"The Wonderful World of Disney: Oliver Twist (#1.9)"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Wonderful World of Disney" Oliver Twist (1997)

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Nice adaptation of the world-famous book well made by Tony Bill

Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain
20 October 2008

Homeless little boy Oliver (Trench) abandoned at orphanage and during one meal he pleads : 'Please, Sir I want some more' . He's mistreated and the abused orphan escapes and befriends Artful Dodger (a scoundrel Elijah Wood) , a roguish pickpocket . Dodger introduces him into a band of youthful thieves commanded by Fagin (Richard Dreyfuss, also producer) in debt to the cruel Sikes (David O'Hara) . Then the young boy is forced into a life of thievery until his rescue by a good and kindly maid.

This is one of at least ten versions of the world-known novel , being an entertaining adaptation from Charles Dickens classic . Cool performance by Richard Dreyfuss as the great manipulator Fagin , though Elijah Wood at the height of his stardom , steals the show . It's made in a television style and shot in Ireland . The motion picture was professionally directed by Tony Bill , usual actor and occasionally director of cinema and TV films.

Other renditions about this popular story are the followings : The silent version with Jackie Coogan and Lon Chaney ; 1948 the classic film by David Lean with John Howard (Oliver) , Anthony Newley(Dodger) , Alec Guinness(Fagin), Sikes(Robert Newton) ; musical and Oscarized 1968 version by Carol Reed with Mark Lester (Oliver) , Jack Wild (Dodger), Ron Moody (Faguin), Oliver Reed (Sikes) and finally recent and lush version by Roman Polanski with Ben Kingsley (Fagin).

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A brave attempt at the classic

Author: Mariam from Cambridge, England
26 June 2003

There have been better film versions of Dickens' classic novel 'Oliver Twist,' and while this adaptation may not be topping the bill, it is a film to be enjoyed. Richard Dreyfuss gives a brilliant character lead portrayal of Fagin that entertains and delights, and Elijah Wood gives a most endearingly wicked performance of everyone's favorite character the Artful Dodger. I would recommend it to anyone

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Wonderful adaptation of a timeless classic

Author: Andreas Niedermayer (leeds1@gmx.at) from Klagenfurt, Austria
27 December 2005

This is the first adaptation of Charles Dickens' famous novel that I came to see.

The cast is simply great. Elijah Wood is a very cunning Artful Dodger. I was particularly fond of his wonderful British accent, which he delivers in the contemporary manner of old-fashioned grammar and marked shifts in intonation and stress. This must have been quite challenging for an American actor – I take my hat off to his performance. Alex Trench, who seems to have no movie record whatsoever apart from his appearance here, is a very convincing and well-cast Oliver Twist. He embodies the right combination of natural humor, a handsome appearance and genuine acting skills in front of the camera. I hope that Harry Eden and Barney Clark will be able to live up to the performances of Elijah and Alex in this year's new Polanski adaptation. Fagin, the sly and ambivalent chief of the pickpocket gang who takes Oliver under his wings and develops into a kind of mentor for the young boy who is stranded in the bleak streets of London is played by veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss. He manages to portray the slightly overdone eccentricity of Fagin in a way that is indeed a bit oversubscribed, but nonetheless fitting into the frame of the movie as a whole.

The plot and storyline development is very close to the original artwork by Dickens. The movie starts with Oliver's mother and his birth, his growing up years and the harsh life in the orphanage. It very deliberately focuses on his development and the milieu he is born into, thus setting the stage for his adventures and marking the motivation that makes him break free. It needs not to be said that Oliver's quest for a better life is very much a significant part of the story, as his grandfather and the old man's niece step into his life when he is on the verge of becoming a criminal. Alex is now in this classic scenario Dickens so craftily elaborates on, caught between these two strata, between the bleak and dirty streets of London and the prospect of a wealthy life. His adventures need not to be outlined here any further – they are fairly well-known, and those who are not familiar with them ought to get the movie.

The visuals in the movie are stunning and need to be applauded regarding the low budget of the production and its arrangement as a TV movie. They very much apply to Dickens' perception of the contemporary features of London which he so eloquently describes in his writing. The pace of the plot development, the camera work and the level of suspense that makes up the last third of the movie is sincerely implemented and perfectly transformed.

