Terkel in Trouble

Terkel in Trouble (Danish: Terkel i knibe) is a 2004 Danish adult animated musical comedy film starring Anders Matthesen. It is the first Danish computer animated feature film.[4] The film is an adaptation of Matthesen's 2001 comedy album Arne fortæller... Terkel i knibe. Anders Matthesen voices almost all characters in the film. Terkel in Trouble was well received,[5] and was a financal success, earning 17.9 million DKK on a 10 million DKK budget and becoming the seventh highest grossing film in Denmark in 2004.[3] It received multiple accolades, including the Audience Award at the 22nd Robert Awards.[6] Terkel in Trouble has been dubbed into multiple languages, including Norwegian, Swedish, German, Italian and Ukrainian. An English dub of the film produced by Anvil Studios was released by Eureka Entertainment in the United Kingdom on 1 September 2006.

Terkel in Trouble
UK DVD cover
DanishTerkel i knibe
Directed byKresten Vestbjerg Andersen
Thorbjørn Christoffersen
Stefan Fjeldmark
Produced byTrine Heidegaard
Thomas Heinesen
Screenplay byMette Heeno
Story byAnders Matthesen
StarringAnders Matthesen
Kim Mattheson
Music byBo Rasmussen
Edited byPer Risager
Mikael R. Ryelund
Martin Wichmann Andersen
Distributed byNordisk Film (Denmark)
Eureka Entertainment (U.K.)
Indican Pictures (U.S.)
Release date
  • 20 March 2004 (2004-03-20) (NatFilm Festival)
  • 2 April 2004 (2004-04-02) (Denmark)
Running time
77 minutes
Budget10 million kr.[1][2]
($1.6 million)
Box office17.9 million kr.[3]
($2.9 million)

On 3 February 2017, the film was released in the United States by distribution company Indican Pictures as The Trouble with Terkel, featuring an American cast. This version of the film received negative reviews.[7][8][9]

In 2019, a Danish stage show adaptation of the film premiered, called Terkel – The Motherfårking Musical. Anders Matthesen and director Thorbjørn Christoffersen would later collaborate on Checkered Ninja, a film featuring some of the characters from Terkel in Trouble.


Terkel is a boy attending 6th grade at a secondary school together with his best friend Jason, who carries an iron pipe with him at all times. One day during recess, Terkel and Jason sit on a bench playing on their Game Boy. They are approached by a man in a green sweater who tells Terkel that he sat on a spider. Terkel shakes it off, saying his jeans can be easily washed. The man, named Gunnar (Justin in the UK dub, Dick Balsac in the US dub) introduces himself as the schools new substitute teacher and promptly leaves. Later during Terkel's Danish class, Gunnar walks in. He informs the class that the previous teacher, Yvonne, has been fatally run over by a car. The class cheers at the news, and Gunnar becomes the new class teacher.

Terkel's parents Sheila and Leon get married. During the wedding reception, two bullies from Terkel's school, Sten (Nigel in the English dubs) and Saki, manipulate Terkel into stealing beer for them. When Terkel's short-tempered, alcoholic and violent grand-uncle Stewart Stardust notices, he beats up the bullies. Sten and Saki blame Terkel, and proceed to bully him for it, for which Terkel receives little help. One day an overweight girl in the class, Fede Dorit ("Fat Doris") approaches Terkel with a love letter. Sten and Saki notice, and start teasing the two of them, calling them a couple. Terkel feels conflicted on weather to defend Dorit or to go along with the bullies. He goes with the latter, saying he would never "love that fat cow". Dorit gets so upset that she jumps out the window on the fourth floor and dies. After this incident, Sten and Saki become much closer to Terkel, with them now respecting him. Terkel's relationship with Jason however, becomes much more strained. Terkel starts receiving multiple death threats both at home and at school. He again receives no help, and he becomes increasingly paranoid about the world around him.

One day, Gunnar takes the class on school trip to the woods to go study salamanders. On the bus there, Sten and Saki invite Terkel to sit down with them. He does so, angering Jason. When in the woods, Terkel tries to reconcile with him, but fails, with Jason calling Terkel a sell-out. Terkel proceeds to sleep in Sten and Saki's tent. Terkel says that Jason has been acting strangely aloof, and Sten tells him that Dorit was Jason's sister. Terkel is terrified, thinking all the death threats were from Jason, as revenge for his sisters suicide. As they go to bed, Terkel finds a dead cat in his sleeping bag and he receives a text message from Jason's phone saying "I'm coming to kill you". Sten and Saki advise Terkel to tell Gunnar, which he does.

