Road Rash Reviews

How to Save the Immortal Cinema Review***--

Cert PG | 76 mins | 2023

3 star charming but kooky children’s animation.

How to Save the Immortal is a 2023 Russian animated children’s film, written by Genrikh Nebolsin and Roman Artemyev (Dialogi), who also directs.

It is presented here with an English dub and will be shown in UK cinemas from 27th October 2023 courtesy of Dazzler Media.

“There it is, the Needle. That’s where your death is hidden. This is what makes you immortal. And if I were to break it, you would die.”

Drybone (Andrey Kurganov – The Red Ghost, The Courier) is a vampire who lives in his huge and imposing castle with his bat minions, Stoker (Peter Scott) and Bram (Richard Wilson – One Foot in the Grave (TV Series)). He is lonely and has been turned down by every one of the ladies he has made advances to. This is in large part due to the fact that he kidnaps them and turns them into a frog when they reject him. To his horror, there is only one who is interested and that is the evil (and blind) sorceress, Mara (Kate Lann – Bear’s Frolic). She knows his secret, that is immortality is maintained by a Needle, which will kill him if broken.

In the meantime, King Lentil (Michael Kleeman – Cats in the Museum) has problems of his own, his treasury is empty. As luck would have it, there is a young maiden, Barbara the Brave (Liza Klimova – The Optimists) who has recently come into a sizeable inheritance and has pledged to marry the man who can best her in combat. Unable to defeat her himself and egged on by an evil hand puppet named Punch (Jordan Worsley – Big Trip 2: Special Delivery) he hatches a cunning plan.

Lentil blackmails Drybone by getting hold of the Needle and demands that he kidnap her, so that he can stage a rescue. At the same time, a walking, talking bread roll named Ginger Roll (Daniel Barnes – Petropolis) appears on the scene (don’t ask, I’ve got no idea). I think we can all sort of see where this is going, apart from the bread roll thing.

“Listen, Drybone. I have a simple request for you. Could you turn me into a terrible beast? Colossal, like, with big. big teeth.”

How to Save the Immortal is undeniably a very strange film. There may be aspects of Russian folklore involved about which I am unaware which would explain a lot. The story is pretty simple, although very sexist and the animation isn’t bad.

The same can be said of the voice acting, which could have benefitted from a little more enthusiasm. There are plenty of unexplained elements and some that they seemingly forget about, but overall it’s suitable for the age group at which it’s aimed. If you have very young children, then they will probably love this, it’s colourful and there’s lots going on.

Any older than about seven and you might have to start answering questions that probably even the makers of the film don’t know the answers to. If it’s raining outside and you have youngsters to entertain who you think won’t understand the concept of Stockholm Syndrome, then this is worth a trip to the cinema, just to see a talking bap.

“Now, here’s the deal. You’ll kidnap the shield maiden Barbara. Then I’ll come and save her from your villainous clutches, Drybone. And if you don’t obey my Royal Decree, it will be snap goes the Needle.”

Dazzler Media presents How to Save the Immortal in UK cinemas from 27 October

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DirectorRoman Artemyev
GenreAdventure, comedy, fantasy
StarringAndrey Kurganov, Liza Klimova, Daniel Barnes, Michael Kleeman, Kate Lann