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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Magical Sand Fairy Grants Children's Wishes

Author: cmashieldscapting ( from United States
5 September 2005

Four children and their baby brother living in England at the turn of the last century discover a Psammead or Sand Fairy, a magical creature which grants wishes, often resulting in getting the children into scrapes. For this BBC version of "Five Children and It," based on well-meant but clunky special effects in other BBC productions and a description by someone who'd seen it, I was really braced for much worse, and was pleasantly surprised. It was in two parts, but both on one video, just about two and a half hours long. What can I say? So true to the book they listed E. Nesbit as the writer--as if she'd written the screenplay--well-written, superbly cast, and with almost every line of dialogue drawn directly from the page. I thought I'd caught them in just one error when Robert used a safety pin to puncture his grown-up baby brother's bike tires, but looked it up in Webster's and sure enough, the term "safety pin" has been around since 1857, and the book does not specify WHAT sort of pin. The Psammead was surprisingly well-done--not only well-voiced but expressive, reminded me of Yoda, very much a Hensonesque creature and no mere puppet. Special effects budget spent wisely. The movie covered every single adventure from the book with the exception of the "Indian fighting" episode, the least dramatically interesting and least politically correct. The part with the gypsies was left out of "Being Wanted," also no doubt for length and pc-ness. The only other omissions were strictly abbreviations for translating from print to screen, and skillfully managed, too! The set decorators and costumers knocked themselves totally out, especially in the castle sequence. Most or all of the costumes were copied directly from the illustrations with which I was so familiar! The special effect which impressed me most was the floating baby in the castle sequence. This was the most familiar illustration to me, as it was on the spine of our copy of the book, and I was a bit worried they'd botch it; I couldn't have been more pleased. Although not as good as reading the book, this film is highly recommended.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Enchanting children's fantasy with genuine escapism.

Author: stevefoot ( from London
12 August 2004

This was made as a six part serial for the BBC in 1991. It was very successful and much of this is due to the quirky charm of the Psammead, a sand fairy. The story is a faithful adaptation of E.Nesbit's classic novel and possesses all of the enchantment and magic of the original. The children happen on an ancient and temperamental sand fairy, the Psammead, as they play in a gravel pit. It finds itself compelled to grant three wishes a day which it does somewhat resentfully by inflating its wrinkly stomach, these moments alone are well worth the price of the video (the DVD fully remastered with extras is due for release in October 2004). This is well worth a look.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant series

Author: hppg
19 February 2005

This series is very good, it's enjoyable for children and even adults, and is a nice dramatisation of E. Nesbit's book of the same name. It sticks closely to the book, has some great story lines and has heaps of humour as well as dramatic moments and some fantastic magic. Obviously, because it was made in 1991, the special effects aren't really too special, but they're fine. The acting is also fine - the child actors aren't phenomenal, but they were all believable and easy to watch. The baby was adorably cute, as was the Psammead. The series is excellent, it is still available on video and sometimes played on television so this is what you should watch instead of the modern terrible film.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Beautifully done childlike fantasy film

Author: Grovelhog ( from New Jersey, U.S.A.
29 April 2002

This is a beautiful adaptation of an Edith Nesbitt book, very full of a beautiful childlike innocence and wonder. The Sand Fairy(or Psammead) is one of the best creature puppets I have ever seen- its movements are amazingly lifelike and full of personality. An excellent fantasy film- highly recommended.

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Childhood favourite

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
29 September 2015

FIVE CHILDREN AND IT is another sterling example of Children's BBC back when they made decent, cultured fare for children. This one's a six-part adaptation of the E. Nesbit (THE RAILWAY CHILDREN) novel, featuring a quartet of kids who discover a mysterious Psammead (or 'Sand Fairy') living in the local sandpit who has the power to grant a wish a day.

Okay, the quality of this production - not to mention the acting - isn't up with the likes of, say, THE BORROWERS, but it's still a lot of fun and I loved it as a kid. The child cast are, shall we say enthusiastic, if not incredibly talented, but they come second to the excellent Psammead, whose combination of animatronics, voice acting, and mannerisms is unforgettable. I particularly love the way he sings the lyrical song over the closing credits.

Each of the six episodes offers a mixture of mini-adventures as the kids wish for something that inevitably goes wrong somehow. The special effects are dated, but the budget extends to some fairly impressive milieus of circuses and medieval castles. Some of the sub-plots are better than others, but there's plenty of wry humour which works well, and by the end you've fallen in love with both characters and Psammead. A sequel, RETURN OF THE PSAMMEAD, followed, but avoid the 2004 Hollywood-ised film like the plague; it takes the original novel, shreds it, and throws in nonsense about dinosaurs and assorted nonsense.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

It wasent all that bad to be honest

Author: deadbyday
22 October 2004

I have vague recollections of this...and until the new film version came out I had all but forgotten it.

It was a bbc children's program and the acting was not too bad. ( from the usual child actors that sometimes ( as is with most bbc serials) just wanted to slap for being so well spoken and polite)

but the star was the sand fairy, the puppet was amazing and captured all his indignity and self pride.

all in all i would say 8.5 /10


the sight of the wee sand fairy as he granted wishes...........was a thing that NOBODY should miss seeing. hard to explain but best way to describe it would be "a bad case of constipation"

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0 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Grant me one wish, don't watch this movie!

Author: lotr_addict88 ( from Delaware, Ohio, USA
15 January 2004

This movie, about a little puppet fairy in a gravel pit grants four English kids three wishes. The children make horrible wishes, and screw their lives up. An extremely worthless movie, it's not worth your time, money, or attention. Please, disregard this movie.

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