Movie Review: We Can Be Heroes! (2002)

Time for the Summer of the Swedes to keep going. So what’s on the menu today? A children’s film? Oh fuck.

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Can Be Heroes!” (Original title: Bäst i Sverige!).

Marcello (Ariel Petsonk) doesn’t have it easy. He’s bullied by some boys in schools, and his parents (Michael Nyqvist, Anna Pettersson) try to dictate where his life is supposed to go. But when he befriends the new girl in his class (Zamand Hägg), his life starts changing in a few ways. If some of these elements sound familiar, that’s because you’ve seen other movies. But just because this film borrows cliches from other ones doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, I’d argue the story here is pretty good, with writing that takes the cliches and uses them in charming and enjoyable ways. There’s a lot of times when our main character has really vivid dreams, both in the middle of the day and during the night, which serve to not only develop him as a character, but also further the plot and also entertain. And it helps make the storytelling here feel fresh and fun. There are one or two moments in the story that maybe don’t fit too much, since they push the suspension of disbelief a bit too much, but overall I really liked the story here.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and at times surprisingly nuanced. Sure, they all might seem like walking cliches at first. But as the story moves on, we see most of them get some decent development that makes them endearing and likable. And the cast, which features people like Ariel Petsonk, Zamand Hägg, Michael Nyqvist, Anna Pettersson, Ralph Carlsson, Pontus Stenshäll, and more, all do pretty well in their respective roles.

The music in this movie is based heavily in a lot of pop tunes, which I guess is used to help add to the overall fun tone of the movie. I’m not saying all of them 100% fit all of the time, but I also don’t think any of the tracks ruin the mood at all. The songs work fine.

“We Can Be Heroes!” was directed and edited by Ulf Malmros, and I think he did a damn good job. The way he shoots a scene is energetic and fast-paced, while still allowing for some of the more quiet scenes to nicely simmer. And man, the editing is really good too. Malmros knows when to make perfect cuts and how to nicely transition between reality and Marcello’s dreams. The craft here is really good. And since this is a comedy (despite imdb not acknowledging it), how is the humor? Fucking funny. It’s charming, it’s silly, it’s cute, it’s even a little brash at times… and most of it made me laugh.

On Rotten Tomatoes it exists with no rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,8/10.

“We Can Be Heroes!” had a bit of an uphill battle with me, being both from my own home country and a children’s film. But god damn, it managed to win me over. It’s a charming little comedy about finding yourself. It has a good plot, really good characters, really good performances, pretty good music, great directing/editing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “We Can Be Heroes!” is an 8,89/10. So I’d definitely say it’s worth buying.

My review of “We Can be Heroes!” is now completed.

Things are starting to look up.

12 Films of Christmas (Part 8)

Only a couple of days left until christmas, which means only a couple more of these left. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these posts so far, because I’ve had fun making them. Anyway, enough of that semi-sentimental crap, time to talk about a movie.

Today we’re not talking about your typical single-narrative movie, but rather an anthology. Today we are talking about “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”. The stories in this don’t really have anything in common other than being about christmas and starring various Disney characters. Other than that, the only thing stringing them together is some narration by Kelsey Grammer. That’s right, Frasier doing the typical whimsy and inspiring holiday movie narration… just the idea of that makes me laugh. But he does a good job of it. Anyhow, what are these about then.

The first story is about Huey, Dewey, and Louie (all voiced by Russi Taylor) being all excited about christmas, and at the end of the day making a wish about wanting christmas every day… and that wish comes true. Every consecutive day after that is now December 25th, with the same chain of events. As expected, they soon learn that this gets a bit dull after a while, which makes them try to shake things up and that’s all you get for plot. It’s a simple plot with a simple lesson. But there’s enough decent jokes and scenes here to keep you, or at least a child entertained. I think my favorite part about it might’ve been hearing the great Alan Young (may he rest in peace) as Scrooge. He doesn’t really get any great lines, but that voice just makes everything he says something amazing. The other cast members also do well and help make this a fun little story.

The second part is about Goofy (Bill Farmer) and his son Max (Shaun Fleming) waiting for Santa Claus and being really excited for his arrival. But their excitement gets halted a bit when Pete (Jim Cummings) tells Max that there is no Santa. And this is a good short. It features the typical Goofy humor (some great, some meh), and a surprising amount of heart. There are scenes that really tugged on my heartstrings, and really made me feel for the characters and their situations. The end of the story is a bit of a cop-out since it gives a definitive answer to the “is there a Santa Claus” question. I’d have preferred a bit more ambiguity in that sense, but this is still a good short. And admittedly it has a really good joke in there that made me laugh quite hard. Funny, heartfelt, charming, this is a good short.

The third and final short is a Disney version of “The Gift of the Magi”. In this we have Mickey (Wayne Allwine, R.I.P) and Minnie (Russi Taylor) wanting to buy each other something really special for christmas, but neither of them have any money. So they try to find some way to get these gifts for each other and I won’t spoil the rest. It’s a cute story with some heartfelt moments to it. It has some okay humor in it, and the drama did suck me in a little bit. Overall it is good.

“Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas” is a fun and charming collection of shorts that may not bring much for an adult viewer, but it’s still fun and perfect for younger audience members. I’ll give it this: They have put a surprising amount of effort/money into this for a direct-to-video christmas thing. They didn’t have to do that, but they did, and we got some really good animation thanks to that. Really, this is good.

What are your thoughts on “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas”? And who’s your favorite Disney character? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one.