Unusual things have been happening in Moominvalley. Moomin, Sniff and Mee leave for the Observatory on the Lonely Mountains to confirm the Muskrat's words: a comet is about to hit Moominvalley and destroy everything. On the way they meet Snufkin, the Hemulen and the Snorks and experience many adventures.
This used to be one of my favourite movies as a kid. It also made me scared of meat-eater-plants, octopuses and falling stars. Especially falling stars...
I may be a little bit biased with this one, but I noticed that there was not a single review for Moomins! I tried not to put too high ratings, but it's so hard. I already feel like I'm giving it lesser score that I actually think it deserves. Sometimes it's hard to be objective...
So where should I begin? Yes, it's a "children's movie", Moomins are targeted for children (which is odd since the original source, Tove Jansson, didn't emphasize
them to kids especially...) but you can see a lot of mature themes and grim moments - I wasn't allowed to watch Moomin's before going to bed when I was a kid. Do I still watch Moomins? Of course! This is a good example of an animation that pleases everyone - at least I've never heard of a person who hated Moomins.
The lore and the world in Moomins fascinate me a lot. This movie is no different, and it serves as an "origin story" to the show and it underlines the tone that the whole show will have - except I remember that the show was a little bit more lighthearted, which can be explained by the plot of this movie; A gigantic star is falling from the sky! You remember when Final Fantasy 7 went grim and melancholic when the star was peeking from the horizon, soon to be crashed on earth? Well same here, except the gripping feeling is through the whole movie "Will they make it in time?".
The story is done well, it really gives you the feeling of a long and exhausting adventure, even though it's a short movie. The setting is build up perfectly for the show to continue where they left off, but the movie stands alone perfectly - just like the show does (so you don't need to watch them both if you don't want to.).
The art style... oh boy. I just love it okay? It's simplistic but detailed where it needs to be? That sounded confusing.
I haven't seen same kind of art anywhere else. I love how the hills, forests and other landscapes look. The colors blend together beautifully and give away a serene and a mystic feel in some way. Sure, the characters may seem a little bit simply done, but I think that's a matter of opinion if it bothers someone or not.
For it's time, it was really pretty and I think it has aged perfectly.
The characters are the weakest point to be honest, but they are still pretty decent.
I've always loved Snufkin (really? that's what you call him in english/japanese?) and he definitely shines in this one once again. I just think he is so cool, travelling all the time and being handy, friendly, few with words and mysterious.
The protag in itself is pretty neutral moomin, someone that the audience can relate to and look up to, since he is also quite brave.
I was often referred to Little My as a kid because of my short temper... Eh, people either love her or hate her.
But the blandest character... Floren. She is bearable in this movie, our heroes save her and her brother and she is pretty neutral, but in the show... She is just so meh. I never really liked her as a kid that much since she was too girly and moody in my opinion.
This movie has it's great, okay and meh characters. All of which succesfully entertain you and makes you feel attached to them. The best character? The muskrat (a philosopher muskrat) who lives under the bridge. His most famous line "Stupid woman - Cleaning doesn't help anything" is a bit of a running joke in finland.
and the music! It's awesome. Do I need to say more? (go google "Sumio Shiratori" soundtrack and listen those sweet tunes) THIS MUSIC SHOULD BE ON SOME VIDEO GAME OH MY GOD IT'S SO GOOD! (I'm sorry I had to.)
but... the voice acting. I really can't bear the voices in japanese. Maybe it's nostalgia, I don't know. Little My sounds really unbearable. I prefer the Finnish voice acting and subtitles. Maybe it won't bother you. It bothered me.
I think that I fell in love with Miyazaki's films because of Moomins. They are in many ways similar. And no wonder; Akira Miyazaki worked in this! He may not be Hayao, but the similar feel this movie and the show has is striking. Moomins are enchanting and enriched my young mind with wonder and adventures. If you love Howl no Ugoku Shiro or Majo no Takkyuubin, I think you should check out moomins.
This is a show/movie I'm going to revisit many times and in a few years I'm going to watch it with my own children.
(I'm sorry if my review is too hyped, I tried to tone it down. Moomins are my weak point and it's terribly hard to stay objective about them! I have notalgia goggles and I admit that.
You can see if I'm only talking and go watch it! It's only 1h and 15min movie! If you get hooked there is always the show too!)
