Based on our enjoyment of Ponyo, Netflix thought that our family “might also like” Kikkerdril, a Dutch film about an adorable little boy named Max who wanders around the Dutch countryside in search of frog’s eggs.
Now, the original Dutch title translates as “Frog Spawn”, which I guess the American distributors felt wouldn’t go over well here, so they renamed it Max’s Magical Journey.
Whatever. As a person interested in both nature and children — and in films that present nature to children — I found this film to be delightful. It’s a refreshingly simple and earnest depiction of a kid discovering nature. Totally low-budget. No CGI. No amazing macro photography. No underlying environmental message.
And I love how Max just wanders around with no accompanying adults — through meadows and woods, riding through town on a bike, sneaking onto a public bus to get back home, encountering strangers with dirty teeth and making friends with them, messing around with irrigation equipment, milking other people’s cows — all stuff that, if an American parent allowed their kid to do, they’d be investigated by Social Services.