13 March 2008 | przgzr
If it was left on attic nobody would have looked for it
This kids SF movie was the second Yugoslav-Czechoslovakian co-production made in the same genre. First, "Gosti iz galaksije" ("Guests from the Galaxy") seemed to have more ambitions in SF, but it wasn't clear what audience was it made for. Compared to American, Soviet, French, even Scandinavian SF movies this one was obviously made with lack of money, but also a lack of real SF script, so it sometimes seemed to be a parody, sometimes movie for early teenagers, trying from time to time to look rather serious. "Tajna starog tavana" was more clearly targeted to kids, at the time when filmed probably for age 11-14. And, logically, main characters are the same age.
Times and tastes change, and it is not easy to believe that any modern 14 year old would keep his eyes on the screen for more than 5 or 10 minutes. Modern kids watch modern action movies, and this one is too slow and hopelessly out of date. No matter what censors might believe, this kids can always find a way to see movies that are restricted in some way (that makes those movies even more attractive and makes kids eager to get them), but even if we check movies that are meant for their age (or at least aren't forbidden) we'll see breathtaking dynamic films with more attraction in a single minute than "Tajna..." has during its whole story.
Even American movies that were supposed to be teenagers adventure hits in 80's and were indeed very successful for that generation (like Goonies, Flight of Navigator, War Games etc) don't impress 21st century teenagers, who grow up under influence of quick short YouTube clips and dynamic, often aggressive PC games.
And there is a problem with the title itself. "The Secret of an Old Attic" is made after a novel written by one of most famous Croatian SF writers Zvonimir Furtinger and his co-writer Mladen Bjazic. It was published under the name "Zagonetni stroj profesora Kruzica" (Mysterious machine of professor Kruzic), but in a decade or two it suddenly changed its name to "Nista bez Bozene" (Nothing without Bozena). And finally we have a movie with new name, and no mentioning of the novel and its author. There is no doubt it is the same story, not only this is the same plot but the character names are the same as well. But neither movie credits nor IMDb (or any other web-site) has ever mentioned the real authors.
Unlike American child stars who are quickly involved into celebrity-star-system European kids very often make one or two movies (parents don't push them too hard, maybe because of different position of children in society, or simply because there is no big money in European movie industry) and usually don't try to make adult career. However, there are exceptions, and the kid with smallest role in this movie, Rene Bitorajac, now is a famous actor who played supporting role in successful war comedy "Kako Je Poceo Rat Na Mom Otoku" (*), and later the leading role in Oscar winner "Nicija zemlja" (known as "No Man's Land"). The adult roles are played by most popular actors, and Yugoslavian (and later Croatian) movies never had problems with bad acting. However, instead of adjusting few decades old novel, the authors even omitted the suspense, reduced SF to (slow and mild) action making this movie look like cheap TV program.
This is a pity, because Furtinger deserved better, and good actors and great location (island of Hvar is one of Croatian tourist top destinations) in a co-production with respectful Czechoslovakian cinematography offered base for international success. The only destiny this movie can have the way it was made, however, is to become a content of some old attic, without any secret.
(P.S. Why did I give this movie 5 stars? One must have in mind when and where it has been made and not rate according to what would average audience expect from a movie made tomorrow and appeared on web this morning. Considering everything it is not that bad, just wasted compared to what it could have been.)