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I took my 7 and 9 year old daughters to see this and enjoyed it as much
as them. It is set in the First World War and has the same sort of feel
as the Railway Children but with some magic in. It was a really good
family film with no f*rt jokes or rude bits that you have to explain
It has a sentimental theme to the story without drowning you in saccharine which made it much more genuine and affecting - cue me sniffing! At the same time it had a good line in comedy which was quite modern and stopped the film from being too dated. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants an really enjoyable film to take the kids to.
I am a judge for the Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival. This
feature film is a Crystal Heart Award Winner and is eligible to be the
Grand Prize Winner in October of 2005. The Heartland Film Festival is a
non-profit that honors Truly Moving Pictures. A Truly Moving Picture
explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and
respect for the positive values of life."
This is a movie in the tradition of "Harry Potter" movies and "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events." It is a fantasy set in 1917 in wartime England. Five children are sent from London to the countryside for safety and security reasons. They are staying in a large, spooky, Gothic-like house with a math-crazed Uncle played brilliantly by Kenneth Branagh. His acting and make-up are so unique that there is no way you could possibly tell it was Branagh. The Uncle has many rules for the children including stay out of the greenhouse. Of course they disobey the rules and the greenhouse leads them to a secret beach where they find a sand fairy.
The sand fairy is cute and small and insolent and irreverent and funny. The children are off on adventures because the sand fairy grants them one wish a day. They soon find that getting what you wish for can be overwhelming and not welcomed.
The leader among the five children is not the oldest. The leader is a classic all-boy instigator, Robert, that pushes the story forward constantly by being curious and never reigning himself in. He is played by Freddie Highmore of "Finding Neverland" fame and he steals the movie with his character and his screen presence.
The children as a group are interesting. They are loyal to each other, they care deeply for their parents, and they develop a love for the sand fairy. And they learn from their mistakes.
This film has beautiful art direction and wonderful casting and acting.
FYI There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Crystal Heart winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
I found this film utterly charming. I had to almost force my daughter
to see it (she wanted to see The Princess Diaries 2 (shivers!!!!). But
once the children found the Wishasuraus she was transfixed.
It is a film very much of British and of the Railway Children type. and will sadly be missed by many because of the Steam Roller Hype of Shark Tale. But this is a real FAMILY film.
The beginning has a distinct Harry Potter feel to it, The theme tune is clearly influenced by HP. Kenneth Branagh is the quintessential English Eccentric but unlike the Hollywood stereotype this is a British film that has it's tongue firmly in cheek. Zoe Wannamaker as the caring housekeeper who knows more that she lets on is wonderful.
Eddie Izzard as the voice of the Sand Fairy is perfect.
This is as British as Brighton Rock and Whelks in a tray at the sea side. And I loved it.
A few weeks ago I picked up a very charming children's book called 5 Children and It. Written by E. Nesbit and originally published in 1902 or thereabouts, it's a remarkably modern-sounding tale about a family, with maid and cook, who go to the country for the summer. The father has to work in the city, and the mother is called away on some business, and the children are left to their own devices under the care of the maid and cook, who are happy as long as the children stay outside all day and don't mess up the house, and show up for meals and bed on time. So far an extremely believable story that anyone who has rented a summer place can relate to. The children discover a magical creature called a psammead ("sammyadd") which grants them one wish a day. Minor misadventures ensue, with each succeeding day another chapter in the book. The children learn to be careful in their wishes and to think ahead. A good life lesson. Then they made a movie. Movies can't be about ordinary people because then we would all start thinking we're equal. This family has sent Father off to World War I as a flying ace, Mother as a dedicated volunteer nurse, and the children go to a large country home on the cliffs of Dover to stay with their batty uncle, evil cousin and a mysterious woman who is neither the uncle's wife nor just a housekeeper. It doesn't matter because she just provides plot devices necessary to carry along the movie version which is wholly different from the book except for the character's names and two of the wishes. Imagine if the movie version of Harry Potter had included Dr Xavier and the X-Men characters and been set in wartime because some pinhead producer felt that J K Rowling's story didn't have enough flash and mawkishness. If you've seen the movie, read the book. If you've read the book, skip the movie. There was a BBC version made in the early 1990s. I'm going to find a copy of that and have a look. This book was that good.
