This is one for fans of Calvin and Hobbes or Studio Ghibli, and if you found Where the Wild Things Are‘s sweet melancholy too much to resist, then there’s a good sprinkling of that feeling to be found here too.
The Moomins were the creation of Finnish novelist and comic strip author Tove Jansson and, according to legend, she drew the first one to scare her brother. That cute thing? Scary? Maybe it was one of the Moominland monsters she drew, such as The Groke, the Antlion or the Hattifatteners? As a child I devoured the Moomin books and sat rapt, five days a week, watching the Moomin stop-motion TV series. A more recent series produced by hand-drawn animation was less successful artistically, but perhaps better known internationally.
This year the Finnish animation studio Filmkmompaniet completed their first Moomin feature film, Moomin and Midsummer Madness. It was made by taking footage from the original Polish-Austrian TV series, reformatting, rescripting and revoicing it. Whereas the Moomins never spoke on TV and the story was told by a narrator, they now have dialogue and much of it apparently taken straight from Jansson. Unfortunately, the English voices on the official site’s trailer leave a lot to be desired.
Next year, the second of Filmkompaniet’s Moomin films will launch. Excitingly, Moomin and the Comet Chase will maintain the distinctive look of the original stop-motion but be produced in and exhibited in 3D. Today we learn that Bjork will be contributing a song to the soundtrack, which I’d have to admit seems pretty bang-on appropriate.
There’s a series of images from The Comet Chase after the break.
The Filmkompaniet site mentions that a 78-part TV series of Moomin tales is now in production in HD. The truth, it seems, is that this will be the original series remastered and possibly, though not definitely, revoiced as per the Midsummer Madness movie. I hope the revoicing is sensitively done because I never managed to get the Moomin series on DVD before it went out of print and often kicked myself.
My favourite version of the Moomin adventures so far would be the original books, being somewhat less episodic than the five minute installments shown on TV, though having found recently the Moomin comic strips, I’m head over heels with those at the moment. There are apparently some unabridged audio books with Hugh Laurie reading, and those I simply have to track down.
The following images from the upcoming Comet Chase, come from the official Moomin Facebook page. The film is being directed Maria Lindberg, as was Midsummer Madness. We don’t have Bjork’s The Comet Song to listen to yet, though I think she’s already recorded a good few Moominy tunes, don’t you? I think Wanderlust would be a good example.
There was also a cel-animated version of the same story, from the producers of the later TV series and released cinematically in Japan. Alongside both the novel and comic strip versions, I think that makes this easily the most retold Moomin adventure. Thankfully, it’s also one of the best.Cool Posts From Around the Web: