Release Date – 2nd June 2023, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 28 minutes, Directors – Mikk Mägi, Oskar Lehemaa
With his grandchildren (Mikk Mägi, Oskar Lehemaa) visiting for the Summer, The Old Man (Mägi) must chase down his escaped cow (Märt Avandi) before it explodes due to not being milked, or is killed by a former milker (Jan Uuspõld)
If A Town Called Panic had a head-on collision with South Park the result would likely look something like The Old Man Movie. A crazed barrage of gloriously silly jokes fusing the crude and the absurd as characters try to live the much-celebrated “milk life!” Characters with clumped-together and loosely-carved looks, speaking with highly cartoonish voices (largely provided by writer-directors Oskar Lehemaa and Mikk Mägi) and simply heightened by the use of stop-motion animation there’s plenty on display which lets you know early on that this is going to be an utterly bonkers ride.
The Old Man (Mägi) lives a quiet life of routine at the top of a small village. Every day he goes into his barn, milks his cow (Märt Avandi) – spraying milk straight from the udder into the jars of paying customer. However, when his three grandchildren Aino (Lehemaa), Mart and Priidik (Mägi) visit from the city for the summer the cow is quickly set loose when they believe their grandfather is abusing it. It’s only in the morning that they’re told that if a cow isn’t milked the milk stores in the udder until it explodes. The group are rushed onto a tractor (minus Mart who’s unknowingly left behind to come up with an invention to get milk from other animals) and power into the forest where they hope to find the cow before it’s too late.
Yet, whilst racing against time the family are also trying to get to the key animal before Old Milker (Jan Uuspõld), not only a villain with a fantastically drawn out evil laugh but also a former milker who encountered this exact problem many years before and has since been more milk than man. Determined not to allow this to happen again he’s set on killing the cow before a disastrous lactopalypse. The gags throughout are fitting to a film with a narrative as silly as this, but it’s clear that the creatives are taking the silliness seriously. Crudity isn’t there just for the sake of crudity (and there’s a fair deal of it in the short 88-minute run-time) and you can see that, amongst the feeling that the filmmakers enjoyed putting the jokes together, there was a seriousness to the scripting process and putting things together for the finished product.
Gags come thick and fast with gradual increments expanding upon certain jokes and points. Stages of jokes acting as continuing yet new points and each getting a response; there are plenty of laughs and giggles to be found here. This is a film designed to be silly and to simply make the audience laugh, and it certainly succeeds in doing so. The madness is made clear from the start and it’s easy to engage with it from the opening prologue of a public information film about milk. Yes, maybe the final 15 minutes may be a bit long-winded, but there’s still plenty to amuse and entertain within the madcap ideas which are spun. Imagine a film which has the word Lactopalypse in the title. The Old Man Movie is that film. And it’s wonderfully bonkers.
Perhaps the maddest animated film since A Town Called Panic, The Old Man Movie: Lactopalypse is a gloriously silly film with plenty of laughs, which themselves have clearly been taken seriously by creatives who appear to have had a great time making this absurd delight.