Directed by: Pernilla Hindsefelt, Marcus Gezelius, Hamid Navim, Lars Klinting, Alicja Jaworski, Lennart Gustasson, Ylva-Li Gustafsson | 63 minutes | animation, family
“Willie and the wild rabbit” is the collective name for four animation films aimed at the smallest film fans. However, the films are usually of such a level that parents will also enjoy them. Opener “Chess” (“Schack”) is – from an adult perspective – the best film of the quartet. In beautiful warm colors we see a classically furnished room, after which the image quickly moves to a chessboard. However, it turns out not to be a still life; the chess pieces are alive. They have faces and the maker has used the shapes of the bodies in an excellent way. There is a threat from the looks in the eyes of the pieces and it is clear that there is literally a lot at stake. The animation is wonderful, the humorous story is short, but very original and the outcome can at least be called surprising. We want to see a lot more from this director! However, the question is whether the film is correctly assessed by children.
The second video, “Fear of heights” (“Örjan – Den höjdrädde örnen”) is a funny story about an eagle, Regal, who doesn’t dare to fly because of his fear of heights. The goldcrest that visits him one day wants to help him, but Regal laughs at him first because he doesn’t believe such a tiny bird can help him get rid of his fear of flying. Somewhat suspiciously, he agrees to meet the helpful little bird the next morning, on top of a hill near the forest where he lives. If he has climbed the hill with a lot of pain and difficulty, the goldcrest does not show up. It is not until many hours later, when Regal is almost used to his new environment, that the bird meets him. However, because it is already late and it is getting dark, the goldencrest thinks it better to meet again the next day. The meeting place is a tree trunk on top of the hill. The older viewers of course already know where the story is going, but for the little ones it is still quite exciting whether Regal will learn to fly. The repeating element in the story is well chosen and partly thanks to the drawing technique the film has something like a picture book. With twenty minutes, however, the film is a bit on the long side.
The third movie in the collection, “Little Piglet Flies” (“Lilla grisen flyger”), is a comical movie about an even more comical pig who does nothing but dream about flying. She is regularly laughed at by her fellow barn residents, who are unable to make her understand that pigs don’t fly. However, the piglet does not give up and leaves the world in search of someone who wants to teach her to fly. She encounters various animals that teach her all kinds of tricks: a mole teaches her to dig tunnels, a frog teaches her to swim, a rabbit teaches her to hop around and a squirrel teaches her to climb the trees, but flying is not yet possible. When the piglet meets a wolf, her newly learned skills come in handy. And that flying… that will be fine too.
The last and longest movie of the program is “Willie and the Wild Rabbit”. This cartoon stands out because of the unusual way of animation. Only the animals and a few utensils are drawn, the rest of the environment is simply reality. The drawings are projected into these images. This gives a funny effect. Unfortunately, the story is less special and quite predictable. The movie is also on the long side. There are also aspects in the film that may be less suitable for sensitive children, despite the age advice of three to eight years for the collection. Toddlers may find the eagle and crow scene too scary. It is a pity that the longest film is so disappointing, because it does leave a mark on the whole. Viewed in isolation, “Chess” would achieve the maximum score of five stars, “Fear of heights” and “Piglet Flying” three and “Willie and the Wild Rabbit” two. On average, the films score three stars together.