The better kids’ flicks never fly very far from the realms of the bizarre and surreal. Neither do they usually mire their tales in politically correct ambivalence. And so it is in the case of this upbeat and shamelessly cute tweens’ dramedy from Norway (which must surely earn a gong for best title of the year). Long-haired, lanky Doctor Proctor, an old-fashioned nutty professor, has inadvertently created a powder that induces fabulous but thankfully odourless blue-gas flatulence in all who consume it – the introductory poem, featuring a cat that licks up some of the stuff, will have youngsters squealing in delight. The magic powder falls into the hands of Lise and Bulle (played with effortless charm by Emily Glaister and Eilif Hellum Noraker), two misfit children who will use it to counter the malevolence of the dictator who rules the land – a cartoon combo of Mussolini and Hitler – and his twin sons, bullying brutes out of the Tweedledee and Tweedledum mould. There is also a really scary subterranean anaconda to deal with in a screenplay based on a story by, of all people, the Scandi-noir crime master Jo Nesbo (a fan of the book mercilessly trashed the screen adaptation on IMDb – check it out if you enjoy a no-holds-barred bucketing).
Stylistically, director Arild Fröhlich’s film most closely resembles The Grand Budapest Hotel for its rollicking pace and candy-coloured, rigidly composed visuals – the protagonists are rarely out of centre frame in a perfectly symmetrical picture. Ginge Anvik’s music perfectly complements every scene without boisterously taking over the show and, best of all for young viewers who might not have the patience to stick with 85 minutes of subtitles, the adventure is seamlessly dubbed into English. There is a little bit of subtle social commentary along the way as well as enlightening shots of Oslo and its surrounds, but what the movie is first and foremost is a lot of fun. And let’s face it – who doesn’t like a good fart joke?