Wanting to be safe from Jason, Terkel insists that Gunnar comes with him into the woods where he explains everything. Terkel now feels more secure and calls Jasons phone to tell him he's in safe hands. To his horror, he hears ringing sounds coming from Gunnar's pocket. It turns out Gunnar sent all the death threats and messages as revenge for Terkel sitting on the spider when they first met, even killing his teacher Yvonne just so he could get closer to him. Terkel flees, and a race through the woods commences. Just as Gunnar has Terkel cornered, he is saved by Jason, smashing his iron pipe through Gunnar's head, presumably killing him. Terkel and Jason reconcile, and walk back towards the sunrise. The camera moves back, showing that Gunnar is still alive.


Cast of Terkel in Trouble
Character name Voice actor
Danish English Danish UK English US English
Terkel Anders Matthesen Adrian Edmondson Mike Olsen
Arne Nougatgren Barry Cremone Bill Bailey Richard Janes
Jason Ben Bishop Eve Mauro
Sten Nigel Stephen Ji
Saki Jake Goldman
Beate Sheila Kim Matthesen Olivia Colman Marlise Garba-Wright
Rita Fiona (UK dub)
Lucy (US dub)
Anders Matthesen Helena Roman Nuria Garba
Dorit Doris Vanessa Gomez
Sally Melaine Cooper ¿?
Silas Ospery (UK)

Harvey Lipschitz (US)

Ben Bishop ¿?
Gunnar Bjerre Justin (UK dub)
Dick Balsac (US dub)
Toby Stephens Shark Firestone
Joanna Melaine Cooper Carrie Keagan
Ho ¿?
Uncle Stewart Johnny Vegas Chad Ridgely
Leon Tim Everett Chris Tergliafera
Priest Edmund Poliks

Subsequent dubs of the film retain the feature of one actor portraying most or all of the roles. This was done for the Norwegian (Aksel Hennie), Swedish (Felix Herngren) and German (Bela B.) dubs of the film.[10] This was however not done for the Italian, Ukrainian and the two English dubs, which all feature multiple actors.


"With Help! I am a fish we did everything we could to make it tasteful. Uha, it was supposed to be sold to the USA! The dialogue was adjusted so that it could not offend anyone. But the film was never sold to the United States. So there we were, trying to make some Americans happy, who ultimately did not want the movie. How fun is that? I think you get the farthest when you are not trying to please anyone.

—Stefan Fjeldmark[11]

The characters in the film were conceived by stand-up comedian and rapper Anders Matthesen. The character of Grand-uncle Stewart Stardust had been featured previously in Matthesens show Fra ende til Anden in 1999.[12] In 2001, Matthesen and composer Bo Rasmussen created a radio play on DR children's radio called Arne fortæller... Terkel i knibe (Arne tells... Terkel in trouble), a sequel to the previous radio play Hva' snakker du om.[2] Arne fortæller would be released as an album the same year. The album sold 35,000 copies[13] and received the award for "Entertainment Release of the year" at the Danish Music Awards in 2002.[14] The album did however not do as well as Matthesen had hoped.[15]

A. Film was looking to produce a film that was much cheaper than previous efforts like Help! I'm a Fish, as well as something more "crooked and different". Stefan Fjeldmark, co-founder of the studio, had previously listened to Arne fortæller and approached Anders Matthesen to potentially turn the album into a film.[11] Matthesen was very proud of the album despite its mediocre success and accepted the offer immediately.[15][2] Fjeldmark had grown frustrated with trying to adjust the studios films so they could appeal to an American audience, after Help! I'm a fish had been refused American distribution multiple times. Terkel in Trouble would be a way for the studio to make a film without compromise.[11]

To help convince A. Film, two animators at the studio, Kresten Vestbjerg Andersen and Thorbjørn Christoffersen created a short pilot for the film. It was well received and production on the film began in 2003, with Andersen, Christoffersen and Fjeldmark leading the project.[11] The audio play script would be re-written to fit a film format. Andersen, Christoffersen and Fjeldmark would help with developing the script, pushing some of the comedy and horror elements.[1] Terkel in Trouble would become Christoffersens directorial debut[16] and Matthesens screenwriting debut.[17]

