Review: Ghost time with Laban – Lilla spöket Laban: Spökdags (2007)

Ghost time with Laban – Lilla spöket Laban: Spökdags (2007)

Directed by: Per Åhlin, Alicja Jaworski, Karin Nilsson, Lasse Persson | 62 minutes | animation, family, short film | Dutch voice cast: Wiebe Pier Cnossen, Lucas Dietens, Hetty Heijting, Noortje Herlaar, Tim Koper, Jurjen Van Loon, Jan Nonhof, Beatrijs Sluijter, Hymke de Vries, Donna Vrijhof

The concept of kid-friendly ghosts isn’t new to the fantasy world, of course. Seymour Reit and Joe Oriolo Casper invented the friendly ghost as early as the 1930s. Initially the intention was to release a children’s book, but eventually the rights to the book were sold to the animation division of Paramount Pictures’ Famous Studios during World War II. Following this, the studio released ‘The Friendly Ghost’ in 1945, an animated short film, which had a number of sequels. In 1995 there was a live action variant with Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman and a computer-animated Casper. The American ghost has since faced fierce competition from a European ghost: Laban. The ghost Laban is a creation of the Swedish couple Inger and Lasse Sandberg, who invented the figure for their son in the 1960s. He had been terrified by neighborhood kids for telling ghost stories, and through Laban’s adventures, the parents helped him overcome this fear. Laban’s stories appealed to many children and now the ghost, who does not dare to ghost himself, is more popular than Casper. A logical sequel is an adaptation on the silver screen, which came in 2006 with ‘Het kleine spookje Laban’ (‘Lilla spöket Laban’).

‘Spooktijd met Laban’ (‘Lilla spöket Laban: Spökdags’ in Swedish) is a successor to that. It is a cartoon in which the drawing and storytelling style remains faithful to the original of the Sandberg couple. Simple lines and colorful collage-like backgrounds create a world where children will feel right at home.

In five short stories, ideal for the short attention span of toddlers, we get to know Laban, his sister Labolina, the father and mother and a few other characters, such as Prince Bas and dog Rufus. These stories are not very scary or exciting, rather funny. In the first story, for example, mother has the hiccups and everything is tried to help her get rid of it. It also appears from this piece that Laban’s fearless and brave father is also fearful himself, he is afraid of mice!

In the second story, Laban has to look after his sister Labolina when their parents are out for a night. Who would be the greatest hero of the two? In the third part, Laban and Labolina get lost in the forest near the castle of Good Morning Sun, when they want to get rid of Rufus with a trick. The fourth part is about the illness of Laban’s father. Now the Prince and Laban have to haunt the castle themselves, but whether that will work is questionable. Finally, we celebrate Laban’s father’s birthday and see how Laban’s fear of disappointing his father is completely unfounded.

Ghost Time with Laban is a cute family-friendly movie full of fun characters and witty bits.

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