Based on the books by Marc-Uwe Kling, director Dani Levy is now bringing “Everything on Sugar!” THE KANGAROO CHRONICLES as a film in cinemas and does itself no favors with the structure of a plot-driven feature film. What’s more: his story of an unlikely duo of a small artist and a kangaroo, who conspire against a right-wing populist real estate shark, grossly negligently plays into the hands of the political right. We reveal more about this in our review.
The next steps are discussed in the pub.
The plot summary
One day it suddenly appears at Marc-Uwe’s door: a kangaroo, a communist and crazy about pancakes. At first it just wants to borrow eggs. Then milk, a whisk, the stove and finally it moves in with its neighbors with everything it has to offer. A community of convenience turns into a friendship, because Marc-Uwe (Dimitrij Schaad) and the kangaroo soon realize that they have a common enemy: the right-wing populist real estate shark Dwigs (Henry Hübchen), who wants to demolish the couple’s residential area and the prestige skyscraper project want to build on it. Together with their neighbor Maria (Rosalie Thomass), with whom Marc-Uwe is secretly in love, he and the kangaroo come up with a plan to bring Dwigs down. But in order to succeed, they not only have to face a horde of violent Nazis, but also sink an expensive car in a pool. A series of absurd events begins…
The Kangaroo Chronicles Movie Meaning of ending
The German author, songwriter, cabaret artist and cabaret artist Marc-Uwe Kling began his “Kangaroo Chronicles”, which are now particularly popular among student circles, at the theater and later continued them as a podcast on Berlin’s Radio Fritz. In it, the eponymous communist kangaroo gives short, pointed anecdotes; often peppered with strong political statements. These short stories proved so successful in audio form that Kling was soon able to publish them in book form. In 2009, the first volume “The Kangaroo Chronicles: Views of a cheeky marsupial” was published by Berlin’s Ullstein Verlag, which has been followed by three more to date. Given its immense success – there was predominantly positive feedback both from the reviewing press and from readers, who regularly put the books on the bestseller lists – it was only a matter of time before someone secured the film rights to the material and finally bought it would bring to the big screen. It was Dani Levy, director of films such as “Alles auf Zucker!” or, given the genre as political satire, probably even more appropriate, “Mein Führer – The Really Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler”. But although “The Kangaroo Chronicles” is also primarily about the topic of politics (here: right versus left), the comparison with another film in its genre is much closer: In its best moments, Levy’s work is reminiscent of the film adaptation of the novel “Er is back” – unfortunately implemented much, much weaker and therefore sometimes downright negligent in its basic message. If you don’t think for yourself, the film gives the impression that the left is far more dangerous than the right, although it would probably be best in the spirit of the kangaroo to favor a political center. But in the end you’re left with a bitter taste.
Suddenly a kangaroo appears in front of Marc-Uwe’s door and first wants pancake ingredients and then moves in with him a short time later.
In David Wnendt’s film adaptation of the novel “He’s back,” Adolf Hitler himself appears as if by magic in the German capital in 2015 and begins to embark on a similar populist triumph using the same means as back then in actually enlightened Germany. The artistically self-confident trick: In order for the realization of the success of Hitler’s methods to really hit you in the heart, the novel already provoked that you have to fall for the Führer over a certain period of time before the further complications of the plot pulling the rug out from under the spectators’ feet. Marc-Uwe Kling, who wrote a completely new framework for the screen version of his “Kangaroo Chronicles” around his anecdotes, which were otherwise strung together like short stories, is now taking a similar approach for his film – but his film misses the final punch in the stomach. What’s more: Over the course of the slim ninety minutes of “The Kangaroo Chronicles,” events occur again and again that, if one were to wish the film harm, would prove the right-wing nationalist political corner right. Since we hardly want to assume this given the originals, “The Kangaroo Chronicles” can best be assessed as grossly negligent in terms of narrative.
Examples: When Marc-Uwe and the kangaroo meet a group of Nazis on a trip to the city park, the marsupial kicks the troop’s dog several meters away for no apparent reason and then philosophizes about which breed of dog flies the furthest. This may serve as a quick joke, but in terms of content it suddenly puts the politically left-leaning main characters in the negative light of the dispute seekers against whom the Nazis only want to defend themselves. The plans of the right-wing populist real estate mogul Dwigs can be boiled down quite soberly to exchanging a building with lots and lots of living space for buildings with significantly less living space. Here, too, the protagonists ultimately resort to illegal, brutal or otherwise nasty means to thwart the plans, instead of soberly dealing with the realization that, according to German law, this building should not be built at all. And when the kangaroo repeatedly steals a lucky charm as a running gag without this being relevant to any part of the plans, it reinforces the impression that Marc-Uwe Kling assumes from the outset that the viewer already knows how all these characters are tick, because otherwise you would have to lose sympathy for the main characters very quickly. He probably does, because hardly any viewer who identifies more with the right-wing side of politics will want to see “The Kangaroo Chronicles” in the cinema. But should someone like that get lost in the cinema, Kling will give them a surprising amount of encouragement for the victim role they like to take on.
The right-wing populist real estate shark Dwigs (Henry Hübchen) looks around on site.
Of course, there are plenty of moments in the script, which runs uncoordinated for a long time, in which such questionable scenes should be put into perspective. Dwigs and his entourage practice open populism and express themselves clearly against minorities and foreigners. The film also leaves no stone unturned in the Nazi clan around Daniel Zillmann (“Heil”), who plays a great offensive role. But his satirical punchlines, which are much more effective in the short story-like books, never really catch fire here. In the end it all boils down to a one-dimensional “Nazis are stupid”; And it is precisely from this one-dimensionality, which results in nothing but clumsy fights or difficulties with complex language, that one of the biggest weak points in the film arises. Because precisely where “The Kangaroo Chronicles” so often makes itself vulnerable in terms of its scenic structure, Kling would have to counter with strong gags and clever observations. Instead, he delivers completely incoherent references to video games or “Pulp Fiction” that might have been nice in sketch form, but simply seem out of place here due to the lack of coherence. And that’s a shame. Because the part that was probably considered to be the biggest difficulty in advance is convincing.
Even in international and therefore much larger budget cinema, the computer effect of a single living being in an otherwise real setting is quite a challenge. Films like “Paddington” or “Life of Pi” have proven how it can work. In Germany, however, the attempt with “Benjamin Blümchen” recently turned out to be an absolute catastrophe in terms of tricks. Those responsible for “The Kangaroo Chronicles” didn’t have nearly as much money at their disposal as the makers of “Paddington,” but the visual result is still more than impressive. Only occasionally does it seem strange when the kangaroo contorts its mouth to speak (admittedly, you just don’t know what it would look like if kangaroos could speak). Apart from that, the CGI marsupial fits perfectly into the haptic setting. His co-stars, who fortunately didn’t always use the same German actors, are also completely convincing. In addition to Daniel Zillmann, newcomer Dimitrij Schaad (“Asphaltgorillas”) is particularly recommended for further acting projects. It’s a shame: He deserved a better film that would probably finally make him known to a wider audience.
Conclusion: The opposite of good is good intentions. The film adaptation of the popular “Kangaroo Chronicles” is not nearly as pointed and politically astutely observational as the books are. The animation of the kangaroo and the cast are convincing.
“The Kangaroo Chronicles” can be seen in USA cinemas from March 5th.