Moomin magic

Rainy Sunday afternoons are made for cinema trips so faced with windows smeared by the sort of Scottish driving rain that invites only madmen into the outdoors, we headed off in the car to see Home.

I find most mass-market kids’ movies to be high-octane affairs jam packed with comic set pieces, knowing adult in-jokes, and an explosion of visuals designed to over stimulate, all served up with a super loud soundtrack of contemporary pop. Oh, and there’s always a comedy dancing moment somewhere.

Home delivered all of the above and more but did so with a lot more warmth and heart than many of its rivals. But what excited me most about this otherwise average movie outing was the trailer for the new Moomins movie. I had no idea this was coming. How did I miss that one?  The Moomins stories possess a charm and otherworldliness that has never been replicated in any other work of children’s fiction to my knowledge. These unique works are pretty special which invites the question of whether a mainstream cinema release can truly capture their eccentricities in their full glory.

The trailer showcased the most beautiful animation, created using a hand-drawn technique, that seems completely faithful to the original drawings, magnifying them to an enhanced beauty that only the big screen can achieve.

But I am nervy that some of the quirks of the Moomin family will have been stripped out to please a mass market audience. Sending them to the Riviera seems like a move to please film funding bodies and cross-cultural audiences (the production is a French-Finnish affair) rather than a welcome plot device. Part of the Moomins’ distinctiveness, you see, is the weird world they inhabit so to take them out of that somehow makes them a bit normal. But of course normal is accessible. Normal equals universal appeal. And universal appeal maximises kerching at the box office.

I’ll still be making sure we see it though. Apart from anything else it provides the perfect opportunity to revisit some of the books and investigate some unread ones.

The UK release of Moomins on the Riviera will be out on 22nd May, so not too long to wait. You can catch the trailer here.

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