This animated movie has been released just in time for Halloween and it certainly is frightening, but not for the right reasons!
I think the younger generation will just watch and enjoy and not read too much into a talking Punch puppet, a vampire who is also referred to as a sorcerer and the English dubbed characters coming over more wooden than Pinocchio!
The movie starts with Daybone trying to find his mate, I assume he’s a vampire with two vampire bats named Bram and Stoker – looking a lot like the characters from Monster Family! I can’t work out if he is a vampire or not, he’s referred to several times in the film as a sorcerer, not a vampire, he doesn’t seem to have fangs or a dislike for sunlight but does live in a castle!
The scene then cuts to Barbara the Brave, an “independent maiden” who is constantly fighting off would-be suitors, who can’t beat her in battle. The king, who has spent all his money, builds a robot to beat her! The whole family agree this is cheating!!
He wants Barbara’s money not her, and no one seems that concerned he’s inside a wooden robot to beat her! Anyway, he doesn’t beat her but ends up outside the stadium and a completely crazy scene takes place.
I still don’t fully know what happened here, and maybe for younger viewers it doesn’t matter – I think the appearance of Punch (from Punch and Judy) is the king’s conscious, or inner thoughts – this is the only way I can make any sense of his appearance.
The film seems to be a complete mash-up of fairy tales thrown in at random scenes along with a vampire who may or may not be a succourer and a talking, walking gingerbread roll (who my son referred to as Bread version Olaf)!!
The king, who is clearly evil, or at least Punch is and that’s who he’s taking his council from! Decides to blackmail Drybone into kidnapping Barbara. The king can then come along and rescue her and she’ll be honour bound to marry him – and then Punch suggests bumping her off – that’s the way to do it!!
I’m not sure there were many laughs in this film, I spent most of my time trying to work out what was going on! There is the occasional singing much to the disgust of my son but the film is just over an hour long (76 minutes) so wasn’t too long.
My 12-year-old son enjoyed the film and rated it 3 out of 5 but I personally feel he was being rather generous!
Animation, Adventure | Russia, 2022 | U | Cinema | 27th October 2023 (UK) | Dazzler Media | Dir.Roman Artemyev | Richard Wilson, Peter Scott, Kate Lann, Richard Epstein, Daniel Barnes