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Kids vs Wizards

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There's nothing more important than the importance of the mission"

Kids vs Wizards (rus. Дети против Волшебников; Alternatively titled Kids Against the Sorcerers) is a 2016 Russian CGI/live-action children science-fantasy film made by Sergiy Radoneshsky's Fund and loosely based on Nicole Zervas's book of the same name.

Plot

In 2018, the suvorovets' camp chief Gromov tells the cadets the story of the conspiracy of the masters. We cut to the year 2004, when the head of the suvorovets school, General Eropkin, is visited by his friend, the FSB general and the head of the occultism department, Sebastian Kuprianovich Savenkov. He gives Eropkin a briefing on the Scottish High Academy of Occult Sciences (HAOS). According to him, wizards are preparing to invade Russia, and several Russian orphans are used by sorcerers for experiments to overcome the so-called "Russian protection." They managed to contact the children, but they refused to come back. The reasons are unknown and can't be found out since their spy was uncovered. Eropkin's granddaughter, Nadia, also goes thereafter being tricked by a former student of HAOS, Leonard.

To replace them, Savenkov sends two of his cadets to the academy — Ivan Tsaritsyn and his friend Pyotr Tikhogromov. Suvorovets are sent on the mission on a military plane, accompanied by the lieutenant-colonel Telegin. Due to bad weather, cadets have to parachute in Kosovo, where they find a secret Serb military warehouse with dismantled minicopters. Telegin tells the cadets about the origin of the helicopters. In 1999, he and his volunteer squad rescued a Serb village from the bandits' attack. After assembling the mini-copters, Telegin suggests going to his friend, the Greek elder Geronda, to receive a blessing.

During a conversation with the cadets, Geronda notices Ivan’s pride and invites him to spend the night in a hermit's cell. During it he sees a nightmare where he buys the all-conquering sword but sells his own soul. Having received spiritual instruction and a wooden cross, Suvorov and Telegin fly away.

Arriving at the island where the academy is located, suvorovets get inside the truck. Telegin remains in the forest, waiting for their return. In the warehouse Ivan tries to find Pyotr, but he is stuck in a box of scorpions blocked by heavy containers. In search of a pitty, Ivan climbs to the roof, falls and, breaking the glass stained window of the atrium, falls into the fountain of the ceremony palace, where all of the students and teachers gathered to meet the guests of the witchcraft conference.

Posing as an Altaic shaman named Shu-shu-run, Ivan asks to enroll him and stages the "teleportation" of his friend. In between lectures, the guys are searching for the missing children from the orphanage. Walking through the castle, Ivan meets another compatriot – a girl named Asya, who tells him that all the other orphans are no longer true Russians, but “Russian-speakers”, and she herself would like to leave this school and return to Russia.

At one of the practical lessons of the broom-flying, Nadia is ordered to publicly renounce her country. She refuses to do this, and Pyotr stands up for her and beats the teacher up with a broom, for which both are put in jail. There, they meet Asya. Meanwhile, Ivan discovers that his friends are arrested. He comes to Kosh and, taking one of his bonsai pots, drops it on the floor. It reveals the crystal egg created by Faberge. Threatening to break the egg, Ivan orders Kosh to lead him to jail to the arrested guys, where he meets Nadia.

Ivan, Nadia and Kosh go in search of Peter and Asya and encounter one of the orphans – Arkady (in the book - George Merlovich). He awakens pride in Ivan, and Kosh freezes the cadet. But Ivan remembers his repentance and comes to life. Arkady escapes. Ivan, realizing that Kosh does not know anything about Pyotr, lets him go.

Having received a distress call from Ivan, Telegin hurries to help the children. Making his way through the guards, he grabs a weapon and finds Ivan and Nadia. At this time, the guests in the reception hall are waiting for the appearance of a certain “Chosen One”, which turns out to be a runaway girl named Ela (Elvira Turukhtai in the book). The wizards want to sacrifice Peter and Asya, but they are saved by Ivan who blows up the roof of the atrium. Taking advantage of the panic, the guys run out of the castle, but immediately get surrounded. Ivan reads a prayer, and the wooden cross in his hand begins to glow, which helps Telegin to find the guys and take them on board the helicopter. When surrounded by NATO squadrons, Telegin tells the kids to pray. They are saved by Russian submarines sent by Savenkov and Eropkin, and the survivors safely fly home.

In the end, it is revealed that Gromov is, in fact, Pyotr Tikhogromov and his friend who arrived at the camp in the beginning sequence is Ivan, who is now married to Nadia. His cadets, however, should now prepare for their new mission as the evil rises again...

