The Moomins have always been outsiders, self-sustaining, eccentric creatures – and their peculiar way of living has never been so exposed, when they find themselves on the Riviera, where wealth and overt extravagance prevails. But for Moominmamma (Tracy Ann Oberman), Moominpappa (Nathaniel Parker) and their son, Moomin (Russell Tovey) they must stick together and not lose sight of their own values and idiosyncrasies that make them such a unique specie.
Though being an odd, unusual creation, this narrative is simplified, and enriched by being a story of the outsider. The Moomins have very distinctive traits and when they arrive on the Riviera that becomes a glaring obstacle for them, and in a similar vein to the likes Paddington or the recent Dreamworks’ animation Home, it’s that sense of being different and yet maintaining, and feeling proud of such individuality which adds that emotional core. There is something so endearing about their inability to comprehend the expected way of living, unsure of the formalities in place, as we can relate to them, in being amongst people different to yourself, feeling foreign, lonely even.
It does remain a challenge, however, to immerse yourself and invest in the tale at hand, such is the pure absurdity of it all. Comparable only to the recent big screen endeavour for Spongebob Square Pants, there are times when you feel as though you’ve stepped right into somebody else’s hallucinogenic trip. But there does remain an enchantment to this, enhanced by the beautiful animation, with a mellow, yellow-tinged landscape that makes for an indelible cinematic experience.
However, any such serenity is deviated away from with the introduction of Little My (Ruth Gibson), a devilish human child who provides the film with it’s comic edge. She’s the best thing about this, mostly as it’s the only character with any actual character – as while the virtuous protagonists are so pure and uncontaminated, they are rather bland, while the lack of any true antagonist is jarring also. Though that’s not why people see this film, it’s supposed to be undemanding and innocent. Think The Happy Little Elves from The Simpsons, which is Bart’s least favourite TV show – which, to be honest, tells you all you need to know.