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Western Animation / Pinchcliffe Grand Prix

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37 miles north, a little to the east and the merest tilt upwards, lies Flåklypa.

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix or Flåklypa Grand Prix is a 1975 Norwegian animated feature film, directed by Ivo Caprino based on the works of author Kjell Aukrust, and featuring characters from many of Aukrust's books.

In the tiny mountain town Flåklypa ("Pinchcliffe" in the English dub) lives the bicycle-repairman and inventor Reodor Felgen ("Theodore Rimspoke") and his two assistants, Solan Gundersen ("Sonny Duckworth," a cheerful and optimistic morning bird) and Ludvig ("Lambert," a nervous, pessimistic and melancholic hedgehog).

One day, the trio discovers that one of Reodor's former assistants, Rudolf Blodstrupmoen ("Rudolph Gore-Slimey"), has stolen his design for a race car engine and has become a world champion Formula One driver. Solan secures funding from an Arab oil sheik who happens to be vacationing in Flåklypa, and to enter the race, the trio builds a gigantic racing car: "Il Tempo Gigante".

This movie is one of the (if not THE) biggest successes in Norwegian film: It's popular enough that it has sold more tickets within Norway than the entire Norwegian population.

Solan and Ludvig would go on to star in many books by Aukrust, usually composed of small humorous Slice of Life vignettes, and the pair would return to the movie world in the hand-drawn animated movie Solan, Ludvig og Gurin med Reverompa ("Solan, Ludvig and Gurin with the Fox Tail") in 1998, in which Reodor had a minor role. In this story, Solan is an Oslo private detective, with Ludvig as his assistant, and they are tasked with finding a nisse (sort of a Norwegian gnome) named Gurin, who has grown a fox's tail.

In 2013, a new stop-motion animated movie with the characters and setting (but with a different design and a different cast and crew) was released, named Jul i Flåklypa (English title: "Louis & Luca and the Snow Machine"). This was followed up by two more movies in the same style; Herfra til Flåklypa ("Louis & Luca — The Big Cheese Race") in 2015, and Månelyst i Flåklypa ("Louis & Luca — Mission to the Moon") in 2018. These three movies see Solan and Ludvig (here renamed "Louis" and "Luca" in the English version) back to living with Reodor, and each movie would heavily involve Reodor's inventions... from a snow machine in the first movie to a moon rocket in the third.

