Norwegians got lucky as they were the ones where this film was made and already got it for the holidays last year. The rest of the world had to wait one more year, but now this fantastic little tale about the Christmas star has reaches most other countries as well. I see there’s a version from the 1970s already which starred a considerably older lead actress. Here the main character is a little girl without family ad friends, who one day manages to escape her captors and make it to the castle where she interacts with some of the servants and the king himself and promises him to help in getting him back his daughter. I assume they picked a young girl for the lead here to make the film especially accessible to children here and all in all I think she did a fine job, especially as she was in almost all the scenes from start to finish. Looks-wise she reminded me a bit of the very young Miley Cyrus.
The very few weaknesses in the story are made up for by most of the other aspects of the movie. The costumes are great, including those rags and tatters worn by the poor just like those spectacular dresses worn by the King and his close advisers. Same goes for the visual effects which are sometimes almost too good for a children’s movie. The whole sequence with the girl and the northern wind are nothing short of mesmerizing. Finally the cinematography is very well done too. The snowy landscapes make for a great watch, be it in the kingdom or at the North Pole. There were a couple scenes, like those involving the witch’s daughter or the love story between the servants, which didn’t really add that much, but as the film was still only under 80 minutes long and occasionally they brought some nice comic relief, it’s okay they stayed included. Thinking about it again, the daughter of the witch actually makes sense as she’s the one (in addition to the incompetent baron) that keeps the witch look too sinister with her rebellious behavior in the first half of the film. It’s a good ingredient that assures that the film can even be watched by very small children without really being scared. The meeting between Santa and Sonja was portrayed nicely too and that includes the “head helper” who was always busy and stressed out even if he didn’t want his boss to know.
Finally, I would like to emphasize who was possibly my favorite character from the movie: the little dwarf girl Mose. She didn’t have too much screen time, but I really liked the scenes she was in and I’d totally watch a film that centers on her character and her family. Given her relationship to the bear for example, I’m sure there’s a lot to tell and I’d be very eager to watch her in a possible spin off. Back to this one, even if I thought it suffered a bit from the ending unraveling a bit too quickly and lacking credibility, I’d certainly recommend “Reisen til julestjernen” to families with children during the Christmas holidays. The kids will love it, the grown-ups will like it.
Review by Horst_In_Translation