Crusade in Jeans is one of the most popular Dutch children's books. There have been plans for a movie for several years now, but due to the budget it was never realized. Until now. Ben Sombogaart, Foreign Movie Oscar nominee for Twin Sisters, directed a solid, exciting and even moving version of the book. Even more praiseworthy: the budget was only about 10 million euros (12 million dollars)!
This English spoken movie is about 16 year old Dolf Wega (a great Joe Flynn). He just screwed up an important soccer match and wants to use the scientific experiment of his mother - a time machine - to go back in time to fix it. Unfortunately he types in the wrong data and arrives in the year 1212. He almost gets mugged by two thieves but he's rescued by Jenne (Stephanie Leonidas). He joins a children's crusade heading for Jerusalem and with his modern wit and responsibility he becomes the actual leader of the group. But what are the real plans of the people who organized this crusade? And why are they heading for Genoa in Italy instead of Israel?
Compared to the book director Sombogaart took the liberty of changing a lot. Jenna wasn't in the book for example. Neither was the soccer play. But all these changes work out fine. The Dolf from the book was almost a super being. But in the movie he's much more human: he's afraid, venerable and not that strong physically. If you filmed all the scenes from the book you'd have a movie that lasted about 4 hours. Now it runs a little longer than two. Although we were watching a version that wasn't 100 percent finished -' some of the special effects were lacking, the soundtrack needed more music -' I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of the movie. There were some SFX scenes with big crowds giving the movie an epic feel, but most of the time Sombogaart kept the action small. And that worked out fine because of the way the actors performed. Both Joe Flynn (Dolf) and Stephanie Leonidas (Jenne) were great. There's a real chemistry between the two, making you really care for the characters. And of course there's Emily Watson, giving a great performance as Dolf's mother.
So was it a flawless movie? No, some things could have been better. The building up to the end for example, realizing why the crusade was really organized. That could've used a little more suspense. The look of the streets in the Middle Ages: it all looked too clean to me. But then again, I have never been there myself.
But the piece de resistance was really the moving ending. It differs a lot from the book, emphasizing the fact that they're actually two different things. Unlike other films I know I will still pick up the book again to read it. This movie hasn't spoiled that for me. Crusade in Jeans is a great movie that everybody should see. I sincerely hope that it will also be released in the States and England, because this film deserves to be successful. Go check it out when you have the opportunity!
Review by Joejoesan from the Internet Movie Database.