The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After her father’s ship ‘Hoptoad’ is carried off by a sudden storm, the spunky Pippi Longstocking (Tami Erin) is stranded with her horse, Alfonso, and her pet monkey, Mr. Nielson, and takes up residence in the old family home, Villa Villekulla, which is thought by neighborhood children to be haunted. Soon, two children, Tommy (David Seaman Jr.) and his sister Annika (Cory Crow), venture into the house only to meet up with Pippi. The three soon become friends and get into various adventures together, including cleaning the floor with scrubbing shoes, dodging the “splunks”, going down a river in barrels, running away in a homemade autogyro, keeping the house from being demolished by crooks, and helping Pippi with the problem of having to go to an orphanage. Pippi eventually chooses to go after she and Tommy and Annika almost fall down a waterfall, and their parents refuse to let her play with them anymore. Pippi does not fit in with the other children and misses her parents. That night, however, she saves the orphanage from a fire and becomes the town heroine. Pippi decides that the orphanage is not for her and is allowed to return to Villa Villekulla and befriend Tommy and Annika once more. She is reunited with her father on Christmas Day and he offers her the chance to become a cannibal princess, since he was washed ashore of an uncharted island where he was crowned king. At the last minute Pippi decides to stay because she cannot leave Tommy and Annika.

REVIEW:

Don’t judge me! Certain people in this house have been dropping hints they wanted to see The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. As many things as I watch for nostalgia purposes, why not see what is nostalgic for someone else, right?

What is this about?

Pigtailed Pippi returns for more merriment and mischief. After washing overboard during a ferocious storm, the titian-haired troublemaker drifts ashore to a seaside village, where she turns the town upside down with her high jinks and magic powers.

What did I like?

Innocence. Pippi Longstocking has got to be one of the purest beings I’ve seen on film that isn’t animated in quite some time. It is a breath of fresh air to watch someone with such a positive outlook on life. She exists for no other reason than to just have fun and wait for her dad to come home. Even when they throw her in the orphanage, she is still a bundle of joy. One can’t help but be infected with that happiness.

Earworm. The theme song of this flick is a true earworm. Once you hear it, you’ll be singing it for days and days. I can just tell that I’ll be singing this next week and getting some strange looks (as if I don’t get those already). Aside from the theme song, there are a couple of other 80s-tastic tunes that will surely tickle your fancy.

Ginger. Aside from her ponytails, Pippi stands out from the crown because of her brilliant red hair and the fact that they actually dress her up in colors. She stands out from the crowd and becomes the focal point of the film, as well she should be. Even back in those days, redheads stick out, as we can see in the orphanage.

What didn’t I like?

Story. I’m not sure what it is, but the story and plotline doesn’t quite gel. For me, it felt like a series of short stories, which is fine, but they don’t seem to gel into each other. I almost wished they would have this different segments. Perhaps that would have worked better and not made the film seems so disjointed.

A horse, of course. Pippi’s horse, Alfonso, appears to have the ability to talk. I don’t have a problem with that, but the fact that they chose to have him do this half-talking thing. That is, he neighs and words come out. I don’t know, I guess I just wanted him to actually be able to enunciate, a la Mr. Ed, but the filmmakers didn’t think that would be realistic, apparently. Yeah, they tried to be realistic in a film like this. Confusing, isn’t it?

Antagonists. So, every film has to have an antagonist. This one has the lady in charge of the orphanage and these gangster-type guys who want the but Pippi’s house for the land. At least I think that’s what the reason was, I’m not quite sure. The orphanage lady is actually quite the presence, which can be attributed to the performance of Eileen Brennan. Perhaps the film should have gone with her as the primary antagonist, especially since the gangster guys were about as competent as the Keystone cops. Everything they tried, failed and failed miserably. Even as comic relief, for lack of a better term, they didn’t really work. I wonder if they were better portrayed in the books.

The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking apparently has quite the fan following, mostly by females who were little girls when this was released. All these years later, they still “squee” with excitement while watching. For me, though, I didn’t see anything to get excited about. It was just a run of the mill family film that was popular at this time. Still, this is a good family film that has absolutely no sexual connotations, strong language, or anything to corrupt young minds (this was rated G, if I’m not mistaken), so for that reason, along with the nostalgia factor for some, I recommend you give this a shot. It may brighten your day or take you back to your childhood, you never know.

3 1/3 out of 5 stars

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