Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist


Sweet little movie-  a retread of E.T (same scriptwriter)- but without the social observation and sense of place (Spielberg mining his own childhood) that anchors the earlier movie in what we are pleased to call reality. Instead we're in fantasyland from the start- a Disney-Dickensian London consisting of The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, an Irish boozer and an orphanage- before long-striding off to a vaguely Caledonian Giantland and a phantasmagorical world where dreams run like dew from the leaves of a axle tree and are hunted down with butterfly nets.  It's an actor's film- a two-hander- and might have been barely sufferable if either of its leads- who are rarely off screen- hadn't been up to it. And since one of them is giving a motion capture performance and the other is only 11 there was some risk-taking going on.  But Mark Rylance can do no wrong at the moment and Ruby Barnhill is a natural- and somehow- in spite of all the green-screenery that must have been involved- they play wonderfully off one another.  Dahl's original has been treated with more respect than Hollywood usually shows towards British children's classics- with its slight storyline barely embellished and much of the splendiferous word-mangling retained- and if it isn't exactly a thrill-ride (no explosions, not a great deal of tension or suspense) it is charming and funny and properly magical.
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