Film & TV

Film Review: Dreambuilders

A heart-warming family feature about building your dreams…and maybe other people’s!

How are dreams made?  How do they influence our lives?  What if you can build other people’s dreams?

Minna has a great life, dancing around with her father in a lovely two storey house when her dad meets Helene, who has a daughter Jenny, and Helene and Jenny move in with Minna and her dad.  Jenny is the same age as Minna but they are polar opposites – Jenny loves selfies and her phone, Minna is a bookworm who loves her hamster named Viggo Mortensen, which naturally Jenny hates.  On top of it, they have to share a room.

Everything is changing in Minna’s life and going wrong and when threatened with losing her beloved pet because Jenny hates “that rat”, Minna is determined to find a way to hang on to some happiness.  If only Jenny could see everything Minna’s way…  And then Minna discovers that behind the scenes of dreams, there is a whole world of creatures making dreams happen and dreams can influence the real world.  Gaff is in charge of building Minna’s dreams and is already in trouble for getting too attached to Minna, so he can’t help but do as she asks, even when threatened with losing his job.  He gives in and changes Jenny’s dreams, just once, then just once more… and things don’t go according to Minna’s plans.

The background to Dreambuilders starts in 2012, where Danish director Kim Hagen Jensen and producer Nynne Selin Eidnes collaborated on a movie together and Jensen explained a dream he had about there being a hole in the dream and he could see the sets and creation behind the scenes.  From this, the storyline expanded and was fleshed out over the years.

Ms4, Mr9 and Ms11 watched this and as dedicated moviegoers, Fringe, festival and performance lovers, they declared that they were up to the task, raring to go and would say exactly what they thought.

It took a while to work out the backstory as it wasn’t made clear at the start what happened to Minna’s mother or what happened to Jenny’s father – the transitions in to the dream scenes were too quick and without ever explaining why they happened.  There were any number of discussions throughout the film of, “Why are they doing that?”, “What just happened?” or “Hang on…”

Characters could have been fleshed out a whole lot more rather than just be black and white (though very pretty colours) – Gaff is a great character but we don’t see enough of him other than as the much-abused sidekick, as Minna forces him to break all the rules to do what she wants.  We all agreed that we liked him.  Unsurprisingly, no one was a fan of Jenny, though Ms11 pointed out that they’d made her as awful as possible on purpose.

Great ideas, amazing dreambuilding scenes but the story was not completely conveyed with all of the colours and characters, leaving a fair bit of confusion as to why things are happening.  Better for older kids, 11 and over, though younger ones will probably love the animation.  There is a definite message in there, especially for those people in split/mixed families, but it isn’t quite all it was built up to be.

Dreambuilders opens on January 7th.

GREAT ANIMATION 3.5 stars

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