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(Review originally written at 30 July 2005)

"Pluk van de petteflet" is based on the famous Dutch children book with the same name written by Annie M.G. Schmidt, who was and probably still is the most popular children book writer in The Netherlands, of all time. A sort of the Dutch Roald Dahl you may say. I don't think there is a person in The Netherlands who didn't grew up with at least one of her famous children books. Her books are also often read by parents and by teachers at schools for the the children. "Pluk van de petteflet" is one of her best known books she has written. The book consists out of several small adventures all led by the main character, the young boy Pluk and is filled with some crazy imaginative, enjoyable characters. How on Earth is it possible to put all those crazy characters and adventures in a movie that is only 94 minutes long you might ask. Well it isn't possible, they tried but they failed. They tried to put way too many elements of the book in the movie and introduced way too many character that obviously serve a purpose in the book but in the movie only feel pointless and unneeded. All the things that are happening in the movie have the feeling that they have nothing to do with each other, this is also due to a very bad pace. Both the story and the characters feel very incoherent and the best parts of the book are wasted in this movie.

If you have read the book you will recognize a lot of elements and characters in the movie but when you're not familiar with the book this movie will just look odd and very very bad to you. I mean lets face it, the story is very odd, I mean the main character is a little boy who apparently already has a drivers license and drives around in a small red break-down lorry and is looking for a place to live, without his parents or form of income. And then there are these crazy and odd looking over-the-top characters and a weird "Sesame Street" visual looking sets, costumes and use of puppets. No, if you haven't read the book this movie is simply already forbidden territory for you because chances are you'll probably won't enjoy a bit of it because it just in your eyes is way too odd all. This movie is only watchable for people who are familiar with the book.

Will children enjoy this movie? Most likely not, the movie isn't very much fun to watch and could had used some more humor. Also the whole part with the Heen- en Weerwolf is way too scary for the young ones, he even freaked me out a little. Will adults like this movie? Well, they'll like this movie better than kids anyway. Adults should be able to appreciate the adult actors. The cast is filled with some well known Dutch names and it's pretty obvious on the screen that the adult actors all had lots of fun with each other and the crazy characters they were portraying. The children cast however is just plain bad. It's obvious that they casted kids who looked like the characters of the book instead of casting them for their acting abilities.

It isn't really the directors or writer's fault that this movie didn't worked out. It simply is just impossible to capture any of the book its magic and the fantastic book illustrations from Fiep Westendorp. I think that they really did their best and the sets and use of puppets was probably the only right move, to try and create the same atmosphere of the book but it simply didn't worked out as a whole. Seriously, if I were in charge I would had probably done it the same way. There simply is no other better way they could had tried in my opinion.

A nice but terribly failed attempt. Only just a tiny bit enjoyable when you're familiar with the book, if you aren't, just simply stay away from this movie. You're way better of reading the book or listening to the radio-version of the book that probably still is available on cassette decks or CD.

3/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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