Our freckle-faced heroine returns to wreak more havoc in the sleepy, Swedish hamlet of Villa Villekula! Picking up from the last movie, having decided not to follow her father to sea Pippi Longstocking remains with her best friends Tommy (Pär Sundberg) and Annika (Maria Persson). Wacky adventures ensue as Pippi throws a bizarre birthday party, turns the Swedish education system upside down with her single visit to school, and builds the world’s biggest snowball.
Those thieving tramps Thunder Carlson (Hans Clarin) and Blom (Paul Esser) are still trying to nab Pippi’s bag of gold coins, while fussy Miss Prysselius (Margot Trooger) persists in her attempts to get the magical minx into a children’s home. Pippi’s heart sinks at Christmastime, as she feels left out of the family celebrations and laments the death of her mother. In a heart-warming conclusion, the children of Villa Villekula, led by Tommy and Annika, arrive at Pippi’s home to present her with a Christmas gift and their love.
Like its predecessor, Pippi Goes On Board was patched together from the 13 part Swedish TV series. This second movie was assembled with a better regard for continuity, but the episodic structure and stream of consciousness plotting (screenplay by original author Astrid Lindgren) make this best suited to small children and die-hard fans. Nevertheless, the film features some of Pippi’s most memorable flights of fancy. Pippi and friends indulge in kiddie psychedelia as they swallow ‘magic pills’ (actually dried peas) so that they’ll remain young forever. Our indestructible super-girl jumps off a cliff and tries to fly (she finally got the hang of it by her last movie - Pippi on the Run (1971)). And of course, the legendary classroom scene where Pippi rides in on horseback and bamboozles teacher with her chaotic questions. It’s all in good fun though, as Pippi is never malicious. Merely deflating pomposity with her whimsy and loopy logic.
Inger Nilsson is once again, a fantastically fiery force of nature. Born to play Pippi Longstocking, she gambols onscreen in a dreamy delirium punctuated by moments of melancholy. This time round, Maria Persson gives her a run for her money as apple-cheeked, level-headed Annika. She continued to develop a winning presence throughout the series. The final scene with children gathering to wish Pippi good cheer is genuinely touching, a reminder that for all her superhuman strength and strange powers, she is just a lonely little girl. Some might balk at the dubbing and old fashioned production values, but you could do a lot worse than sit your child down for a movie that treasures kindness, generosity and friendship. That and just a pinch of anarchy.