17th July 2020 (UK)
Minna is a young girl who discovers the ability to create and control other people’s dreams, but how will she use this power now her bothersome stepsister is in the picture?
Kim Hagen Jensen, Tonni Zinck (co-director)
Robyn Dempsey, Tom Hale, Emma Jenkins
When young Minna’s (Robyn Dempsey) dad John (Tom Hale) gets a new partner Helena, she brings along her bratty, Insta-obsessed daughter Jenny (Emma Jenkins) too. But when Minna discovers a whole new world in her dreams, a world which gives her the power to create and control other people’s night-time slumber visions, she uses her newfound ability to teach her bothersome stepsister a lesson.
Dreambuilders respectfully borrows blocks from superior builds, but provides a solid foundation for an introduction to them. It touches upon difficult subject matters such as Social Media bullying and fractured families in a way that is accessible and easy to understand for a younger viewer. Its delicate handling of Minna’s connection with her father post-breakup and at the start of a new relationship for him is presumably a scenario many of those watching will have been through or been a part of.
I’d have liked to have seen a more positive resolution to Jenny’s excessive social media usage, especially since one of the messages written about Minna is “If she was my step-sister, I’d kill myself.” It’s a jarringly sharp line in an otherwise sweet and humorous tale and really should have been addressed with more finality. Being a Danish production, the English release has a separate dub and, on the whole, it’s a success. The voice work is occasionally flat and the translation from its native tongue to English is often clunky, but its pre-teen target market are hardly going to notice. There’s a wide array of interesting characters to keep them distracted, from its leads of well-intentioned Minna to the helpful head Dreambuilder Gaff and his grumpy boss, The Inspector. Dreambuilders continues to constantly impress as it evolves.
The animation is sublime and, again, design cues have unquestionably been lifted from the industry leaders but there’s still plenty of originality to be found. Using meticulously planned ‘Dream Stages’ to construct people’s dreams is a particularly creative touch and is likely to invoke probing questions from inquisitive youngsters. It shouldn’t come as a shock though, with director Kim Hagen Jensen having extensive experience in the Animation Department. You can see his work in the likes of 1989’s All Dogs Go To Heaven, 1992’s Ferngully and 1986’s Valhalla – which has just recieved a live action remake.The rest of the Animation team worked on the likes of Disney’s Big Hero 6 and Sherlock Holmes, and it shows in just how well polished the final product is.
Dreambuilers is wondrously inventive and commendably ambitious with its stakes being surprisingly high. The location for the climactic showdown leans a little too closely to that of a set piece seen in 2015’s Inside Out, but it’s a minor quibble in a film that is clearly made by a talented, huge-hearted team who dream big and deliver a pleasant animation sure to entertain the whole family.
Dreambuilders is set for release in UK Cinemas on 17th July 2020 through Signature Entertainment.
Important messages and morals handled delicately and delivered in a way that its younger target audience will understand
Occasionally flat voicework
A more definitive resolution to its Social Media message is required