Pinchcliffe Grand Prix provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Rudolf Blodstrupmoen, while never a particularly nice person, wasn't a bad guy in Aukrust's original writings. In the movie he's much more ruthless and more willing to do whatever it takes to win, which includes stealing, cheating and sabotage.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: As a literal example, Emanuel Desperados, aside from being a gorilla driver, also guest stars in a human band at the unveiling of Il Tempo Gigante, naturally as a drummer.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: Sheikh Ben Redic Fy Fazan. Translates something like Sheikh Ben Radish Gosh Tarnit.
  • Author Avatar: Kjell Aukrust once described both Solan and Ludvig as this, claiming that "Solan is me before I turned fifty — Ludvig is me after I turned fifty."
  • Badass Driver. Everyone partaking in the race, but special credit goes to Reodor and Rudolf.
  • Belly Dancer: A belly-dancing bird (in more than one sense of the word).
  • Breakout Character: Ludvig, the only character in the movie who hadn't appeared previously in Kjell Aukrust's books (outside a single illustration), emerged as the star of the movie and went on to become Aukrust's most beloved character, starring in many books alongside Solan (who until now had been a solo character).
  • Burning Rubber: Il Tempo Gigante is a fast and powerful car, to the degree that the asphalt itself gets roasted and curls off the ground when it takes off.
  • Cool Car: Il Tempo Gigante
  • Dub Name Change: Since the Norwegian names are often difficult to pronounce for anyone who isn't Norwegian (and a lot of the names are pun-based anyway), the various language dubs often change the names of the characters. The English names for the main characters are:
    • Reodor Felgen: Theodore Rimspoke
    • Solan Gundersen: Sonny Duckworth
    • Ludvig: Lambert
    • Rudolf Blodstrupmoen: Rudolph Gore-Slimey
    • Ben Redic Fy-Fazan: Abdul Ben Bonanza
  • Feather Fingers: Solan Gundersen has hands. Still a bird.
  • Funny Animal: The movie has Solan the morning bird and Ludvig the hedgehog. Emanuel Desperados the gorilla also counts, but he exhibits more animal-like qualities in his body language and inability to speak coherently.
  • Gratuitous English: Before enacting his plan to sabotage Reodor's car, Rudolf says in badly-pronounced English: "Timenote vill sjåvv."
  • Heroic Second Wind: Because of Rudolf Blodstrupmoen damaging Il Tempo Gigante's engine, Reodor frequently falls behind the other racers. It's when Ludvig holds the car's engine together with his own hands that Reodor zooms past his competitors, complete with Theme Music Power-Up.
  • Idiot Ball: Reodor knows that Rudolf has paid his workshop a visit in the dead of night, and that Rudolf can resort to underhanded tactics, yet he seemingly never checks Il Tempo Gigante for any sabotage before the race - even though the critical MacGuffin component is in plain sight and visibly damaged.
  • Karma Houdini: Apart from placing second in the big race, Rudolf Blodstrupmoen never faces any sanctions for any of his dirty tricks.
  • Lighter and Softer: Solan, compared to how he's portrayed in books and other stories. In the books, he drinks, smokes and swears, and is in all ways a Small Name, Big Ego character. In this movie he's a lot more childlike and is at worst a cheeky, loveable rascal. For the two later movies, he was allowed some of his edge back, especially in Gurin where he's essentially a parody of the somewhat dodgy Private Detective, complete with Private Eye Monologue.
  • Live Mink Coat: The fox Enkefru Stengelføhn-Glad has around her neck is obviously alive enough to bob its head in accord with the music during the unveiling of Il Tempo Gigante.
  • Pit Girls: Actually a guy - none other than the Butt-Monkey Gudleik Knotten, who delivers the mail, and is known for being hit by cars over and over. Considering he is the guy with the flag and therefore has to stand right by the racetrack...
  • You No Take Candle: The Sheikh.
    Sheikh Ben Redic Fy Fazan: I many money. You all broke.
    • Averted in the English dub, where he speaks with a heavy accent, but mostly uses normal grammar.

