk Regel and the script is by no less than 4 people. The cast includes names that German film buffs will immediately recognize, even if most of them 8with the exception of Hanns Zischler are just voice acting in here. This includes Katja Riemann (who is surprisingly bearable when we don't see her physically going over the top, comedians Bastain Pastewka and Ralf Schmitz, Yvonne Catterfeld, Kurt Krömer (plays the same character as always, pretty unbearable) and Ben Becker (son of Otto Sander). Also on board is Hinnerk Schönemann who I like quite a bit. sadly, he does not really have the material to shine. This film is of course based on the original work by Selma Lagerlöf. It is the story of a young boy who struggles with life and creatures in general. While being tormented by his peers, he lets out his anger at animals mostly. When he runs into a kobold, he ends up making him angry and the consequence is that the kobold turns Nils into a miniature version of himself and this is what he almost spends the entire film in.
As his smaller self, he cannot only understand the animals language, but also realizes what he has done to them. But most of them are forgiving and Nils even makes close friends with a farm goose (voiced by Pastewka) who wants to be just like the wild geese and fly around the world. Romance is also a major story line in here as not just the geese fall in love, but there is also a subplot involving Nils and a local girl (played by the stunning Pauline Rénevier), but sadly this one really never gains steam and it is just because there has to be a romance plot in kids films nowadays, at least here in Germany apparently. This is one of the weaknesses of this duology. Another would be that the script simply isn't convincing enough in my opinion for a film with this runtime. Maybe one two-hour movie with better focus would have been enough. On an entirely subjective note, I also did not like lead actor Justus Kammerer very much and I cannot say that i am too sad that this apparently was almost the final project of his acting career and he seems to be leading a "normal" life right now. It is a bit of a shame all in all as I believe the story here is really a good one and visually the film is also a success. But there were problems in terms of (voice) acting, focus and structure that ultimately turn this film into a disappointment and keep it far far away from making the emotional impact it tries to make. I give it a thumbs-down and don't recommend checking it out.
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