Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Magic Reindeer DVD Review

Review By Patrick Challis

'Niko 2: Little Brother, Big Trouble'
'Little Brother, Big Trouble: A Christmas Adventure'

Written By
Marteinn Thorissen
Hannu Tuomainen

Directed By
Kari Juusonen
Jorgen Lerdam

An A. Film, Anima Vitae, Animaker, Cinemaker Oy, Magma Films Ltd., Ulysses Film

Animated, Family, Adventure, Christmas


Matthew Boyle as Niko
Darragh Kelly as Julius
Ned Dennehy as Old Tobias
Callum Maloney as Jonni
Michael Sheehan as Lenni
Niamh Shaw as White Wolf
Susan Slott as Oona

Certificate U


Kari Juusonen and Jørgen Lerdam direct this children's animation following the adventures of a young reindeer in the run up to Christmas. Niko (voice of Matthew Boyle) has recently been adopted. 

As he still misses his absent father, the youthful reindeer struggles to accept his new family, but when his stepbrother is kidnapped Niko enlists his friend Julius (Darragh Kelly) to help him find the boy. 

Will the journey help him to bond with the rest of his step-family? 

Special Features
  • None


When I saw the cover for this release from Metrodome, I have to admit I wasn't really expecting a great movie.  Instead, I just thought it would be a stereotypical animated Christmas movie that we have seen hundreds of times before but that wasn't the case.

Instead we ended up with a very well animated and well written animated movie that not only retains some of the Christmas magic of the first movie 'The Flight Before Christmas' but deals with some pretty big issues but in a way that is easy and gentle enough for the little ones to understand as well.

The animation itself is really well done.  It's animated really well in the computer generated style and looks absolutely stunning in places.  The characters themselves are animated in a really fun way.  Their facial expressions create some really touching and funny moments during the movie as well.  My little lad absolutely adored how they looked and was transfixed through the entire run time.

Story wise,  the movie isn't the most original animated Christmas adventure that I have ever seen but it's by far and away one of the better ones.  I loved how not only did the movie create a great Christmas feel to it but also also dealt with the heavy issue of someone joining a step-family.  The writers did a very good job of showing how difficult it is to fit in to a new family but did it in such a gentle way that it didn't beat you over the head with the message.

The only criticism I have about the movie was the fact that a couple of the plot points revolved about a couple of things that happened in the first movie so if you haven't seen 'The Flight Before Christmas' there may be a little bit of a delay between seeing one of the newer characters and working out how they fit in to the great scheme of things.  It's not a big thing but it does bug me a little when movies do that.

All in all, this movie was much better than I expected.  The animation isn't 'Toy Story' level of brilliance but it is a hell of a lot better than some of the other ones I've watched with my lad lately.  Also the story actually credits the viewer with intelligence by having a nice storyline about joining a step-family as well and I felt that was really well handled.  It's not going to be a legendary Christmas movie but this is definitely one that is well worth picking up.

Movie 7/10
Picture 8/10
Sound 8/10
Special Features N/A
Overall 23/30

"I like when the naughty boys have the good boys in a trap.  Good boys need to get out trap.  I likes that."

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