Just in time for your Christmas stocking, this is a new DVD release for all the family.
First released in 1991, Polar Bear King (Kvitebjorn Kong Valemon) is a Norwegian film, based on a traditional Scandinavian folk tale.
Written by Erik Borge and directed by Ola Solum (Orion’s Belt, Turnaround), this typical fairy story tells of a handsome prince, Valemon (Tobias Hoesl) who returns to take the throne of Summerland, the Kingdom of the South, upon the death of his father.
The Kingdom is under the control of an evil Witch (Anna-Lotta Larsson) who wishes to marry the King Valemon. When he refuses, she uses her enchantment to turn him into a Polar Bear for seven years. He will return to human form at midnight each night, but must let no-one see him, or he will belong to the Witch forever.
Enraged, the King sets out for Winterland, the Kingdom to the North, in search of a woman who can love him. Here, he meets a lovely young woman, to whom he gives the ugly, enormous, a bit QVC late-night-shopping bling-like chain which is his way to signify his intent to marry.
Little does he realize that she is in fact a Princess (Maria Bonnevie – Reconstruction, The 13th Warrior) and her father the King (Jack Fjeldstad) is understandably not too happy at his daughters plans to betroth herself to a bear.
With the help of his two other daughters (Marika Enstad, Kristin Mack) they set about trying to stop her from leaving. However, she has always dreamed of living in the sun among the flowers and love wins out in the end.
The two of them head off back to the castle, where they set up a very strange living arrangement, rather disturbingly have three children together and bring down the wrath of the Witch. That’s when things really start to get weird.
In classic fairy tale style, the heroine does something really stupid and then has to get all heroic to remedy the situation. There are many issues with this film, not least of which being that the handsome prince isn’t at all good looking, I can’t really imagine two women fighting over him.
The sets are pretty rubbish too, the magnificent Kingdom of Winterland is a few huts in a snowy field behind an archway made of ice, and they managed to locate a derelict castle somewhere to serve as the Witches lair.
As for the polar bear, it’s absolutely hilarious, not exactly what you’d call convincing and the King of Winterland is always chattering away to animals like some sort of Nordic Dr. Doolittle. All the special effects are lacking and the whole thing looks like it could have been made in the 70’s.
Putting all that aside however, this is clearly aimed at young children, below about seven I would expect, probably mainly at young girls, and it does have all of the required elements, princes and princesses and witches and “happily ever afters” and I’m sure that when I was that age I would have absolutely loved this film.
So if you show it to your little ones before the world has had chance to raise their expectations too high, you might still be onto a winner with this one. You probably won’t like it much yourself though (but it does provide the occasional laugh).
“Why isn’t everything as simple as snow”.
Polar Bear King is available to buy now on DVD.