Friday, December 28, 2012

Ella ja kaverit / Ella and Friends

Ella och hennes vänner. FI © 2012 Journalist Films. © 2012 Snapper Films. EX: Joseph Scarpinito. P: Juha Wuolijoki. D: Taneli Mustonen. SC: Aleksi Hyvärinen and Timo Parvela - based on the novel Ella ja Äf Yksi (2008) by Timo Parvela. DP: Daniel Lindholm. AD: Sarah Bowen-Walsh. Cost: Henna Saarivuori. Makeup: Saara Räisänen. Song: "Pop Goes My Heart" pres. Isaac Elliot. S design: Kimmo Perkkiö. S mixing: Dan Brennan, Soundtrack NY. ED: Aleksi Raij. C: Freja Teijonsalo (Ella), Artturi Auvinen (Tuukka), Emilia Paasonen (Hanna), Aki Laiho (Samppa), Aura Mikkonen (Tiina), Eetu Julin (Pukari), Jyry Kortelainen (Pate), Eero Milonoff (teacher), Armi Toivanen (headmaster, Pate's mother), Oliver Kivi (Äf Yksi = F1), Kari Ketonen (Isä Yksi = Father 1), Eerika Patrakka (Anna Yksi = Anna 1), Ville Myllyrinne (headmaster of the new school), Pamela Tola (the aunt at the office), Ville Virtanen (the uncle at the office), Tiina Weckström (police sergeant). 81 min. Released by Snapper Films with Swedish subtitles by Saliven Gustavsson. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 9, Helsinki, 28 Dec 2012 (day of premiere).

The F1 in the title of the novel on which the movie is based means Formula 1.

Ella and Friends is a hugely popular children's book phenomenon in Finland. There have been 17 Ella novels by Timo Parvela since 1995, plus Ella friend books, compilation volumes, and sound books. This is the first film based on the book series.

Official synopsis: "I am Ella and I am on the second grade. We have a nice class and a nice teacher. Except that we haven't seen the teacher lately because our old school has been closed down and we have been transferred into a new school". (My translation)

Freja Teijonsalo as Ella and the other young performers of her schoolmates and friends are good, and there is a fine, sunny sense of humour in the movie. The Ricky Rapper movies are phenomenally successful, but I prefer the more sober approach in this movie, including the more human performances by the grown-up actors. The story focuses on the children's project to save the old school, and the decisive battle is conducted on a "Formula 1 track". Ella and her friends are woefully incompetent as adversaries, yet they are finally saved thanks to the mysteerimöykky [mystery blob]. A nice feature is the "spoiled scenes" montage during the end credits.

The visual quality, too is more pleasant than in the Ricky Rapper films: no garish colour schemes here.

No comments: