Moomins and the Comet Chase

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About the Moomins

The Moomins are hippo-like trolls with fluffy tails. The welcoming and bohemian Moomin family – Moomintroll, Moominmamma and Moominpappa – is surrounded by a large group of quirky guests, neighbours, and friends. Their home is in the idyllic Moominvalley, in a house reminiscent of a big, round, tiled stove.

However, as a carefree and adventurous bunch, Moomins are happy for any old excuse to take off to explore. They meet new wonders, but also unexpected dangers. A leisurely day can be interrupted by a magician on a panther, a giant sea monster, a bunch of electrified Hattifatteners, or a flood taking over the entire valley or an approaching comet destined to hit the kitchen garden. And after an adventure, there is nothing better than to come home for a nice meal of tea and pancakes with family and friends.

More About the Moomins

The Moomins are a family of trolls with fluffy-ended tails. Their roundish shape and delicate, large snouts give them a resemblance of a friendly hippopotamus. Their home is in the idyllic Moominvalley, between the sea and the river, surrounded by the Lonely Mountains. They live in Moominhouse, a house reminiscent of a big, round, tiled stove: the Moomin ancestors used to live behind such stoves, and Moomins do like the continuity of tradition.

On the other hand, as such a carefree and adventurous bunch, Moomins are happy for any old excuse to take off to explore. They meet new wonders, but also unexpected dangers. A trip to an observatory can change into a wild ride running away from a comet; a garden party can be interrupted by magician riding on a panther looking for a giant ruby; a lazy summer’s day can be cut short by a flood taking over the entire valley; a discovery of a mysterious hat ends up turning eggshells into clouds and water into raspberry juice.

Moomintroll is the instigator in many of the thrilling expeditions. He is a curious, happy-go-lucky boy, with wise parents, Moominmamma and Moominpappa. Their love and trust grants him the safety and confidence needed to embark on any adventure with his friends. Having had his fair share of exciting journeys on sea and land as a youngster, Moominpappa knows that experiencing things for yourself is the best way to learn. The gentle Moominmamma always has a kind and encouraging word for everyone, yet behind the tranquil exterior she is very apt at secretly guiding others in making the right decisions. She never loses her calm, even when faced with the worst of disasters – as long as she has her purse with her, with all the essentials inside.

The Moomin family is very welcoming and tolerant. There are always guests at the Moomin house, and many friends live with them, more or less permanently. The Snorkmaiden and her brother, Snork, have become part of the family. Snork is a well-organised lover of notebooks and meetings, while Snorkmaiden is carefree and a bit of a daydreamer. She adores pretty things and is often found grooming her pretty golden fringe; some say that Moomintroll has a secret crush on her.

Sniff has lived with the family for a long time, and so has Little My. Sniff is fun and enthusiastic, yet can become a scared little animal when faced with any real dangers. Little My, on the other hand, is spunky and bold. She doesn’t give a rat’s tail about what others say, just speaks her mind and does as she pleases – which is often the opposite of what she’s told to do.

Snufkin, Moomintroll’s best friend, is an easy-going philosophical type that sees the world as his home. When winter comes, he disappears on his travels. He doesn’t believe in possessing things, and likes to sleep in a tent whenever possible.

The Moomins value individuality and freedom, are a bit bohemian, and do not always behave as is expected by the norm. Yet there is a lot of warmth and caring; they accept all their quirky acquaintances with all their flaws, whether it is the bossiness of the Hemulens or the crankiness of Edward The Booble. Whatever the world throws at you, it is safe to be with this family. There is nothing better than after an adventure to come home for a nice meal of tea and pancakes, on the porch or in the garden, with family and friends – or strangers, if they happen to drop by.

Tove Jansson

The Moomins were created by the Finnish writer Tove Jansson. Tove was a remarkable personality; an author of nearly 30 books, a painter, an artist of over 1500 comic strips, an illustrator, and an honorary professor of philosophy. Tove’s notable body of work has earned her a vast international following - her books have been translated into 40 languages – as well as some 50 awards and nominations.

Moomins are her most famous creation: the ugly creature she first drew on the wall of an outhouse, evolved into the family of friendly hippo-like trolls with fluffy tails. Tove captured them in 12 Moomin-related books, which she started to write during the Second World War. Those Moomins are loved around the world today, by children and adults alike. They live on in the books as well as on film, such as in the ‘70’s puppet animation version with which Tove herself was artistically involved with.

