Chasing the Kidneystone

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Chasing the Kidneystone Movie Poster Image
Surreal Norwegian action-adventure inside a human body.
  • NR
  • 1996
  • 88 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids might be surprised at how much they learn about what goes on inside the human body.

Positive Messages

Characters discuss crying as a healthy and normal way to deal with grief and sadness, and also happiness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Simon loves his grandfather very much, and goes to extraordinary lengths to help him in his time of need.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoonish action where characters fall, slip, and slide through different organs of the human body. Characters fight hideous looking "bad guys" like bad breath and a kidney stone made to look monstrous. Characters are thrown and fall far distances, but are unharmed. A personified gall bladder spews bile on an underling.

Sexy Stuff

A preteen boy and girl hold hands.

Language

Name-calling: "Dork," "nerd," and "chicken." As a character urinates, one character says to another that he's "taking a whiz." When characters enter a bladder, they are afraid of swimming in a "pee ocean."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Two scenes in a jazz club where alcohol is served. Older and legendary white blood cells sit around and drink beer. They offer some to Simon and his new young friends. They take a sip, run away, and immediately spit it out.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Chasing the Kidneystone (aka Body Troopers) is a surreal quest of sorts, in which a young boy shrinks small enough to enter his ailing grandfather's body to try and cure him. With some body-related humor (pee jokes, etc.) and some fight scenes between mild monster kidney stones and bad breath, this imaginative Norwegian movie is a fast-paced adventure story for the whole family. Kids might even pick up some knowledge about how different parts of the body work as the characters travel through the body and meet lungs, a gall bladder, and others.

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What's the story?

Simon's grandfather is a former world-renowned jazz saxophonist whose wife would sing with him. She has been dead for over 30 years, but he still misses her. This grief and his old age has made him quite ill, and Simon fears for his well-being. With the help of his teddy bear and an old chemistry set, Simon shrinks to the size of human blood cell, and climbs into his grandfather's mouth. Through a journey that takes him through personified taste buds, vocal cords, the stomach, gall bladder, and beyond, he befriends a young white blood cell named Mapster and a part of the lungs, a young girl named Alveole, and together, they work to escape pursuit from the monstrous Bad Breath, and find the kidney stone that is making Simon's grandfather's life so miserable.

Is it any good?

CHASING THE KIDNEYSTONE (aka Body Troopers) is a wonderfully strange adventure inside the human body. Released in Norway in the mid-1990s, this fast-paced and imaginative film manages to educate viewers about different parts of the body as well as what white and red blood cells do. The education is so seamless, kids might not realize that they're learning.

The English is dubbed, but on the whole usually appears in-sync to what the characters' lips are doing. While the part of the white blood cell Mapster is occasionally grating and bratty, Chasing the Kidneystone ultimately delivers interesting information about the human body, while also imparting positive values on the importance of not holding back your feelings. In other words, there's as much heart and soul as there is brain and wisdom at work here.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the many creative ways in which the inside of the human body is conveyed in this film. Where does the film teach as well as entertain?

  • How might this film be different if it was made in Hollywood instead of Norway? How would it be similar?

  • Who do you think the audience for this movie is?

Movie details

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