This version of the the family film series was more enjoyable than the previous movies that were made in the early 70s. This film was shot in the Jacksonville area, so if things don’t look as Swedish as they should, it is because this is an American production. Not such a bad thing, considering the bad dubbing in the earlier movies. We have a brand new crew featuring some B-list actors that we have seen in films made in the 70s and 80s, like Private Benjamin‘s Eileen Brennan and Happy Gilmore’s Dennis Dugan.
So, it starts as we see Pippi (Tami Erin) and her father, Capt. Efraim Longstocking (John Shuck) on their ship, which is suddenly struck by a freak storm, which separates them, and Pippi finds her way home with the help of some crewmates. She sets up in the old family house, which gets the attention of the two curious children living next door, Tommy (David Seaman) and Annika (Cory Crow) Settigren. The kids think the old house next door might be haunted, but once they meet the “ghost”, she turns out to be the most fun and interesting kid they have ever come across. To Mr. Settigren (Dennis Dugan), she’s a bad influence that needs to be supervised. Mrs. Settigren (Dianne Hull) is happy that her kids are happy, and sees the great things that Pippi can do, all things considered.
Pippi is an unusual girl of about 12. Not only does she live in the old family home with only two pets, a monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and a horse, Alfonso, she also has superhuman strength and some magickal abilities. Considering her genetics and quirky nature, we think she might be the daughter of a Norse goddess. Craziness seems to always follow her, and she excels at getting her friends, Tommy and Annika, in trouble. She lacks schooling, manners, and other things that people of the time, the 1930s, considered to be very important. Not that these things are not important now, but Pippi is so charming, and her charisma pretty much overcomes everything. She never seems to be at a loss for resources, due to the considerable fortune in pirate gold sitting in her house, which no one seems to have trouble accepting. Pippi never really knows that she is causing chaos in her pursuit of having a good time, and at times, she can even be a hero to everyone. Pippi might have been the original inspiration for the character of Hancock in the 2008 film of the same name.
The music is very much a product of the times, late 1980s synth-pop, and thankfully, you won’t keep hearing these songs in your head for decades later. This was Tami Erin’s only film, but she went on to become a model in L.A. and still is making strides on the red carpet in Hollywood these days. This is a pretty cute family movie, and it was pretty cool to see that it was filmed about a four hour drive from my home. Seeing all the palm trees, Southern pines, and beach scrubs sort of confirmed it. Fernandina Beach is looking like a pretty nice place to check out after seeing this movie. For those whom love the books, as much as Clisair does, you need to put this movie in your collection.
I give this film a Musing review of