Monday, June 30, 2008

The Magician's Hat

Čarobnjakov šešir; animated fantasy, Croatia, 1990; D: Milan Blažeković, S: Ivo Rogulja, Dragan Milivojević, Emil Glad

The evil emperor Mrazomor showed up with his ice palace on the river and attacked the enchanting forest in order to turn it all into ice. His servants are the ice soldiers, the evil weasel, a wolf and stenographer penguin who quits his job in order to save the forest. When he frees the frozen fairy, he returns her to the little Wizard, the bear and the beaver who wake up dragon Ferdinand from his dream in order to fight against ice. The Wizard kills Mrazomor with a sword and saves the forest.

Animated film "The Elm-Chanted Forest" from '86 is everything its sequel "The Magician's Hat" is not: a skillful and dreamy fantasy with style that speaks about ecological problems and develops its story in fine directions. But the routine "Hat" is just a commercial sequel that wants to cash in on the popularity of the first film, turning into an overstretched and weak achievement that doesn't have magic but has too many unnecessary musical scenes and too little real plot. The animation is once again very competent, even better than the first film, whereas some moments, like the fairy who kisses the frozen Wizard and brings him back to life, are enchanting. Still, as a whole, the movie is lifelessly placed together, equipped with stiff music, poor one dimensional bad guy and, for a children's film, a few morally questionable scene (in the end, the Wizard throws a sword into the heart of the emperor Mrazomor). Director Milan Blažeković had seen much better days than this.


1 comment:

Chris Sobieniak said...

I noticed that Milan Blažeković made another feature some years after this one, though not another sequel to "The Elm-Chanted Forest" obvious, but still haven't seen that one myself.

Having skimmed through what I saw of Magician's Hat, I sorta liked the moments with the wolf and weasel character, too bad their ends had to be frozen stiff in some icy river.