“Our eyes can deceive us , but not out heart “
Do children these days still play Cowboys and Indians? Or is their time now all spent in front of phones and other screens?
Many people have treasured memories of childhood days when our imaginations transformed the backyard into the open plains and rugged terrain of the Wild West, complete with Cowboys riding horses, Indians riding on buffalo, and all sorts of other exciting adventures. And who has not heard of Karl May’s famed hero – the young Apache chief Winnetou?
When I was a kid, Mays’ books were among my favorites and still are. Yet even if you have not read anything by the German author, the 2022 movie titled The Young Chief Winnetou is guaranteed to evoke a lot of nostalgia and inspire a whole new generation of kids should they get the opportunity to watch it.
Granted The Young Chief Winnetou is first and foremost a children’s film, so an adult audience will have to see it with a certain mindset. But even when one has to suspend his disbelief at times, the story still manages to teach children about the importance of courage, determination, and standing up for what you believe in.
The Young Chief Winnetou ( 2022) official trailer in German
The Young Chief Winnetou shares some common traits with other German films made for children: lush visuals, a sympathetic young cast, great location (this film was shot in the Spanish region of Andalusia where many westerns have been filmed in the past), and a humorous vibe. The actors in the lead roles, Mika Ullritz as Winnetou and Milo Haaf as Tom Silver, are both cute as buttons, which is a plus for any children’s film, but also keeps one well aware that the film is primarily aimed at a very young audience.
In this film, the adults are relegated to supporting roles, while the children are the ones who live through an exciting and perplexing adventure. The friendship between the young thief (Silver) and the son of the Apache chief — and the trials and tribulations they go through — are filled with an adventurous spirit that is a joy to watch. Of course, you can’t expect anything of the sort of what Winnetou & Old Shatterhand go through in their legendary adventures, but if you have the imagination and will to picture them as kids, this might just fit the bill.
While I yearn to watch a harsh realistic story based on Karl May’s novels, this film with child actors is an enjoyable way to fill one’s time. The atmosphere in the film is not that different from those of other Coming-of-Age children’s films I have seen and reviewed on the site: namely Winnetou’s Son (2015), Tom und Hacke (2012), and Devil’s Kickers (2010). The Coming-of-Age motifs, while minimal, are still present and I don’t hesitate to recommend the film – especially to a young kid who will hopefully get inspired to use his imagination and go play outside.