Director: Kajsa Næss | Script: Per Schreiner, Kajsa Næss | Cast (voices): Govert Deploige, Herbert Flack, Pieter-Jan De Paepe, Johan De Paepe, Mona Van Den Eeden and others | Time to play: 91 minutes | Year: 2022
A well-known misconception about in search of the lost ark is that Indiana Jones is a useless main character. Some viewers feel that if it were not for him, everything would have turned out exactly the same. That’s not entirely correct, but understandable. The opposite occurs with the dog Titina from this animated film of the same name: the four-legged friend only causes misery.
Stray dog Titina gets a new home with zeppelin designer Umberto Nobile. That life changes quickly when her owner receives a visit from the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen who wants to be the first to travel to the North Pole in a zeppelin. Nobile takes Titina on this frigid expedition, where the two men’s egos collide.
The story is largely true. In fact, the dog Titina was present during this event in the 1920s. The trip to the North Pole by airship also took place. The story is also highly dramatized. And he signed, because the Norwegian filmmakers understood that a feature film was not part of the budgetary possibilities.
The animation style is fine. Anyway, I congratulate myself on the fact that the film was drawn by hand and not with the help of a computer. Compared to Japanese cartoons, it’s a bit plain, but it has colorful scenery and well-designed characters. Amundsen’s huge nose is certainly not a style choice, that man just took a big gamble.
The Titina dog is used with less skill. He is a cute street pug, but more than once the reason things go wrong. Amundsen isn’t happy about the presence of a pet, and that’s not entirely incomprehensible.
Between wants to be magical, he sees a scene in which a singing woman walks down the street and climbs an invisible staircase. It’s clearly meant to create a warm atmosphere and exploit the freedom of animation, but it feels forced and out of place in a true story.
An incredible advantage Between is that the animation is sometimes interrupted by stock footage showing actual images of the Zeppelin flying over the earth. Incredible to see, and it’s easy to imagine how such a gigantic aircraft attracted everyone’s attention. It teaches young viewers that this really happened and who knows, it might inspire some to dig deeper.
At least they learn that Norway is subtly retaliating against the Italians. At first, Amundsen in particular is an unpleasant character. He even wants to eat Titina, which is really out of place in a children’s cartoon. But in the end, Nobile’s ego grows to gigantic proportions, making him a very dark figure. His second zeppelin crashes into the North Pole, killing lifeguard Amundsen.
It’s even so bad that Nobile sees Amundsen’s plane, but deliberately doesn’t draw attention to it because his ego won’t let him. Amundsen eventually crashes and dies in solitude. The Norwegians seem to retaliate by making up that it happened this way.
It should be clear that sometimes strange decisions have been made. First are the hallucinatory scenes: twice Titina inhales the gas that keeps the zeppelin aloft and begins to stumble suddenly. The strange images seem to have no function, although the movie suggests they do, especially the second time around.
All of those pros and cons make it a tight pass. It’s not quite the magical adventure the poster suggests, but it’s a special account of an interesting moment in history. Children probably take everything for granted, adults can scratch their heads several times.