Wednesday, 27 May 2015

REVIEW - MOOMINS ON THE RIVIERA (XAVIER PICARD)


I always want to return to Moomin Valley. It's a pleasant place to spend a half hour, and an even more pleasant place to return to. Moominmamma is right: there's no place like home, yet the Riviera is perhaps an equally pleasant spot to spend a half hour, or even 80 minutes. Moomins on the Riviera is an easygoing delight, a film content enough in its character not to strain for cinematic brilliance, and entirely charming in its modesty. It rests on what laurels its mythology has established over some decades of storytelling, and thus the film is wholly original and unoriginal simultaneously - an extension of a brand, but what a singular brand this is. And what a comforting one too, even if its qualities can't offer nourishment to sustain interest over even so brief a runtime, nor to inspire the level of ecstatic wonder that the finest animations do. That comfort is invaluable, though, and it is to the benefit of Moomins on the Riviera that its writers did not seek to embellish the blueprint that history had handed them, and the film's only suggestion of theatrical polish is in its superior visuals (and even these are decidedly retro held against the majority of animated titles today). The plot is perfunctory, merely a rambling string of events designed to develop the characters in the narrow context of this episode, and a deference to convention strands those characters in the antiquated roles created for them years ago, but you didn't come for any of this, did you? You came for that ineffable Moomin essence, that indefinable spark of Moomin magic that has kept this series afloat for so long now. Once again, Moomins on the Riviera makes me want to return to Moomin Valley.