The follow-up movies provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Just like in the first movie, both the follow-up movie takes an established Aukrust character and puts them in an antagonistic role. Some of them do end up with a Heel–Face Turn, though.
    • In Gurin med Reverompa it's the widow Stengelføhn-Glad, who comes across as a bit of a Cruella de Vil knockoff and even gets Rudolf Blodstrupmoen as her sidekick.
    • In The Snow Machine its Frimand Pløsen, the chief editor of the local newspaper, who is a lot more sympathetic but goes just a bit too far in order to get the news story he wants.
    • In The Big Cheese Race it's dairy owner Ollvar O. Kleppvold, whose goal is partly to discredit the town of Flåklypa in the big cheese race and partly to get his hands on Reodor's workshop and inventions. (He also provides a few obstacles in Mission to the Moon when his plot to smuggle a cheese to the moon leads to some complications for the heroes.)
    • In Mission to the Moon it's the bureaucrat Vigfus Skonken, who helps out on the moon journey but has his own less than idealistic reasons for doing so.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Gurin med Reverompa was based on a shory story by Aukrust, but since this stories was... well, short, they had to expand them with a lot of extra materials and plotlines, as well as make Solan and Ludvig active participants in the story (the original short story just had Solan tell Ludvig the story of Gurin).
  • Advertised Extra: Gurin, in Gurin med Reverompa. Though the story is really about him, he doesn't get a lot of screen-time; more than half the movie is dedicated to the madcap adventures of Solan and Ludvig as they try to find him, and Gurin himself is only in the movie for about 20 minutes altogether... less than a third of the movie's runtime.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: The first movie has a very distinct look and feel that, wisely enough, none of the follow-up movies even try to recreate. Gurin sticks out the most, being hand-drawn animation rather than stop motion, but the new trilogy, which returns to the stop motion medium, has notably different designs and puppets.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ludvig in The Snow Machine, who saves Reodor and Solan when they're in danger and ultimately ends up being the one to resolve the main plot.
    • Parodied with Solan in Gurin, when he spends the climax of the story off-screen, and barges in to announce that he's here to save the day and has everything under control... after the problems are over and the plot has been resolved.
  • Break the Haughty: Gurin tries to invoke this, with the titular character being a prankster and Gadfly who after growing a fox tail gets to be on the receiving end of teasings and pranks.
  • Demoted to Extra: Reodor, in Gurin, is only in a few scenes (though he does help Solan and Ludvig with their quest to find Gurin). He's back as a major character in the new trilogy, though.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: In Gurin, Ludvig is entranced by the beautiful music played at the restaurant and lapses into a floaty dream sequence. Counts as a bit of a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Solan smokes a cigar in some of the scenes in Gurin, including the opening scene. He seems to be doing it mostly to come across as a Cultured Badass, but his success varies.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Solan, in Gurin. He narrates the story and tries to present himself as the hero, but he doesn't actually contribute anything to the resolution and spends the entire climax off-screen, only showing up to "save the day" after the day has already been saved. He still gets to share in the glory afterwards, though.
  • Immoral Journalist: In The Snow Machine:
    • Editor-in-chief Frimand Pløsen's newspaper is failing because he keeps making incorrect predictions that it'll start snowing soon. His solution? Pressuring the inventor Theodore Rimspoke to make a snow machine. It gets worse as Pløsen undergoes Sanity Slippage: near the end of the film, he's even willing to let Pinchcliffe disappear in the snow just because it'd make an amazing story. Even after returning to his senses, he doesn't take any responsibility for his actions.
    • Pløsen's journalist Melvind Snerken is a slacker who doesn't seem to be terribly concerned about the accuracy of his articles. At one point he tries to write a recap of a sports match that hasn't even taken place yet.
  • Invisibility: Reodor accidentally turns himself invisible in The Snow Machine. Uniquely, being invisible also renders him unable to talk, so he can't tell Solan and Ludvig what happened to him (trying to communicate through written notes just makes them think there is a ghost around when they see notepads and pencils fly by themselves.) Later in the movie, Solan's beak is accidentally turned invisible, which means he can't talk either.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though ultimately a good person, Solan is notably more jerkish, selfish and egocentric in these movies than he is in the original. This is of course because the follow-up movies are based on Aukrust's writings rather than the first movie, and so use the books' characterizations of Solan rather than the Lighter and Softer one from Flåklypa Grand Prix.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: A variant in The Snow Machine. When Reodor turns hinself invisible, the narrator steps in to tell the audience that the reason we're not hearing the many inventive swearwords Reodor is currently using, is that he's turned inaudible as well as invisible.
  • Private Detective: Solan has become one in Gurin, with Ludvig as his secretary and assistant. He's essentially a parody of the Hard Boiled Detective; the opening scenes of the movie are a Film Noir homage, with the camera panning through the city of Oslo during a Dark And Stormy Night, until we reach the small shack where Solan's detective agency has its office, to be greeted by a cigar-smoking Solan launching into a Private Eye Monologue while trying to look like a Cultured Badass.
  • Sanity Slippage: Frimand Pløsen gradually undergoes this over the course of The Snow Machine as he keeps looking for ways to save the local newspaper after most of the population has turned against him because he keeps reporting that it'll snow, yet there's no snow in sight. It's by the time he leaves the snow machine on to break an old snow record that he really starts going overboard in looking for bigger news stories, to the point where he doesn't care that Flåklypa might disappear entirely in all the snow because it'd make such an amazing news story. By the end of the movie he has returned to his senses, though, and decided to stop focusing so much on the weather and look for other news stories.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Solan introduces himself like this in Gurin, ("Gundersen. Solan Gundersen.") as a part of his Private Detective shtick.

The Licensed Game provides examples of:

  • Digital Tabletop Game Adaptation: The original version of the game features a chess Mini-Game with voice clips from Sheikh Ben Redic Fy-Fazan, who's seen playing the game in the movie. It also has checkers and mahjong (solitaire). Also, the sock matching mini-game is a take on the game Concentration.
  • Maze Game: There's a mini-game where you play as Ludvig trying to navigate a maze while picking up collectibles and avoiding bees.
  • Memory Match Mini-Game: One mini-game has you reveal two socks at a time and trying to find matching pairs.