Why It Sucks

  1. First of all, it's nothing more than a Russian Orthodox religious and Russian nationalist militaristic propaganda film which is weird because Sergiy Radoneshsky's Fund claims to be neutral to all nations and religions.
    • It's also close to Fascism/Nazism propaganda. It's possible that it was supposed to promote Fascism in a Russian flavor.
  2. Terrible CGI. Low budget is not an excuse, as the movie is stated to be sponsored by Russian National Cinema Fund, and even the Russia's Ministry of Culture also sponsoring them doesn't help, considering that the movie was in development for 4 years.
    • It doesn't help that the people behind the movie's funding are implicated in charges of embezzlement, especially Sergey Bezdelov, as read on this article (Russian)
  3. It portrays most of non-Russian Orthodox and non-Russian people negatively. While the creators claim to be against USA's militaristic policy and insults of Russia, their movie promotes the very same thing, except this time it's Russia's militaristic policy:
    • The events of the movie start on the 1st of September in 2004, when a school in Beslan was captured by the terrorists. It's unknown if it's implied that Leonard's arrival caused it.
    • In Telegin's flashback sequence, NATO soldiers are portrayed as living devils as they hunt down and shoot civilians for no apparent reason. Yes, no plot to destroy their potential enemy Yugoslavia or help Kosovo get independence, just pure violence;
      • This is even supported with the words of a Serb woman speaking with Telegin: "Where have you been? We've been waiting for you so long...<...> The Albanians killed my granddaughter, shot Old Man Zaran, and even killed all the nuns up on the mountain,all of them,and they burned down the monastery..." Of course, separatists did some pretty nasty things to civilians, but the movie, however, ignores that the Yugoslavian government forces also committed war crimes.
    • All teachers and students in HAOS have stereotypical accents and unrealistic model designs, on the contrary to the protagonists;
    • One of NATO navy captains is black.
  4. It's based on one of the most controversial books of all time, which was not only disturbing and violent, but also violated copyright laws by adding characters like Harry Potter, Hermione Granger (she's named "Hermioma" here, but still), Gandalf/Dumbledore (yes, they are the same character in the book) and even Joanne Rowling herself.
  5. It includes some scenes that are too intense for a "12+" movie. By the way, the whole thing about Kosovo is too disturbing for the movie's target audience.
  6. Those few jokes that were in the movie aren't funny at all.
  7. Some characters, like Leonard, Ela and an unnamed girl who worships a Barbie doll, are very ugly-looking.
  8. Lip-syncing and voices barely even match.
  9. Historical inaccuracy:
    • HAOS is situated in the building of a Nazi camp in Great Britain without any explanation.
    • When arguing with her grandfather, Nadia mentions that her parents are in Australia at the moment. Her parents in a major non-NATO ally country of the USA? Eropkin, you should have looked after your child better!
    • According to Telegin, the war in Kosovo began after Serbs let the wizards onto their land. So,does that mean that Serbs themselves are to blame for the uprising of separatists and NATO bombings?
    • Nadia claims that the Russian Empire and the Russian Orthodox faith, not the atheistic USSR and many other countries like the UK and USA, defeated Nazi Germany in World War II.
  10. One too many religious symbolism. This includes: a NATO soldier stomping on a cross, a sliver cross glowing in Ivan's hand and Russian submarines arriving right after the kids pray to the Mother of God, though we know that Savenkov sent them on the spot.
  11. The movie will try to make you hate practically anyone who is not Russian, Greek or Serb. And you say Ukraine is fascist.
  12. Lots of plot holes. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • In one scene, Nadia mentions a bouquet which was supposed to be given to her teacher by Leonard, but it was never shown.
    • Ivan has flashbacks of deleted scenes with Geronda.
    • If HAOS is in Scotland, what were Ivan and Pyotr doing in Kosovo and Greece, especially since United States have military access to both of these states?
    • After getting arrested, Nadia asks: "Where's the kindness they were telling us about?" While the HAOS teachers taught them nothing but evil stuff.
    • Why of all places would the "Chosen One" be born in Russia if it was the most defended country?
    • The movie's main moral is "magic is evil". So, does Geronda seeing through Ivan's dream and a glowing wooden cross count as magic?
  13. The movie's ending makes itself completely pointless. The cadets' mission was to save the orphans from the wizards, Ivan even says at one point: "We, Russians, don't leave our friends behind." A few minutes later, however, he aborts the mission because the kids they were ordered to save were "no longer Russian".
  14. At one point it uses the "Chosen One" cliché. 'Nuff said.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. In comparison to the book it's based of, the movie is way better somewhat:
    • Harry Potter, who suffered adaptational villainy and was revealed to be a woman, Hermione's sister and Merlin's clone at the same time, is completely absent from the movie, along with other copyright-protected characters.
    • Swearing is removed to apply to "12+" rating. For example, "Russian a**hole" is replaced with "Russian swine".
    • Leonard meets his fate off-screen, meaning that, while the sequel might happen, the events of the following books will be ignored.
  2. Some unintentionally hilarious lines, like:
    • "There's nothing more important than the importance of the mission" by one of the elders;
    • "You'll be dead, Russian scum!" by Arkady;
    • "Shut up, Russian swine!" by Ela;
    • "Dammit! Why don't you die, Russian protection?! But that doesn't matter, they will come and make you eat some lead!" by Professor Kosh.

Videos

The Movie

Reviews

Reception

The movie received extremely negative ratings from film critics, with some exceptions like a certain Adekvatnick's review (though he is rumored to be a troll). While the creators claimed that most negative reviews were from Ukraine, which was sad "because the movie was supposed to unite all the nations", Russian blogger BadComedian replied: "Your animation is received in the same way by anyone, be it Russian, or Ukrainian or the blind. But there's one thing you are right at - the movie does unite people. Any person, no matter what nationality or race he belongs to, will hate this trash."

Comments

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