More About Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson was born on August 9th, 1914 as the eldest child of a Finnish-Swedish family. She grew up in Helsinki in an artistic household. Her father was a sculptor; her mother was an artist and Finland's top stamp designer.

Between 1930-1938 Tove studied at art academies in Stockholm and Helsinki, and briefly also in Paris. Although the reviews of her paintings at exhibitions were favourable, she needed to do illustrations’ work to survive – for newspapers, children’s books, post cards, advertisements, etc. She had a long relationship with the satiric journal Garm, which she had contributed to since she was 15 – sometimes with rather controversial cartoons, which openly criticised the flaws in the current political situation.

The story of the Moomins starts from the 1930s. After Tove lost a philosophical debate with one of her brothers, she drew "the ugliest creature imaginable" on the wall of their outhouse. The vicious, long-beaked troll later became the more rotund and friendly Moomins that we know. Its name, Moomintroll, came from a creature in her relatives’ home, where she lived as a student in Stockholm: her uncle teased Tove with horror stories of a wicked being called Moomintroll who lurked in the storage room – to stop the hungry student from pilfering food.

The Moomin shape started to appear in Tove’s water colours in the 30’s, and then she started to add it as her signature for her cartoons in Garm. During the Second World War, Tove wrote her first book: “The Moomins and the Great Flood” (1945). However, the book didn’t create many waves at the time. Neither did the next book, “Comet in Moominland” (1946). The breakthrough did not come until 1948, when she released the book “Finn Family Moomintroll”. The response were enthusiastic in both Finland and Sweden (the original language in each book was Swedish), and the book was quickly also released in English.

Tove also created a number of Moomin comic strips for newspapers. For instance, the British Evening News published a daily comic strip about the Moomins between 1954-59.

In total Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated eight Moomin novels and three picture books, and also wrote the text for the picture book “The Rascal at Moomin house“. She also wrote 12 non-related books. Her stories have won leagues of fans, both children and adults, across the world; they have been published in 40 languages.

For her literary achievements Tove Jansson received some 50 awards and nominations, including the Nils Holgersson prize in 1953, the Hans Christian Andersen medal in 1966, the Order of the Smile Polish children's award in 1975 and the title of honorary professor issued by the president of Finland in 1995. She died on 27th June 2001, but lives on in the spirit of her Moomins.

Movie

Synopsis

One day Moomintroll notices that something strange has happened in the Moomin Valley – everything is grey; not just the sky and the river, but the trees, the ground, the Moominhouse, too! Moomintroll runs to ask the well-read Muskrat if he knows what is happening. Muskrat declares that this is the way things tend to look like before the earth faces an awful fate coming from the sky…

With the help of his father, Moominpappa, Moomintroll and his worried friends build the best raft ever and start on a challenging journey to the observatory. The wise professors there must know what the threat from space is all about!

The trek is not easy. The brave entourage, Moomintroll, Sniff and Snufkin face many obstacles, yet also meet new and old friends. But they make it to the observatory: the professor calculates that a ferocious comet will reach the Earth in four days, four hours, four minutes and 44 seconds. Maybe 4 seconds later. It’s time to go back home as fast as they can – surviving an unexpected number of peculiar creatures and dangers on the way. Will they get everybody safe in time?

Clips

Video clips of the Moomins and the Comet Chase movie.

Images of the Moomins and the Comet Chase movie.

Characters

Moomintroll

Yeehoo! (swings in on a rope) By my tail, this is fun! So come on everyone, where’s the next adventure?

Moomintroll, or Moomin, is Moominmamma’s and Moominpappa’s son. They live together in the Moominhouse. Moomintroll is always curious to find out new things and see new places, and excited of any prospect for an adventure. He is not afraid of the unknown, though he sometimes can be a little insecure - after all he is only young. Moomintroll is a happy, enthusiastic little fellow with a good heart and many friends. He is often joined in his adventures by his best friend Snufkin and by his secret crush, Snorkmaiden.

Sniff

Incredible! What a beautiful dagger… (pondering to himself) I wonder what it’s worth?

