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Serves as a terrific antidote to the 'Disneytized' version
I watched this film on TV with my two children (aged 12 and 10) and I think I enjoyed it as much as they did, maybe more. The whole production is beautiful and feels like a fairy tale should. The plot kept my children engrossed and amazingly stays true to the story. It probably wasn't pre-tested or had to have its ending changed to suit the market. In short, well-made, well-acted and well-filmed with special effects that are good enough to create some magic without being too spectacular and distracting. It also makes good use of its location setting (admittedly in Luxembourg and not Italy). A really pleasant way to spend an hour or so with the kids. So why bother to comment at all? The thing is a lot of people of my generation grew up with the Disneytized versions of what were mostly European fairy tales or children's stories, such as Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Winnie the Poo, etc, etc. In the end, it's hard for us non-Americans to convince our kids that these are not the original stories. Apart from incongruous American accents (okay, we're used to these a lot more than Americans are used to our "foreign" accents), names get changed (Jimminy Cricket instead of Pepe, which was good enough for the author), locations get switched and elements of the plot are shifted about or simplified. Sometimes the tough parts are made just plain cute. Maybe it shouldn't matter but when one culture dominates the film and TV outlets as much as is happening today then there's a feeling that when a film goes half-way to keeping its balance (with a nice mix of European and American actors) it serves as a terrific antidote. the recent Midsummer Night's Dream (dir. Michael Hoffman) was another good example. What a lot of Americans perhaps realize is just how many plots (children's movies aside) that are simply lifted from the original settings, maybe French, maybe British, by the US film and TV industry and then represented as original output. It's a pity because that way, you don't get to know as much about us as we do about you. Incidentally, my kids voted for this movie over the Disney version. It made me proud.
8 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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