Saturday, November 26, 2011

Maaginen kristalli / The Magic Crystal [3D]

Den magiska kristallen. FI / BG © 2011 Epidem ZOT / Skyline Animation / Aranéo. P: Mikael Wahlforss, Mark Mertens. D: Antti Haikala. SC: Thomas Wipf, Bob Swain, Dan Wicksman, Nuria Wicksman, Alessandro Liggieri, Kurt Weldon, Antti Haikala, Aki Martikainen - from an idea by Mikael Wahlforss. AN: Anima Vitae - Luca Bruno - Aki Martikainen, Meruan Salim, Antti Ripatti, Teemu Auersalo, Peke Huuhtanen. AD: Antti Haikala. M: Menno van Riet. S: Quentin Collette. ED: Antti Haikala. FINNISH VOICE VERSION: translation: Mari Virtanen; directed by: Antti Haikala; studio: Uptempo; VOICE TALENT: Jukka Nylund (Yotan), Veeti Kallio (Basil), Kiti Kokkonen (Jiffy), Santtu Karvonen (Reindeer), Paula Vesala (Jaga), Henni-Liisa Stam (Didi), Aapo Haikala (Alpo), Jon-Jon Geitel (Smoo), Veikko Honkanen (Santa Claus), Antti Jaakola (Lätty). 76 min. Distributed by Future Film with Swedish subtitles by Janne Staffans. 2D 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 6, Helsinki, 26 Nov 2011.

I saw this 3D movie in 2D.

From the official synopsis: "A new family adventure animation from the makers of Niko, lentäjän poika (The Flight before Christmas)".

"It's almost Christmas, and the magic crystal of Santa Claus has been stolen! With the help of the crystal Santa Claus delivers the presents to children. The crystal needs to be returned to Santa's headquarters at the Korvatunturi fjell, or there will be no Christmas."

"The crystal has been seized by Basil, the evil twin of Santa Claus, who wants to conquer children's minds and spread evil in the world. A special patrol is sent to redeem the crystal. The human boy Yotan joins the Korvatunturi elves in it."

"During the quest Yotan with his friends experiences exciting adventures, solves difficult problems and gets to test his forces with Basil and his henchmen. Yotan also needs to overcome his own fears and weaknesses" (from the official synopsis, the translation is mine).

There are similarities with The Nightmare before Christmas, but the concept of The Magic Crystal is original. There is an anti-Christmas dimension in the story. "The evil Santa" gets more screen space than the good one. The good Santa and his wife are jovial characters, and the bad Santa is a bit like yet another version of a James Bond villain in a children's animation. "Who would be crazy enough to build an ice castle on top of a volcano?" "I am!" One can already guess what will happen later. The explosive climax is my favourite sequence in this movie. There is a question of rhythm and dynamics here: I would expect a Christmas movie to have some relaxed and peaceful sequences besides the anti-Christmas action setpieces. The Finnish voice approach is based on the Särkkä school of dialogue. The colour palette is artificial and antirealistic.

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