Body Troopers is a Norwegian Children’s film from 1996. It may be billed as a children’s film, and have children as the main characters but there were some parts that would have scared me half to death were I younger than 12 or 13. Of course, it’s subjective but I was surprised at the intensity of some scenes.
It was directed by Vibeke Idsøe but it is the set and costume designers who deserve top billing. I was unable to find the full credits online so I went back and watched the credits at the end of the film. They were in Norwegian so it was pretty rough going. I found out that the Hvitt punkerblodlegeme was Jan “Devo” Kornstad and that the RodeKjaerlighetsvakter was Herborg Krakevik. I did find a long list of dekoratorers and dekorassistenter but I’m guessing that names like Gudrun Benonisdottir will not ring a bell for most readers of this review.
The point is that the costumes and sets are the stars of the show. There is a limited amount of post-production effects. There are a few computer-generated effects that look out of place and unconvincing but most of the film is populated by wonderfully creative practical visuals.
The film is simple and straight forward. It’s a retread of Fantastic Voyage or an episode of The Magic School Bus. An awkward-looking 8-year-old boy named Simon shrinks down to a tiny size so he can hop inside his grandfather and find out what is wrong.
Unlike Fantastic Voyage or The Magic School Bus, Body Troopers makes an effort to develop a secondary layer of emotional drama. Simon finds his grandfather’s true love residing in his grandfather’s heart. He also meets his grandfather’s tear ducts who are suffering from lack of use and bemoan the stoicism of the Norwegian psyche.
Even with these subplots and a moral about feeling free to embrace your emotions the film feels a little too simple. Simon progresses from one organ to the next, making a few microscopic friends along the way, until he finds the problem and remedies it. No surprises, save for a startling amount of urine, but the subtitle is “Chasing The Kidney-stone.”
I’m not sure what age the film is appropriate for. Some children are more easily frightened by others, but for its visuals alone the film is worth seeing even without Rachel Welch in it.