Monday, 2 December 2019
Moomins and the Winter Wonderland (animation)
"The valley was enveloped in a kind of grey twilight. It also wasn't green any longer, it was white. Everything that had once moved had become immobile. There were no living sounds. Everything angular was now rounded.
"This is snow," Moomintroll whispered to himself. "I've heard about it from Mother, and it's called snow." (Tove Jansson, Moominland Midwinter)
I loved Moomins as a child, and they still hold a very special place in my heart. I first encountered them as a 7-year-old, and have been reading and rereading this wonderful series since then, finding new wisdom and joy.
Philip Pullman once described Moomins as "they seem to grow in wisdom and delight every time I read them".
I was excited to read that Signature Entertainment presents a new feature reworking of the 1980s animation - Moomins & The Winter Wonderland (available from 2 December on Digital HD).
If you're familiar with lovable Moomins, you probably know, that in winter they are sleeping deeply. They go to hibernate in their cozy beds in November to wake up in April, as the nature awakes with them.
As snow covers the Moomin valley, the streak of moonlight wakes up Moomintroll.
He is curious to discover what awaits him outside, while his family is in deep slumber. There is nothing to eat and no one to talk to at home, so off he wanders into his first snowdrift.
At first he feels like an outsider in this cold new world, but he meets creatures of the forest and makes new friends including Too-ticky who lives in their summer bathing house, Hemulen who loves outdoors, and even his own ancestor.
And when Little My, full of mischief as always, is woken up by a squirrel, she discovers that Christmas is coming. She's astonished: Presents? Guests? I'd better wake them up for Christmas.
The Moomin family is rudely awoken, to get ready for the mysterious guest, decorate the tree and cook delicious food. Not knowing who or what Christmas is, they are rather alarmed.
As they work together, decorating the Christmas tree, cooking a feast and cleaning the house, they discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Children will be enchanted by this lovely story, while grown-ups might chuckle at wise sayings like "Family is family, you don't get to choose it", or "Relatives have a tendency to stay longer than you want them to..."
The animation features the voices of Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and father-and-son duo Stellan Skarsgård (Mamma Mia) and Bill Skarsgård.
The animation has a nostalgic, almost vintage feel about it. The characters are made of different fabrics and materials. Their mouths do not move, when they talk.
In some way, it reminded me of the original Snowman animation, as it has a similar old-style pace and a kind message. It's not an action film, not much is really happening.
It is a sweet, charming magical story to warm the cockles of your heart.