Martijn Vonk prefers to spend his time drawing and writing stories instead of helping in his parent’s shop. When a film company arrives in town to shoot a medieval fantasy, Martijn is offered to play the lead by the overenthusiastic director, and his grandfather is cast as a wizard. Meanwhile, a real sorcerer from India arrives on the scene, searching for a magical gathering place on which a confrontation between good and evil must be held. Martijn befriends Michiel, a young boy who is being held captive by the dark sorcerer.
Young Martijn Vonk (Bart Gabriëlse) is a dreamer who flunks his grades despite an 8 for artistry and a 9 for writing. His parents, most especially his father (Cor van Rijn), a practical man who runs ‘Vonk’s Bazar’ naturally does not believe in make believe and wishes Martijn would face reality (and not daydream while minding the shop). On one of these occasions when Martijn is alone in the Bazar, a mysterious Sorceror (Joost Prinsen) appears. Immediately after that, a film crew comes to town to film ‘Roderick en de Draak’. Jeroen Krabbé gives an over the top performance as the director, with Alexander Pola as his penny pinching producer. In a stroke of luck that could only happen in a children’s tale, the film is still looking for a boy to play the lead part of Roderick, and Martijn is picked out as soon as director Krabbé lays his eyes on him. Afraid his parents will object, Martijn asks his grandfather (Karst favorite Lex Goudsmit) to sign the contract, and guess what? Grandpa is offered to play the wizard in the film (as the original actor had just dropped out). If you think that’s far fetched, you haven’t seen anything yet.
Now both Martijn and his granddad are keeping their newfound careers a secret from the rest of the family. Luckily Martijn doesn’t have to dig very deep to play the part of Roderick, as his medieval character mirrors his real life quite closely. Grandpa however, is under contract to perform magic tricks for some strange reason (lets call it a plot development). So, Martijn decides to seek out the real live magician who visited his shop, and finds a traveling circus (what? There’s also a circus in town, too?). The evil looking wizard is holding a young boy, Michiel (Vincent Meyer) hostage, and Martijn sets about to help him escape (as if he didn’t have enough to do). Of course, this also means more sneaking around behind the Vonk parents’ backs. The sorcerer (the real one, not grandpa) needs Michiel to help perform an upcoming ritual, as the boy has powers over animals. Naturally, the film company has set up at the very place the ritual is to be held. Wishing for them to leave as soon as possible, each time the prop-men (ambiguously gay duo Albert Mol and Leen Jongewaard) cause an accident, the black wizard uses his magic rewind button power (you weren’t expecting great special effects, now were you?) and Grandpa walks off with the praise.
In ‘Martijn en de Magiër’, director Karst van der Meulen combined all the right ingredients for his usual kind of children’s entertainment. Even the bad guys aren’t all that evil in the end. Starring an all star cast of familiar Dutch performers (more of them than usual actually, even the Grand Dame of Dutch Television, Mies Bouwman appears in a blink and you’ll miss her cameo). Van der Meulen also manages to combine fantasy with family drama without getting preachy. Despite the far fetched storyline and the over the top film crew characters, Martijn’s stressful relationship with his dad remains very believable. Each time Martijn tries to explain what he’s been up to, his parents won’t listen, and as they start arguing, both parties display fiery tempers and neither comes off very sympathetic. On a side note, older members of the audience probably got a chuckle out of the implications of seeing Albert Mol and Leen Jongewaard sharing a camper, especially way back in 1979. Many years later Jeroen Krabbé took up directing for real and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he really is such an excitable fellow behind the camera as his character was in this picture.
Director: Karst van der Meulen
Writers: Piet Geelhoed, Karst van der Meulen
Stars: Bart Gabriëlse, Lex Goudsmit, Joost Prinsen
Release Date: 5 July 1979 (Netherlands)
Also Known As: Martin und der Zauberer
Format : Matroska
Format version : Version 1
File size : 1.41 GiB
Duration : 1 h 39 min
Overall bit rate : 2 029 kb/s