Judge Daryl Loomis is disturbed by all the exclamation points in his recent review titles.
Bring back my toys!
On a midsummer's night in Sweden, when the sun only sets halfway, young Camilla sleeps while her big brother Jens plays in his tree house with his pet goat. Quietly, while neither is there and for no apparent reason, a weird animated hobo named Dunderklumpen sneaks into their house. In the girl's room, he sees her toys and thinks what good playmates they must make. Using his hobo magic, he breathes life into a teddy bear, a lion, a doll, and the cat-in-the-hat. While they're happy to be alive, they aren't exactly thrilled to leave with Dunderklumpen, so he tricks them with cake to get them into his hobo sack and steals away of a raft that looks like the bottom half of a powdered Gatorade container. As Dunderklumpen pushes out toward his island home, Jens hears his toys' cries for help from his tree house. Goat in tow, Jens takes a boat to the island on a quest to save his and his sisters' toys.
Plot summary doesn't begin to describe this weird Swedish kids' move, a mixture of animation and live-action, but it certainly lives up to its billing on MVD 's Cheesy Flicks label. Dunderklumpen! doesn't pretend to any message or take any moral high ground, but there are odd Socialist undercurrents to the story. The villain, One-Eye, rides around on his bicycle printing money off a press attached to his back fender. Dunderklumpen, after the toynapping, is traveling back to his home through the woods when One-Eye spots a treasure chest that the hobo has stolen along with the toys. He wants that chest badly, so starts throwing handfuls of money down at them. Since he can always make more, One-Eye can afford to give some away. Dunderklumpen, who disavows money normally, flips out when he sees all that cash and forces the toys to stuff it in the bag and in their pants. All the while, One-Eye sneaks around and steals the chest. For much of the rest of the film, while Jens is searching for his toys, the toys search for One-Eye to get the chest back. When they find out the contents of the chest, however, they learn a valuable lesson in friendship and community ownership.
Dunderklumpen! is strictly for kids; there is little here, outside of some '70s cheesiness, that will appeal to adults. Kids are going to enjoy the songs, with music written by the legendary Toots Thielmans, and the light-hearted animations. Parents might cringe at Dunderklumpen's persuasion of the girl doll into his sack, but it may well go over kids' heads.
MVD has given the film an awful English dub track. I would ordinarily object to its inclusion, but kids can't be expected to listen to Swedish, read English, and still enjoy the movie. Both options would have been nice, but this is a bare bones release of an extremely obsure piece of material. The image is presented full frame and is a decent transfer. The colors in the animations are bright, but the live action print is exactly the opposite. The mono sound is clear, and there are no extras.
Dunderklumpen!, released on MVD's Cheesy Flicks label, is an insane relic from 1970s Sweden and is fun to watch. Kids should eat it up, and this is what's important for this kind of film.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
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