Mio in The Land of Faraway (film, 2007)

I cried when I read the book Mio, Min Mio. I was really pissed on red wine, okay? It was about three months after watching the film, even though I started the book some time before I watched it. My Swedish was even worse than it is now, and it took me… a while.  For some reason, I always end up with the Swedish-connected stuff. Hmm. From SFX155.



1987/PG/95 mins

Directed by: Vladimir Grammatikov

Written by: William Aldridge, Andrei Ivanov, based on the book by Astrid Lindgren

Starring: Nick Pickard, Christian Bale, Christopher Lee, Susanah York

Europudding fun in the lands of never-never.

This charming tale was written by prolific Swedish author Astrid (Pippi Longstocking) Lindgren. It’s stock stuff – young orphan boy discovers he is the prince of a magical kingdom – but Lindgren does it brilliantly; as a writer, she understood children perfectly. This was written in a more innocent age, when it was okay to acknowledge boys like swords, and not pretend that they want to play with dolls, and when it was a necessity to have a good buddy to share adventures with; a far cry from today’s slap-me-bitch up, Grand Theft Auto generation of hoody-sporting couch potatoes.

And that’s the thing. The book has aged well, because the special effects provided by imagination do not date. No matter the verve of this adaptation, whether the youth of today will be spellbound by the cinematic stuffed birds of yesteryear is another matter. Even for nostalgia junkies, the presentation of the film leaves something to be desired. Aside from the Perestroika-era Swedish/Norwegian/Soviet/ British cast whose lips can’t be trusted to sync with the dialogue, the film’s obviously trimmed from a 16:4 to 4:3 ratio, and it’s crackly.

Still, it’s a moving play, and there is Cold War history to be read between the lines of the credits.

Did you know?

This film is awash with talent – there are turns by Christopher Lee and a 13-year-old Christian Bale, and the main theme is by Benny and Bjorn from ABBA.

Four stars


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