Reviews of Bamse and the Thief City (2014) and related work

Bamse and the Thief City (2014Moving picture, 66 minutes)

Seen in 2022.

moving picture animation fiction

Bamse and the Witch’s Daughter (2016Moving picture, 65 minutes)

Seen in 2017.

Krösus Sork’s henchmen find a huge lump of apparently pure gold at the bottom of a single-layer wooden dam above the village. The mill by this dam does not seem to exploit the pressure differential, nor is there any evident mechanism for adjusting the water level or regulating the flow, making it unclear why the dam should exist. Rather than quietly dive again, Sork plans to demolish the entire dam, threatening to destroy the village.

There are a few shots with multi-plane parallax effects comparable to those in Bambi (1942), and here the plant life is more attractively stylized, but of course that is no longer a technical feat, not requiring a giant rig of glass plates. The character design and animation are not so impressive, the Swedish acting is bland and the plot is dumb, contemptuous of the target audience: very young children.

moving picture sequel animation fiction

Bamse and the Thunderbell (2018Moving picture, 65 minutes)

Seen in 2020.

A pastiche of Treasure Island (1881) adaptations, thankfully free of stereotypical pirates but coloured by the contemporary cycle of superhero movies. The most eye-catching failure of this production is that major fires happen three times and are weirdly harmless to all the characters, which is not the case in Thief City, where fire—in the Wolf’s kitschy backstory—is dangerous. Bamse has a heavy pedagogical intent, but in this film, that intent is limited to classist moral dualism (as in Thief City, the villains are poor wolves and foxes, not the rich Krösus Sork of Witch’s Daughter), excluding the danger of literally playing with fire.

References here: The forces of ratings inflation.

moving picture sequel animation fiction