Pippi Longstocking

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Pippi Longstocking Movie Poster Image
Animated musical is good intro to Pippi's adventures.
  • G
  • 1997
  • 81 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

This is not an educational film; it's an entertaining and humorous adventure.

Positive Messages

Pippi often causes mayhem, but she doesn't mean to, it's just in her nature to be rambunctious. Overall, Pippi's adventures emphasize her individuality and self-sufficiency but also her capacity for friendship and trusting others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pippi is a very self-sufficient and self-confident girl. She may only be 9 years old, but she can fend for herself. However, that's not necessarily a positive role model for kids. In one of her songs, she basically says she does as pleases and doesn't really "need" any supervision. She is, however, a very good and generous friend.

Violence & Scariness

During a high-seas storm, Pippi's ship-captain father is thrown overboard. Two thieves have numerous slips and falls as they try to sneak into Pippi's house and steal her gold. Pippi mentions that her mother is in heaven.

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

The Mercedes Benz is mentioned in a song, but you don't see one.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In a song, the thieves sing about having champagne, but they don't actually consume it.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this animated adaptation of the classic children's tale is appropriate for young children. There's nothing disturbing or offensive, but Pippi's father is believed to be lost at sea, and she mentions that her mother is in heaven. Pippi also does whatever she wants, unsupervised, and has a box of gold to fund her activities. Two thieves try to steal Pippi's treasure, but she continue to outwit them, and they end up getting foiled again and again, often in slapsticky and humorous ways. Pippi might seem to glamorize parent-less antics, but her reunion with her father makes it clear things are better when you have parents.

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What's the story?

In this '90s musical version of Astrid Lindgren's classic children's tale, redheaded wild-child PIPPI LONGSTOCKING (voiced by Melissa Altro) is the daughter of a sea captain (Gordon Pinsent) who's tossed overboard during a storm. As his crew scrambles to save Captain Longstocking, he yells at Pippi to meet him at their home, Villa Villekulla. Returning home with her pet monkey Mr. Nilsson and beloved horse Old Man, Pippi meets two neighbor siblings Tommy and Annika and flaunts the fact that she can do what she likes when she likes, much to the chagrin of the stuffy and self-righteous Mrs. Prysselius (Catherine O'Hara). Thanks to Mrs. Prysselius' gossip, two thieves find out Pippi has gold in her house and make plans to break out of jail steal it from her, not realizing she's much harder to outwit than she looks.

Is it any good?

Although there's nothing in this animated adventure that's as magical as the books themselves, this is a fine starter Pippi for younger kids who haven't read (or been read) the Swedish series. The original songs in this special, however, are a mixed bag. A few are mildly amusing (like the silly duet the thieves sing about what they'd buy with Pippi's stolen gold), but some are a downright cringe-worthy (Altro's voice isn't exactly Disney quality). Between the songs, however, Pippi's shenanigans shine through, even though they've been somewhat tamed to make room for the showtunes.

Pippi purists may feel disappointed with the music and the modified antics, but those unfamiliar with her will get an easy-to-follow first look at how she operates and why she prefers the company of her pets to people. She's a girl of the world, that Pippi, and the story makes it clear that nothing and no one can keep our favorite redhead down; she's a scrappy survivor who can survive anything. If the subplot with the two convicts seems a bit familiar, that's because the execution seems very similar to the way the two dim burglars in Home Alone try to rob the house.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of orphaned or parent-less protagonists? Why are stories where parents are absent so popular with kids? Would Pippi have had these adventures if her father hadn't been missing?

  • Pippi is a timeless character. What makes her appeal to generation after generation of readers and viewers? If you haven't read the books, do you want to now?

  • How would Pippi's story have been different if she didn't have a treasure box of gold?

Movie details

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