DR was first asked to help finance the project. They were initially interested, but ended up refusing the offer.[11] TV 2 was then approached. They were hesitant at first, but eventually changed their mind.[2] The film would end up with a budget of 10 million DKK ($1.6 million),[1] to which the Danish Film Institute provided half.[18] Due to the small budget, the animation crew developed a crude style for the characters in the film, inspired by South Park, The Simpsons and The Muppets. This sped up production significantly, also helped by then recent advancements in animation technology.[1] By mid-November 2003, half of all animation had been completed.[11] With a crew of 12-15 animators, the film took just four months to animate.[1]


Terkel in Trouble
Soundtrack album by
Anders Matthesen and Bossy Bo
Released2004 (2004) (Denmark)
GenreAudio play, Hip hop, Reggae, Pop
LabelSony Music
Singles from Terkel in Trouble
  1. "Paranoia"
  2. "Hva' Med Dig Selv?"
  3. "Ta' Og Fuck Af!"

The film's soundtrack is a re-recording of the original Arne fortæller album, with the bonus song Paranoia added to it.

Track listing

All music is composed by Anders Matthesen and Bo Rasmussen (Bossy Bo).

1."Den Nye Lærer"7:31
2."Quangs Sang"3:37
4."I Anledning Af Beate Og Leons Bryllup"2:37
6."Hva' Med Dig Selv?"4:16
7."Onkel Stewart"3:08
8."Arne...Han Er for Cool!"2:57
11."Ta' Og Fuck Af!"3:09
12."Terkel I Knibe"7:29
14."Spørg Om Hjælp"2:21
15."Rigtige Venner"5:15
Total length:1:19:21


Terkel in Trouble premiered at the NatFilm Festival on 20 March 2004.[19] It was then released in Denmark nation-wide on April 2, 2004. The film sold 64,000 tickets in its first three days opon release,[18] and over 375,000 in its entire theatrical run,[3][20] grossing a total of 17,9 million DKK ($2.9 million). It became the fourth highest grossing Danish film in Denmark for 2004, and the seventh over all.[3]

Critical responseEdit

Anders Matthesen received acclaim for his voice acting in the film.[21]

Terkel in Trouble received positive reviews upon its initial release.[5] Writing for Berlingske, Ebbe Iversen called the film "a milestone in film history", and "incredibly entertaining".[22] Palle Schantz Lauridsen of Kristeligt Dagblad wrote "It's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time - and I knew the story beforehand."[21]

Reviews from other Scandinavian countries were likewise positive. Einar Guldvog Staalesen of Norwegian broadcasting company NRK gave the film a full 6 out of 6 stars,[23] and in a review for the Swedish Newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, Karoline Eriksson wrote that "Terkel in trouble is yet another example of the Danes still totally having us [Swedes] fooled when it comes to making films."[24] While many critics considered the film's animation sub-par, its humor, writing, and Anders Matthesens voice acting received praise, with Palle Lauridsen describing Matthesen as having a "great and unmistakable satirical talent".[21] The actors for the Norwegian and Swedish versions of the film, Aksel Hennie and Felix Herngren, received praise for their dub work.[23][25]

With the release of the English dub in the United Kingdom in 2006, reviews were less favorable. Phelim O'Neill of The Guardian gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, criticizing the animation, and stating that besides the films shock value, "[it] often has little else going for it." He did however say the film did not "ooze smug complacency from every pixel like the recent, lazy Cars"[26] Writing for Empire, Sam Toy likewise also gave the film 2 out of 5 stars, criticizing the lack of a clear target audience, but praising the British dubbing cast.[27]


At the 22nd Robert Awards, Terkel in Trouble won the Audience Award, Best Children/Family Film, Best Original Score, Best Song and Best Sound awards. It was also nominated for best screenplay.[6] It won Best Danish film at the Bodil Awards, and Best film at the Zulu Awards.[6] At the Animafest Zagreb, Terkel in Trouble won the Grand Prize.[28] It was nominated for Best Feature at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, but lost to Nyócker![29]


After the film was screened for a group of 6th and 7th graders at the 2004 Frederiksstad Animation Festival in Norway, a number of school leaders protested the film, saying the film promoted bullying and was inappropriate for children.[30] Four schools refused to show the film in an educational context,[31] and the Norwegian children's ombudsman was sent multiple complaints.[32]

Anders Matthesen dismissed these complaints, saying: "I reserve the right to make fun of absolutely everything. It's an opportunity and also a duty I have as a comedian. I believe that it has a therapeutic and redemptive effect in relation to unpleasant topics." Likewise, the chairman of the Danish Media Council for Children Karsten Gynther said the film was not harmful to children.[30]

