Created from existing vintage stop-motion footage from 80s, Moomins and The Winter Wonderland is a sweet and simple animated film that celebrates the warmth of Christmas, and creator Tove Jansson’s clear storytelling technique.
With the whimsical opening notes of the theme song Longing for Summer playing in background, we are gradually led from the clouds to Moominvalley where the Moomin family is busy preparing for their annual hibernation.
However before they can begin their long winter nap, they’re interrupted by the mischievous Little My and winter-sportsman Healthy Hemulen, who inform them that a mysterious guest is coming to visit. The Moomins now must pull together to get the village ready for the arrival of someone (or something) called “Christmas”.
Watching Moomins and The Winter Wonderland is like having a caring parent read a beautifully-illustrated 3D pop-up book to you as you both enjoy a cup of rich, hot chocolate in winter.
On top of the mood-setting background music and soothing sounds of nature, the charm of the animation lies in the fact that the jerky stop-motion technique reminds you of a child making up their own story with their toys.
The voice acting is also quite convincing, with Alicia Vikander (of The Danish Girl fame) successfully bringing out the playfulness of Little My to life, and Stellan Skarsgard taking a turn as wise Moominpappa.
The main storyline is very straightforward and primarily about the Moomin family and friends helping each other work towards a common goal. Despite the simplicity of the plot, some wise life lessons are hidden within the dialogue, so be on the lookout for some great lines from Moominpappa and fan-favourite and philosopher Too-Ticky.
Without an edge-of-your-seat plot device or the non-stop action sequences typical of normal blockbusters, Moomins and The Winter Wonderland may seem slightly bland to modern viewers.
Still, this film will definitely appeal to families hoping to spend some time together during the winter holidays, especially for those with young kids.