This version of Oliver Twist is exciting and interesting to watch. It features well-known actors and delivers the essential spirit of Dickens' masterpiece in a way that merits the famous title. Get it and enjoy the atmosphere, the visuals, the acting and the messages involved. I award it with a 8 because of its basic quality and the flawless plot. Wonderful accomplishment!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

The Artful

Author: herebedragons3 from CAUSA
19 April 2002

Elijah Wood was too old for his role. Love the guy, really, but frankly, WHAT THE HECK WAS GOING ON WITH THAT ACCENT? It made me cringe! The Artful Dodger is probably my favorite character ever in fiction, and I've loved every incarnation of him I've seen, and really Elijah has a quality to him that should have made him perfect for the part. But will somebody get him a speech-coach! He is good, though, leading the bunch of kids like the Pied Piper (only it's more of a Pie-Eyed Piper). A question. Did they have to give him yellow teeth? Yuck.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A great family film

Author: Robin Smallburrow (robinsmallburrow@hotmail.com) from Monticello, Florida
27 July 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this movie on TV, so I am told that I did not see the better copy of it, but still, I greatly enjoyed it. It did stray somewhat from Dickens' original story, and it rather contradicted British law at the time the story was written (if you would like me to explain, you'll have to e-mail me, for it would be considered a spoiler if I wrote it here), but on the whole, it was very well done. The acting was good, and I was pleased to see that it had very little (if any) offensive material in it. It is a wonderful family movie.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Wonderful movie with Superb Actors

Author: Rinoa Hartily from PA, USA
16 March 2002

This is a movie for the young-not showing too much of a classic that might scare them, helping them see that good will reign in this earth, and a really hot guy name Elijah Wood!!! Okay, I know, this movie might not even be all that good but I can't make a sound judgement because Elijah did so beautifully in this movie. It was-in my opinion-his best role. It shows the extent of his acting, and his heart that he pours into it.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Dickens Would Be Proud

Author: Laine Orvanno
10 August 2003

Seriously, he would. There have been SEVERAL remakes of Oliver Twist, including the popular musical "Oliver," but I'd have to say this is the best one of all of them. The young kids do memorable performances, as do the adults. This is perhaps one of my all-time favorite movies.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Consider Yourself . . . lucky if you missed this one.

Author: thomandybish from Weaverville, NC
20 March 2001

The reference to the song from the musical version of Charles Dickens' classic is not gratuitous, because this Disney version owes as much to the film version of OLIVER! as it does to the novel. Maybe more, because very little of the novel's depiction of crippling poverty and horrific child abuse remains. Too much sugar coats these reprehensible characters and situations. Fagin is softened to some sort of gruff but lovable foster father, and Nancy is enobled as a hooker-with-a-heart of gold, not a pathetic, physically and mentally battered wretch. One would expect such a treatment from Disney, but the trivialization of poverty, child abuse, and crime does not do the story Dickens intended justice.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

"Disney-fied" far too much; decent at best

Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
4 September 2004

Just when you thought Disney had ruined enough classics, they pounce like a predator on the brilliant work of Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, and turns a great story into a cheap family/children's tale. Now, I haven't read the entire book, but I read much of it when I was younger, and what I remember was definitely much better than this cheap, made-for-TV Disney production. They changed the story very much around, and removed some of the more "inappropriate for younger viewers" details, which pretty much ruins the story, and reduces it to an immature retelling of a great Dickens story. The plot is decent, but it's so damn predictable and dull(not to mention different from the original) that only a child or someone with way too much free time and/or patience could enjoy it. The acting is decent at best, with one or two actors obviously trying to transcend the embarrassing level of acting, but failing miserably due to the awfully written material. The script is poorly written. The characters are badly written and often come off as cliché-ish stereotype versions of the people they're portraying. The dialog is poorly written. The humor is juvenile. Overall the film is a very childish and immature production, which I guess is supposed to represent the target audience. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Hollywood, listen up: a children's movie doesn't necessarily have to be a childish movie. There is a difference, and that difference is most commonly known under the term "level of quality". Even for a TV film this is bad. All in all, a decent Disney production, but if you want a good retelling of the story, look elsewhere. Or, even better, read the book. I hear it's excellent, but I can't remember much of it. I recommend this only to children, and only to children who are ignorant of the works of Dickens. Anyone else should avoid; unless, you have absolutely nothing better to do, you have to kill 90 minutes, and there are no good spots left on the walls to stare at. 5/10

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good Acting but very difficult to understand

Author: Roland Boike from United States
10 February 2007

The sound tract and voice quality left a lot to be desired. The director lacked experience in demanding proper enunciation from the actors. Parts of the movie were in whispers and turning up the volume was to no avail. The story by Charles Dickens is truly a classic, but unless you are a skilled lip reader you are destined to miss much of the action of the novel. Had I not read the book and reviewed a better version of the same story much of the heart warming scenes would be totally missed. The inability to clearly understand script and the spoken words of the actors make this film a second rated version. In order to give the film every advantage I played it on two different occasions on different sound equipment. The result was about the same. Others watching the DVD with me had the same problem.

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