Based on the oft-told children's fable of Astrid Lindgren, this Canadian-Swedish-German co-production is children's filmmaking in the old tradition: no in-jokes, zilch product placement. Which still makes for a generally entertaining diversion for the less media-savvy tots.
The story is as old as the hills: after watching her seafaring father go overboard during a violent tempest, pushy nine year-old redhead Pippi returns home, resolute in the belief that her pop will return. Hooking up with neighbourhood kids Tommy and Anika, Pippi embarks on various "adventures" involving seeing off interfering neighbour Mrs. Prysselius who wants to put Pippi in a home, and foiling the obligatory bumbling villains.
Pippi treads a fine line between feminist heroine and obnoxious brat, redefining her own rules in a feisty manner yet doing so in a way that is occasionally perky and irksome. Elsewhere, few of the supporting characters hit the mark. Although lacking the detail and fluidity of Disney, the animation is charmingly old school, with the character animation on Pippi bold and colourful. Moreover, the score, by Swedish composer Anders Berland, is easy on the ear, and the whole thing is infused with a good-natured sensibilty.