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Big Trouble From A Small Parcel

Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA
16 June 2003

A Cosgrove/Hall Production.

THE TALKING PARCEL washed up on a beach discloses a pushy parrot who whisks a small girl off on a perilous adventure to rescue an old wizard from horrible cockatrices.

Based on the book by Gerald Durrell and adapted by the very talented Rosemary Anne Sisson, this British animated film features non-stop action, a few chuckles and some genuinely scary moments. The climactic castle siege - with the brave weasels and their friends attacking the evil cockatrices - is suspenseful and exciting.

A quintet of top British character actors adds greatly to the success of the proceedings: Freddie Jones, Roy Kinnear, Windsor Davies, Peter Woodthorpe & Sir Michael Hordern. Jones' rendition of 'Moon Carrot Pie,' the song sung over the opening credits, perfectly sums up the film's whimsical nature.

The quality of the animation is competent throughout, but it pales alongside the stupendous work Cosgrove/Hall would subsequently produce in the field of stop-motion animation, most especially their wonderful short feature & series based on THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (1983).

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