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Sky du Mont
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Hans Peter Hallwachs
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WERNER is a German comic figure created by Rötger Feldman a.k.a. "Brösel" that had its first appearance in a comic book in 1981.
The comics merge the very original experiences of "Brösel's" own youth with bikes ("Schüsseln"), beer ("Bölkstoff") and the sufferings and joys as a plumber-apprentice (in a northern-German handicraft business) with the constant use of an explicit, wonderfully direct and idiomatic language into comic experiences which best reflect crucial aspects of the northern-German "way of life".
The first movie hit the big screen in the early 1990s and was a huge success (and when I say huge, I mean HUGE!). I was in elementary school then and not a single classmate had missed this one...the songs of the soundtrack were enthralling for us and you could listen to them everywhere. The first movie had a strong "comic appeal", a sense for the typical humour that had already made the comic-books that successful. Everything (except the non-animated sequences thrown in between) was fine and in the right place: The animation was full of lovely details (including images of the landscape), the contents were imaginative, the voices including fine variations of typical northern-German idioms were a helluva fun to listen to (catching the edgy aspects of the characters), the soundtrack was rocking.
Then, in 1996 and 1999, the follow-up-movies nos 2 and 3 came out, and they sucked. Not that the animations weren't professional (indeed they were, also making use of new technical standards like the computer generated images)...but, well, these were not the edgy, sometimes ferocious adventures of WERNER the fans fell in love with. These films were more like a smoothed, a soft version of Werner that failed to create any kind of originality and atmosphere. I guess that it was a fatal mistake not to base those movies on any of the hilariously funny and anarchic comics. Just way too conventional (at least for my taste)...
After 2 and 3, I had up to no hope for the 4th installment of the series, thinking it could only get worse. This was the first WERNER I had not seen at the movies, but waited until it was aired on TV.
To my big surprise (and against the opinions of many of the critics), this was not a new mess destroying the monument of WERNER, but a movie very much in the vein of the first one: Anarchic, powerful, full of punning!!! The figures were allowed to be themselves again, to behave more reckless, to drink beer and vomit if necessary, to disregard any tempo limits and also the laws of gravity...Yes, this was WERNER again, not a smoothed clone as in episodes 2 and 3. This was the original character again.
To sum this up: Everyone who liked the first movie will like this one, too. Give it a chance, you'll certainly be rewarded.
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