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Doktor Proktors Zeitbadewanne (Doktor Proktors tidsbadekar)
Norway/Germany 2015

Opening 2 Jun 2016

Directed by: Arild Fröhlich
Writing credits: Johan Bogaeus
Principal actors: Eilif Hellum Noraker, Camilla Glaister, Gard B. Eidsvold, Kristin Grue

That lovable, nutty-professor-type Doctor Proctor (Eidsvold) is back in the second film based on a series of children’s books by Norwegian author Jo Nesbø. Doctor Proctor creates a formula to go back in time to prevent his true love, Juliette, from marrying the vile Monsieur Cliché some 20 years prior. Of course, his plans get botched, he gets stuck in the past and enlists the help of Lise and Bulle (Glaister and Noraker) to bring him more of the bubbly formula to go even farther back in time. Flanked by his juvenile accomplices, trouble ensues for Doctor Proctor when they cross paths with Napoleon at Waterloo, blood-thirsty guillotine executioners during the French Revolution and an imprisoned Jeanne d'Arc. Through several centuries of mishaps, it's up to these kids to help Proctor change his personal history and ultimately be reunited with his lost love.

Visually, the film is brilliantly inventive and colorful -- from the set design, repulsive make-up and costumes, Fröhlich has outdone himself (think Pippi Longstockings meets Willy Wonka!). The vibrant colors and fantastic props are amazing. Eye-catching elements like the prosthetic leg on roller skates, stretchable suspenders, or Proctor's freeze-frame camera keep you fascinated in every scene. Even the casting itself is worth mentioning: lesser roles, namely the gruesome nemesis Raspa, the rotund and evil Claude Cliché and the sweaty, greasy school teacher in the opening scene are well-played and can captivate the attention of young moviegoers. Also, Anke Engelke has a longish cameo as the French innkeeper, which should keep German audiences interested.

Some scenes featuring Bulle and his growing adolescent libido seem to drag out and add little value, namely his debut with CanCan dancers or his crush on Jeanne d'Arc. Maybe they feature prominently in the book, which are bestsellers in many countries. Although listed for FSK 6+, due to unseen (but fully understood by the six-year-olds who went with me and needed periodic comforting) violence and death, it may be more suitable for children eight and up. "It's a great movie, [but] sometimes I had to look away in scary parts. Two thumbs up," according to my little cinemagoer. 95 minutes in German. (Ericka Seifried)

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