Sharpen your nostalgia goggles and be ready for earworms that won't leave you until the next day's hangover, because this movie literally is every finnish kids childhood, compressed in a less than 70 minutes!
Moomins, or Muumit, like we call them here in Finland, are these little gritter-like creatures - size-wised somewhere around a hedgehog - who live in a not-so-magical and almost-realistic-like world, called the Moomin valley, spending their days mostly just... well, pretty much in a same manner, like I used to spend my summers when I was a kid. Originally created by Tove Janson, Moomins weren't originally ment especially to be mainly
for kid's entertainment, since the original strips contained pretty heavy adult themes, like drinking, life and death, once place in a world, loneliness and fear. The original Moomins even looked pretty creepy, and the characters tended to be way more adult-like, than how I used to know them as a child! But, since Japan showed an interest to turn this dark, mysterious finnish creation into a slice of live- formula-based tv-show for kids, it's only natural, that in a prosess, the movie was also made! And, here it is! Moomins the Movie: the Armageddon!
So, what's the story then? The story begins on a events even earlier than the actual tv-show. Moomin family is settleing down in a peaceful Moomin valley - how it was called, before this little convenient naming, I wonder? - and building up their vairly marketable blue round house, when one stormy night, a shady character under a bridge tells them, that something bad is on it's way, and there's absolutely nothing they should, or could do. After a heavy rain of soot, Moomin trollen, accompanied by couple of his friends, decide to travel all the way to the Lonely Mountains, in a search for a observatory, and on the way, they meet many friends and enemies, like Snuffking, the travelling but world-wise hermit, crystal-obsessed lizards, dangerous bug-eating Angostura-tree, Hemulen, Octopus, and of course, know-it-all Snorken and his sister Snorkfröken, who becomes Moomin trollens immiedate love-interest. Together they learn, that a dangerous Comet is on it's way to the Moomin valley, and it's only about two days time to evacuate, and save whatever there is to save - funny thing is, that the astrologists have absolutely no idea, what will hapen when the comet hits!
The story is indeed exceptional, considering the sourcematerial, but oddly enough, it really actually works to it's favour! It's not overly complex, and it's thus easy to follow, but it gives constantly that odd yet curious vibe about something unknown approaching, not exactly knowing what it is or what'll does, and if the worst possible hapens, what's left after - rebuild, death, or search for a new home? Seeing how this steadily approaching threat from beyond the stars, with no name, personality or motive, simultaneously destroys everything on it's way and causes bot panic, terrors and sadness to those, who're about to loose everything, but also exitement and joy for those, who won't understand the real danger and are just waiting in a amazed awe, is both terrifying and dark, that wouldn't so easily fly in many other franchise, especially aimed for kids. And, since this movie was partly made in Japan, the music is of course a top notch, since every single piece and note fits and plays perfectly in every scene, complimenting the beautiful landscapes and emotions, so that the overused exposition is almost completely left out. This movie doesn't hold any hands, or doesn't try to make something "less frightening" that it should be. It's a story about a world, that's about to end - how much sugar coating there really can even be?!
That all being said, I really can't say, whom I can recommend this to, other than all the fellow finns, and those rare individuals abroad, who know the original Moomins. You don't need to know all the characters, or their stories, since most of the characters are actually met first time in this movie, as their own debute to the viewer. This movie was Finland's seventh most watched movie in it's time, but still, it never saw a light of day in any country outside of Japan and Scandinavia, and sadly, it was never dubbed in english - not in my knowledge, anyway. If you even happen to find it from the ether, I'm pretty sure it's either on finnish, or swedish, and since not so many people actually really understand any of these two languages... yeah, good luck watching this movie, if you're at all interested. My condolences.
Overall, this movie is great. It starts of the whole premise for the tv-series, introducing many of our favourite characters and even some of the actual world and it's wonders and dangers, without being too overwhelming, and even tough it is mostly suitable for kids, even adults can still enjoy watching it with them. If I could, I would translate this whole movie into english subs, since I know Finland is gaining popularity on abroad, as a relatively interesting country and culture, but because I myself don't own this movie in DVD... yeah, I'm not that smart!
Enjoy this movie, those of you who can, and keep the spirit of Moomins burning bright! And that theme music... omg what a earworm that is!