If you've got a preschooler who likes visiting the Isle of Sodor, take him to see Elias and the Treasure of the Sea. Elias the Little Rescue Boat is Norway's answer to Thomas the Train, and his adventures are the subject of a popular series of children's books and an animated television show there and throughout parts of Europe.
This feature-length film, which runs just over an hour, pits the plucky little boat against a mean Polar Queen (who bares a striking resemblance to the Evil Queen in Snow White), a villian intent on running Elias's sleepy fishing village out of business with her state-of-the-art technology, and claiming a long-lost sunken treasure as her own.
The story has predictable moments and, natch, a happy ending, but there are some oddly entertaining musical numbers interspersed and a timely big-business-versus-the-little-guy theme that won't be lost on grown-ups. The animation is sharp, bright and impressive to audences who are used to a diet of Pixar and Dreamworks flicks.
It's subtitled, but don't fret that your little moviegoers aren't reading yet: The film fest will have professional actors on hand to read English subtitles aloud for all foreign flicks geared to kids ages seven and under. We love that idea—and the unique oppurtunity a film such as this ones provides Chicogans to get a glimpse of kiddie culture from other side of Atlantic.
CICFF screens Elias and the Treasure of the Sea at 9:30am Saturday, October 22, at Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall (1212 E 59th St). The Norwegian film is geared toward ages 4–6.