21 September 2015
So, I was on the plane to Dubai, and on the inflight entertainment was a film called "Funf Freund 4". And it name checked Enid. So OF COURSE I had to watch it.
So as far as the characters are concerned, our core group is much as it ever was (although I'm not sure how old each of the Kirrin siblings is meant to be - and how far apart they were born - they all look about the same age). But after that, well, not so much.
Because I love you all, I just had to share the whole ordeal with you.
We start with a Kitschy scene in an Egyptian market. There’s a street rat street ratting, and a nice fruit stall owner who goes for a walk and gets kidnapped by men in black robes, because DRAMA. And apparently he’s to be used as leverage to make someone do something.
With the three Kirrins’ dad Bernard for the hols (this being film four, the actor playing Uncle Quentin may have been done with this crap – I don’t see any reference to Bernard in the previous films), the kids see a preview of his new Egypt exhibition with his pretty assistant Elena (and Dick and Julian flirting with the pretty lady is bad acting even if I don’t speak a word of German), including a 5000 year old mummy king. After locking the museum (with a plain handonmyheart house key) Anne forgets her glasses and they go back to get them, only to find a black hooded figure cutting the mummy's head open. The figure gets away, but the kids dig into the head (I swear I'm not making this up - they dig into the head with their fingers) and find a legendary amulet. One of three such amulets, presumably all inside brother mummy's heads. For some reason, it becomes imperative for them all to go to Egypt. By the way, no one is upset about the desecration of the mummy, they just congratulate the brats on finding the amulet …
So off they go. At the antiquities place, they find the head guy Farouk, who has one of the two other mummies said to have an amulet inside, and when he quite reasonably object to cutting a 5000 year old mummy open, Bernard sends the kids off for his portable ultrasound which he always carries (and WHYWHYWHY DIDN'T YOU DISCOVER THE FIRST AMULET WITH YOUR HANDY PORTABLE ULTRASOUND DEVICE?) The kids get pickpocketed by a street rat their age, and when they go back to the antiquities place, they find someone already cut the mummy’s head open, stole the amulet and framed Bernard, who is arrested for it.
Apparently, their only hope is to find the amulets, and also somehow they end up on the lamb from the German consulate (apparently - one handy thing about this story is that all the baddies either wear distinctive hoods or an item emblazoned with this HUGE ugly stylised bull – no one ever explains why a bull) who want to (quite reasonably) send the unaccompanied minors home. They go to pretty assistant Elena's house (she's Egyptian? When did anyone ever say she was Egyptian?) and find out her father is on holidays before the consulate dude shows up and chases them across rooftops, with Timmy barking inappropriately loudly.
They get away. They team up with street rat kid, who has a crush on George, sneak into a billionaire's party to steals the third amulet (wearing the worst disguises ever) only to have black robe people steal the amulet first. Street rat picks the black robe’s pocket, and they scram, only to be caught by the police, who are also in league with the bull people. They hand over the amulet and then set the police van on fire with the kids and Timmy in it. And sit back to watch the barbeque, laughing. Because they are all evil like that.
Now, you know law enforcement has a problem when 4 kids (interestingly, George sits back and doesn't help) can kick open the door to a paddy van. Baddies watch it explode from the front, kids disappear from behind. Fortunately, street rat knows a) super secret location of where shit is going to go down (which they conveniently overheard) and b) that Elena's father is missing, not on holidays (which seems to have no bearing on things right now). He gets them camels to travel to super secret location, which they manage to lose in an hour or so, and so instead of heading back to the city and getting alternative means of travel, our blockheads walk into the desert with no water. I swear, the best moment of the whole damn movie was when they decided to lay down in the desert and die. Timmy pulls a lassie and gets help from two old guys in a jeep, who take them to super secret location (which is only an hour away).
They get to super secret location, and there's this ritual going on. So at this point I though this was going to be actually interesting – like Famous Five go supernatural. I thought this whole conspiracy was all about raising a mummy or something mystical like that. But no, the whole shebang, the robes, the rituals, the chant (yes they have a chant) is just so they can loot the tomb.
There's unnecessarily dramatic revelation that Elena was involved, because of course it was her father kidnapped to get her help in finding amulets. Then they're all left in a room with a stone roof descending to squash them. They get out, trap the baddies, save Timmy (who was in a cage about to be fed to the spirits – again I say ???), then get away with the amulets to save Bernard, who was being tried 2 days after being arrested.
Look, I know some people have a dim view of Egyptian justice, but really?
Oh, and it turns out that Bernard's lawyer was also a bull person. They catch the baddie, blah blah blah, George has a romantic moment with street rat, everyone goes home.
I think I died a little on the inside.
Here's my problems.
1. Modernising Enid is not a terrible idea per se, but this was ridiculous. If was modernising without all the pesky modern things like mobile phones or other relevant technology. Only street rat had a mobile, super secret location was well known and in all likelihood was on a map app. Security all round was pretty primitive, which was often handy for our intrepid heroes. I hate when modernising stories leaves out reality for the sake of plot. Modernise or don't; you can't have it both ways.
2. It wasn't a good Famous Five story. It was way too sentimental (Enid would definitely not approve of the emotion, and certainly not anything like a love interest), the Five were way too stupid to live, and there wasn't enough glory at the end for the Five. Not to mention that it takes place OUTSIDE ENGLAND! How could it betray the motherland like that?
3. It wasn't a good NOT Famous Five story. As a story it made no sense, it was painful to watch and i hated it. And I know it's a German kid's movie, but why did EVERYONE have to speak German?
4. It was bad Enid. The goodies were GERMAN! Black mark right there. Not a single solid Englishman in the whole thing. It was ALL foreigners. And it was set in Egypt, which is probably very unhygienic. And Egyptians were goodies AND baddies ... I think Enid's head would explode from such a break in stereotype (nuance – what is that?). And a foreign love interest? Not to be thought of.
I'll have to look this series up now ...