Island of Lost Souls (Director: Nikolaj Arcel, Denmark, 2007): Essentially a Harry Potter clone, but a very good one, Island of Lost Souls (or the more evocative Danish title De Fortabte Sjæles Ø) features Lulu, a 14-year old girl in the wizard’s role. When her family moves to a sleepy provincial town, she thinks she’ll be bored. That is, until the ghost of a man from the 1870s takes over her younger brother’s body. Using her interest in the supernatural to solve the mystery brings her up against an evil necromancer who’s bringing souls back from the dead and confining them on an island nearby. With the help of nerdy Oliver (a Rupert Grint lookalike), her brother Sylvester (though he’s really 35-year old Herman from the 19th century) and the local disillusioned psychic, she confronts the necromancer in an effects-filled finale.
This was a very slickly produced film that borrowed just a little too much from the Harry Potter universe. The art direction, lighting, cinematography and even the special effects reminded me of the Potter films. Despite that, or more likely because of it, the film is an enjoyable ride. Lukas Munk Billing does an excellent job of morphing between the scruffy young Sylvester and the serious Herman, though the rest of the characters feel much less substantial, our heroine Lulu in particular.