© Constantin Film Verleih GmbH

Die Wilden Hühner
Germany 2006

Opening 9 Feb 2006

Directed by: Vivian Naefe
Writing credits: Cornelia Funke, Güzin Kar, Uschi Reich
Principal actors: Michelle von Treuberg, Paula Riemann, Zsa Zsa Inci Bürkle, Lucie Hollmann, Jette Hering

What do wild chickens and pygmies have in common? A clubhouse, a cool teacher, an armed and dangerous grandma and farm animals in this funny, young romantic adventure based on the pre-teen books Die Wilden Hühner by Cornelia Funke. Director Vivian Naefe and screenplay writers Güzin Heuser and Uschi Reich have made a film that the pre-teen girl crowd can really relate to.

Sprotte (Michelle von Treuberg) is the leader of a cool fifth-grade, all-girl gang, The Wild Chicks. She and her best friends Melanie, Trude, Frieda and Wilma wage a small schoolyard war with the Pygmies – Fred, Torte, Steve and Willi – their rival fifth-grade all-boy gang.

Life and school go on as usual for the Wild Chicks until Sprotte's grandma has the audacity to slaughter some of her older hens to fill her freezer for the winter. Sprotte and the other girls form a plan to save their namesakes who have become mascots for the gang. Unfortunately for them, they aren't very successful and realize that in order to save the hens, they need to have help. Hmmmm, whom to turn to? Luckily for them, the Pygmies are willing to set their differences aside to help the Wild Chicks. Of course, their decision is made a lot easier due to the fact that the adventure takes place at night and the risk of being shot at by Oma Slättberg (Doris Shade) is high.

If you think that the story is over with the hen's successful rescue, then you will be surprised that although this pre-teen adventure seems destined to wind down with a typically dry child-safe ending, it evolves further with a family drama, the loss of a club treehouse and romance between members of the Wild Chicks and the Pygmy gangs.

Both my daughters, Becka (10) and Ally (6 1/2), loved this film. They liked the adventure of saving the hens, the idea that both gangs had a clubhouse where they could go without their parents and yes, the romance – there is even a kiss! Both girls chose characters they would like to be if they could trade places: Ally would be Frieda (Paula Rieman, daughter of German actress Katja Rieman), who has curly hair and wears cool clothes, and Becka would be Sprotte, emotional and desperate for action.

Die Wilden Hühner is not your typical Pixar/Disney fare with more jokes and word-plays for adults than for kids, but an almost true to life adventure that older girls and boys (and their parents!) will enjoy. (Tracy Moede)

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