Parent Review: Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods
I have to admit, I am partial to an old-fashioned kid-as-hero-due-to-smarts-rather-than-might film, the kind of movie that harkens back to the Wonderful World of Disney Sundays of my childhood. Throw in some goofy and rambunctious characters, exciting-but-bloodless battles, and a vibrant film color palate and I’m a goner. I mean, I ate up Pippi movies, I loved Pete’s Dragon, and I admit to a little crush on Atreyu as he flew through the Neverending Story.
Which is why I am excited to take my kids to see Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods during it’s run at the Seattle International Film Festival this month – even though they are both sometimes snarky teenagers who’d far prefer a good Tarantino-style bloodbath over invigorating but harmless battles among inept Vikings. In fact, that’s exactly why I want to share this film with them.
The film screens first on June 3 at 1 p.m. at the Kirkland Performance Center. It will screen at AMC Pacific Place 11 on June 8 at 1 p.m. and June 10 at 11 a.m.
Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods (Germany dubbed in English)
Wickie is a well-conceived, well-executed fairytale – the antithesis of the violent trash my kids see on television and in theaters despite my vigilance and determination that they not. It’s a simple, no-one-gets-killed-and-yet-there-are-stakes adventure story. I look forward to watching a film with my teens that’s fun for all of us to watch together, as a family, and one where I don’t have to hide behind my hands for half the film or launch into one of my anti-violence, let’s talk about sex, or say no to drugs speeches directly after the show. I look forward to sharing a moving experience with them from which we can all glean useful life lessons like the importance of trusting your instincts, the fact that you don’t have to be big to be strong, and the idea that you really can love your enemy.
The story of Wickie is one that even a young child (I’d say 6 and up) can follow. Freckle-faced, fire-haired Wickie, the son of Halvar the Viking chief, wants nothing more than to be a real Viking. The problem is he’s kind of skinny, not very strong, not very coordinated and definitely not prone to fighting. He is, however, dedicated to his family and determined to prove himself to his dad.
He gets his chance when Sven the Terrible kidnaps Halvar and steals the key to the treasure of the Gods which Halvar wears around his neck. In order to reclaim their leader and the key, the Viking villagers name Wickie deputy chief and send him and a band of bumbling warriors off to rescue Halvar and bring home the treasure.
And so begins the adventure over raging oceans, tropical beaches and dangerous icy wastelands. Along the way, Wickie captures and then befriends a fearless girl Viking, who, it turns out, is the daughter of Sven. Both heirs soon begin to question the family feud that stands in the way of their companionship even as they each must respond to the call of family loyalty. Sven too is on the treasure trail, but Wickie has a few tricks up his sleeve to keep Sven from getting to it first.
Those tricks all involve Wickie’s keen sense of intuition, which he uses to get his troupe out of several tight situations and steer his father’s ship all the way to the icy Cape of Fear and to Sven’s castle where Halvar has been imprisoned. Getting his father out of this icy incarceration, however, takes more smarts than brawn. And finally locating and claiming the treasure takes an unexpected collaboration.
Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods is a fast-paced, funny, feisty little German film for families with kids of all ages. It is also one of the best dubbings of a film I have ever heard. You will not know the actors are not actually speaking English.
I know this gem will not be on the top of my teens’ SIFF list, but I have a feeling it will be one of their favorites if I can weasel them into the theater. Why? It’s good, clean fun and a lot of laughs.
If You Go...
The film screens three times during the Seattle International Film Festival:
- June 3 at 1 p.m. at the Kirkland Performance Center.
- June 8 at 1 p.m. at AMC Pacific Place
- June 10 at 11 a.m. at AMC Pacific Place
Cost for each screenng in the Films 4 Families series of the festival is $6