Friday, 11 August 2017
Bibi & Tina (3 Stars)
This is a German teenage musical comedy made in 2014. It's the first in a series of four films, so far, but the two characters have a long history.
Bibi Blocksberg first appeared as the star of a radio play in 1980. At first only a few episodes were planned, but due to the popularity new episodes have been recorded every few months until today. Up until now 121 episodes have been recorded. After the initial radio broadcast they're sold on CD's. I'm surprised that there's such a large market for products like this in Germany.
Bibi was introduced as a 12-year-old witch who lives with her parents in a small town called Neustadt. In the 13th episode she celebrated her 13th birthday. Ever since then she hasn't aged. An advantage of the series being audio only is that the actors aren't seen to age. The actress Susanna Bonasewicz has played the part of Bibi ever since the first episode. She's now 61 years old. I'm curious to hear her voice. Does she really still sound like a 13-year-old?
In 1991 a spin-off radio series began called "Bibi & Tina", which has been running ever since, 86 episodes so far. In it Bibi goes on holiday to a farm and makes friends with another 13-year-old girl, Tina Martin. Tina is another girl who's forever 13, and it seems like it's holiday all year round. In the series "Bibi Blocksberg" Bibi leads a normal life, including going to school. In "Bibi & Tina" there's no school, all she does is have fun riding horses.
In 2004 a television cartoon series began about Bibi & Tina. 46 episodes were made before it was cancelled.
Now we finally have live action films about the two girls. The ages aren't stated in the film. The actresses were both 16 years old in 2014, but they look younger than 16. I wonder how many films they can make before they lose their youthful appearance.
The farm where Tina lives with her mother stands next to a castle where Duke von Falkenstein lives with his son Alexander, who is also Tina's boyfriend. Bibi is unattached, but that doesn't seem to worry her. It's not a secret that she's a witch. Tina and everyone at the castle know about it. Bibi uses her magic powers to play practical jokes on people.
In this film there are two problems that the girls have to solve. The first is that a new neighbour wants to buy Tina's favourite horse from the duke, a horse that she takes out every day. The second problem is the arrival of a new holiday guest, Sophia, who tries to steal Tina's boyfriend.
This is a cute little film. At first I found it disturbing that the cast repeatedly broke into song, but I grew used to it. I can see why Lina Strahl was picked to play Bibi. She has such a good voice that she could easily make a career as a singer. As for the film's story, maybe I'm too old to appreciate it. Girls and horses aren't my thing. I might try another film in the series. I don't know yet.