With a million cable channels, Christmas reminds us just how hard it can be to find suitable family fare for kids. Luckily, there's "Journey to the Christmas Star," a fun and time efficient yuletide ride that would be perfect if there were a Lifetime Jr for kids.
Nordic storytelling meets Hollywood production value with neither suffering because of the other. When a young princess disappears into the woods in search of the mystical Christmas star, her father curses the Chrsistmas Star causing a darkness to fall upon his kingdom. With the child seemingly gone, the queen dies of a broken heart leaving the wise king to lose hope until a sage informs him that he has 10 years to find the star, and in turn, his daughter.
Nearly ten years has passed and a desperate king employs a sketchy astrologer to find the star. Meanwhile, a yellow haired girl named Sonja (Vilde Zeiner) escapes her captors and runs out into the street, eventually making her way into the king's castle. Her family of pursuers are apprehended and she befriends the king, vowing to return the Christmas star in time, but conspirators and an evil queen will have something to say about that.
"Journey to the Christmas Star" is perfect for the holidays and beyond. It's not overly complicated, but is sophisticated enough to keep the interest of little kids and adults alike. You'll cheer for the spunky Sonja as she alternately fights and befriends gnomes and the elements while the bad guys are on her tail. The cinematography is captivating from the ancient castle to the snow covered forest, director Nils Gaup is able to bring Kamilla Korgsveen's holiday script to life in a way that would put bigger budget features to shame.
The only drawback to the film is the dubbing, which is a bit funny at times, but not too much as to distract from the story. Also, it would've been nice to have Zeiner show a little more emotion. She's a very mellow heroine, but it would've been nice to see her show a bit more fire.
If you're looking for a movie to sit down with the kids with (or to give to those who have little ones) before they attack boxes underneath the tree, then "Journey to the Christmas Star" is definitely one to add to the collection.
"Journey to the Christmas Star" MPAA: Rated G. Running time: 77 minutes.