Sniff’s parents are Fuzzy and Muddler. They lost Sniff in the great flood when he was little, and ever since he has been living with the Moomins. He is eager to go on adventures with the others, but is a timid little fellow, and gets agitated if faced with any real dangers. Sniff is fascinated by everything that glitters, and is always hatching plans to get rich. He can be a bit selfish at times, but Sniff also defends his friends fiercely when needed.

Snufkin

The whole world is my place and I feel at home under the open sky.

Snufkin is the easy-going, philosophical type. He is independent, even a bit rebellious, yet he gets along with everyone. When winter comes, he disappears on his travels: the world is his home. He doesn’t believe in owning things, and likes to sleep in a tent whenever possible. Snufkin can often be found fishing, smoking a pipe or playing a flute. It may be hard to believe that Snufkin is related to Little My, but they are actually half-siblings: Snufkin is the son of Joxter and the older Mymble.

Moominpappa

That reminds me of an adventure from back when I was a child… Boy, was it great to be at sea!

Moominpappa is Moomintroll’s father and married to Moominmamma. As a youngster he escaped from an orphanage to experience endless exciting quests; now Moominpappa is content with writing his memoirs and reminiscing about the past tales. Not that he doesn’t sometimes get the urge for new adventures, but Moominpappa remains responsible, wise and devoted to his family - as long as he regularly gets to visit his beloved sea. Knowledgeable Moominpappa is not shy on giving advice, but in the end he believes that experiencing things for yourself is the best way to learn.

Moominmamma

Don’t worry about it, dear. Have a pancake with strawberries, and you’ll feel better.

Gentle Moominmamma always has a kind and encouraging word for her son, Moomintroll, and for everyone else. She is wise, has the solution for any problem, and remains calm even during the worst of disasters. The Moomin family and their friends often get to enjoy Moominmamma’s great cooking, like her mouth-watering pancakes served with homemade jam. Sensible Moominmamma always carries around her purse, which contains everything she needs.

Snorkmaiden

La la la… Day is pretty, mirror is pretty, fringe is pretty, I am pretty…

Snorkmaiden is Snork’s little sister. She is happy, carefree, and can be a bit of a daydreamer. But if ever in a tricky situation, Snorkmaiden reveals her resourcefulness. Snorkmaiden loves to groom her blonde fringe and wears a golden anklet; she simply adores pretty things and at times can even be a little vain. She is a sweet girl nonetheless, and some say Moomintroll has a secret crush on Snorkmaiden.

Snork

Hmm… My notebook is full again... (gets excited:)Maybe we should have a meeting about it?

Snork is Snorkmaiden’s big brother. He is good at solving problems and organising – however, sometimes the others manage to finish the task at hand before he gets all his organising done. Snork is precise, and he jots down everything in his notebook to make sure nothing is forgotten. As an enthusiastic reader and a resourceful person, Snork has a vast knowledge about many things. He is not shy to pass on his knowledge either – especially at the meetings he loves to set up - which can make him seem like bit of a know-it-all at times.

Hemulens - The Butterfly Collector & The Stamp Collector

Many Hemulens have somewhat obsessive personalities: they devote themselves to one interest at a time, whether it be skiing, stamps, butterflies, or whatever happens to take their fancy. Their hobbies make them forget everything else around them, making them also often oblivious to the feelings and opinions of others. Others frequently find the Hemulens annoying or overwhelming, as they can be somewhat loud, bossy, abrasive and insensitive. However, they are well intentioned and usually have other redeeming qualities.

Hattifatteners

We don’t mean any harm, but don’t stand in our way, we are electric.

Hattifatteners do not live in Moomin Valley; they wander around in packs, which always contain an odd number of them. No one is certain how Hattifatteners reproduce, but at least they can be grown by planting hattifattener seeds in the ground on Midsummer’s eve. Hattifatteners are deaf and see poorly, but they have an acute sense of touch. During a thunderstorm, hattifatteners get a little crazy and become dangerously electric, even though they don’t mean harm to anyone.

Muskrat

Muskrat is a philosopher. He is reading books and thinking thoughts all day. He is so absorbed in his philosophical musings, that those who don't know him sometimes get the impression that he is a bit odd. He is not so bothered by the company of others, and can seem a tad sour and pessimistic.