The Trouble with TerkelEdit

On February 3, 2017, almost 13 years after Terkel in Trouble's initial premiere, the film was released in the United States by distribution company Indican Pictures as The Trouble with Terkel. It was a new English dub featuring an American cast. This version of the film was mostly panned by critics and was described as amateurish,[8] with Nick Schager of Film Journal International calling it "one of the most singularly awful and incompetent productions in cinema history".[9] Katie Walsh of the Los Angeles Times called it "painfully outdated", and criticized its attempts to be offensive, saying it was "totally meaningless".[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e Vinterberg, Søren. "Fra hørespil til splatter" Politiken, 2 April 2004, accessed 9 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Eriksen, Jan. "Terkel på toppen", B.T., 7 December 2004, accessed 9 December 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Flere billetter pr. dansk premierefilm" Danmarks Statistik, 14 March 2005, accessed 8 December 2020.
  4. ^ Schepelern, Peter. "Dansk filmhistorie 1896-2009", Det Danske Filminstitut, accessed 8 December 2020.
  5. ^ a b Christensen, Claus. "Terkel i knibe er en anmeldersucces", Ekko, 2 April 2004, accessed 10 December 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Terkel i knibe (2004) – Awards, imdb.com; accessed 5 April 2017.
  7. ^ a b Walsh, Katie. "Review: Recycled animation ‘The Trouble With Terkel’ strains to offend", Los Angeles Times, 2 February 2017, accessed 9 December 2020.
  8. ^ a b "'The Trouble With Terkel': Film Review", The Hollywood Reporter, 3 February 2017, accessed 9 December 2020.
  9. ^ a b Schager, Nick. "Film Review: The Trouble with Terkel", Film Journal International, 31 January 2017, accessed 21 December 2020.
  10. ^ Terkel i knibe (2004) – Full Credits, imdb.com; accessed 9 December 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Skotte, Kim. "Terkel går til filmen", Ekko, 30 March 2004, accessed December 9, 2020.
  12. ^ Olesen, Kristoffer. "Undrer du dig også? 'Anden'-skrabelod til salg", Ekstra Bladet, 2 February 2020, accessed 9 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Bo Rasmussen/Bossy Bo", Berlingske, 23 July 2004, accessed 8 December 2020.
  14. ^ [1], DUCKPOWERNEWS, accessed 9 December 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Arne fortæller: Terkel i knibe" DUCKPOWERNEWS, accessed 10 December 2020.
  16. ^ "Thorbjørn Christoffersen", Det Danske Filminstitut, accessed 9 December 2020.
  17. ^ Stilling, Oliver. "Anden ingen kunne stoppe", Information, April 2, 2004, accessed 9 December 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Terkel hitter på det store lærred", Politiken, 5 April 2004, accessed 13 December 2020.
  19. ^ Terkel i knibe (2004) – Release Info, imdb.com; accessed 9 December 2020.
  20. ^ Nielsen, Marie Ravn. "Surprise, møgunger: Thomas Bo Larsen skal spille Stewart Stardust", DR, 27 August 2018, accessed 9 December 2020.
  21. ^ a b c Lauridsen, Palle Schantz. "Det' gas. I ka' ta' det!", Kristeligt Dagblad, 2 April 2004, accessed 10 December 2020.
  22. ^ Iversen, Ebbe. "Rystende grov og sjov", Berlingske, 1 April 2004, accessed 10 December 2020.
  23. ^ a b Staalesen, Einar Guldvog. "Terkel i knipe", NRK, 7 July 2005, accessed 10 December 2020.
  24. ^ Eriksson, Karoline. "Torkel i Knipa", Svenska Dagbladet, 11 February 2005, accessed 10 December 2020.
  25. ^ "Sprängfylld av idéer", Expressen, 8 March 2005, accessed 21 December 2020.
  26. ^ O'Niell, Phelim. "Terkel in Trouble", The Guardian, 1 September 2006, accessed 10 December 2020.
  27. ^ Toy, Sam. "Terkel In Trouble Review" Empire, 31 August 2006, accessed 10 December 2020.
  28. ^ AWN Headline News Archived 2006-05-12 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Archived 2017-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ a b Lerche, Otto."'Terkels far' forstår ikke norsk røre", Politiken, 17 October 2005, accessed 9 December 2020.
  31. ^ Lie, Marie Allgot. "Stopper kontroversiell film", NRK, 11 November 2004, accessed 9 December 2020.
  32. ^ ""Terkel i Knibe" i knibe i Norge", DR, 17 October 2005, accessed 9 December 2020.

External linksEdit