Friday, 25 October 2013
Five Children and It (2004)
I bought Five Children and It in Bangkok airport, while waiting for a flight home after attending my sister's wedding.
I made the purchase solely on the strength of reading the book as a kid. Edith Nesbit's novel wasn't as resonant a part of my childhood as say Swallows & Amazons, but that I remembered it at all, some 25 years after reading it, qualified it for a look in my mind. Especially when I was paying for it in Thai baht :)
How is the adaptation? Well, it's a solid enough children's movie. It doesn't break any new ground artistically, and Freddie Highmore is nowhere near as likeable as the filmmakers seem to think, but Kenneth Branagh is clearly having a blast as 'crazy uncle Albert', easily stealing pretty much every scene he's in. Eddie Izzard's turn as the voice of 'It' is a bit, well ... "it's a bit 'it and miss", you might say :) ... but he too seems to be having fun.
Plot-wise, the movie drops some of the darker elements of the novel, as well as some of the culturally insensitive ones, such as the portrayal of native Americans and the Roma. It also adds some First World War elements to the tale, which were wholly absent from the book, what with it being released fourteen years before the war began.
Decent enough family entertainment if you have 5-12 year olds around.