Review: Woezel & Pip In search of the Sloddervos! (2016)

Director: Patrick Raats | 70 minutes | animation, family | Original voice cast: Rijk Aardse, Munaycha Rotary Bass, Johnny de Mol, Willeke Alberti, Edwin Rutten

Actress Guusje Nederhorst died of cancer in January 2004 at the age of just 34. Her greatest legacy would not be her role as Roos de Jager in the soap series “Goede Tijden, Bad Tijden”, nor the music she made with colleagues Katja Schuurman and Babette van Veen (as Linda, Roos and Jessica). After her death, Guusje is mainly remembered as the inventor of Woezel and Pip, the playful cartoon dogs that appeal to almost every toddler and toddler in the Netherlands. Dinand Woesthoff – the frontman of the now defunct rock band Kane from The Hague is Guusje’s widower – decided to share his wife’s creation with the world and not without success; countless books (1.4 million!), TV series, CDs and theater performances were published, but also cuddly toys (1.5 million!), puzzles, games and other toys with the two cheerful dogs in the lead. Part of the proceeds will go to the Guusje Nederhorst Foundation, founded by Woesthoff, which supports children who are in need of help in whatever way. Tragically, Nederhorst never knew that the dogs she created would be loved so much. However, her spirit lives on in the figures.

“Woezel and Pip in Search of the Sloddervos!” (2016) is the first full-length feature with Woezel and Pip in the lead roles. But other familiar figures such as Buurpoes, Tante Perenboom, Wise Varen, Molletje and the Singing Tulpjes are also present. The story primarily focuses on the youthful target group (children aged between two and six years old). Woezel and Pip love to play, but don’t always pay attention to where they leave their toys. For example, more and more items disappear from the Magic Garden. Things get seriously out of hand when the present for Wise Varen, which is almost on his birthday, disappears from the face of the earth. Woezel and Pip would pay close attention and feel guilty that the present has been lost. So they go out with their friends Neighbors Cat, Molletje and Vlindertje to investigate. They get help from an unexpected source; their nephew Charlie comes to visit because of the party of Wijze Varen. Together they track down the mysterious Sloddervos; would he be responsible for things disappearing from the Magic Garden…?

With its seventy minutes, “Woezel en Pip in search of the Sloddervos!” Has just the right length and the right tension for the young target group. The animations are simple but effective and colorful and the story is straightforward and has a clear message. The voices were voiced by Willeke Alberti (Tante Perenboom), Edwin Rutten (Wijze Varen) and Johnny de Mol (Molletje); the voices of Woezel and Pip are provided by Rijk Aardse and Munaycha Draaibas. Dinand Woesthoff provided the music – not only the closing song but also the beautiful score – and also wrote the story. Whether Charlie is here to stay remains to be seen. The black and white spotted nephew of Woezel and Pip is not the most appealing character and does not add much to the existing cast. It may have been added to teach children how to make new friends (or how to accept newbies in their own group). “Woezel and Pip in search of the Sloddervos!” Keeps the story nice and clear and that is fine for the target group – some of whom may be going to the cinema for the very first time. This is a cheerful family film that is guaranteed to give young viewers – and their parents – a pleasant afternoon.

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