Searching through the movies on 'Sky' when I was off work with flu, I
stumbled across the film 'five children and it', when I was a young kid
i Remember watching a program of the same name on 'BBC' and really
loving it, so in an effort to restore past childhood memories (or
potentially risk damaging them) i decided to give the new adaptation a
It got me gripped from beginning to end and I could not believe this had not been 'in my face' more with advertising and marketing schemes, this has the feel of a real good old classic BBC children's drama that you would find on a Saturday afternoon and leaves you with a real good feel good factor.
The cast is a really good choice with not a sniff of bad acting and plenty of great script work with funny,emotional and sometimes hysterical pieces of dialogue. 'Kenneth Brannagh' for me leads the cast as the professor, really funny and keeps a smile on your face. The children are all equally good, putting in excellent roles and not looking lost for a minute.....you would think they are a real family! Eddie Izard is a real gem though, giving him the role of the psamiead with a dodgy accent at first gives you the impression you are about to be disappointed but I could never have been further wrong, he has an amazing role and keeps the punchlines coming and coming.
Overall I am a 21 year old guy and found this film to be a real treasure and would certainly tell my own kids one day to watch. I still think it is criminal that the film didn't do better than it did.
a real worth see.
In these days of blockbuster movies made especially for children, it is quite refreshing to see an old fashioned tale of magic and mischief. Children of all ages will like this film and take it at face value - it is an adaptation of a classic story. The special effects are reasonable but unremarkable and we are drawn mainly to the characters played by Kenneth Branagh and Zoe Wanamaker, the latter having the best role by far. The story skips along nicely to its inevitable and predictable ending. The storyline is sentimental; unfortunately the child actors do not add anything to this emotion and appear to be fairly wooden. The film is worth a viewing on a rainy afternoon but it is unlikely to draw in the crowds.
I would think that this was one of those films whose director hadn't
read the book it was based on, were it not for the fact that they are
just slightly similar. It is certainly possible for a great film to be
"based" very loosely on a book and this was certainly the latter but
not the former.
There were a number of flaws. One was that it tried to be too much like the Railway Children, probably because adults would expect this, being from the same author. Another is that it also sought to be too like Harry Potter, down to the music and in overemphasizing the setting. I have nothing against J K Rowling or the films but the book is just nothing like the Harry Potter ones. I thought the Psammead, though very well voiced by Eddie Izzard and in character too, was almost gratuitously in a totally inappropriate environment. I may have missed something here, as the comments made about one of the characters' own books may have been a reference to the inaccuracy of the adaptation. There was also no need for the extra characters, and today's special effects could easily have been used to tell the story as it was written, but they weren't.
I saw this film with my two children, one of whom knows the book and the other of whom doesn't. The one who does know it thought it was all right but wasn't as enthusiastic as the one who doesn't. I'm not sure what this means.
This is a wonderfully sweet, innocent movie that parents and children
alike will enjoy. This is a movie that brings us back to our childhood
and the dreams and fantasies that were part of the innocence of
children and of believing in the impossible. The five children in this
movie are sweet and caring siblings - not argumentative and spoiled
children, but siblings who clearly love one another.
The idea that make believe can come true is refreshing. Clearly this is a movie about love, hope and dreams. Freddie Hightower, the young star of Neverland, is just as good in this movie. He is joined in his acting ability by 5 other young actors, as well as the wonderful Zoe Wanamaker and Kenneth Branaugh - all of whom are wonderful.
The scenery is wonderful - the England coastline. This is one of those movies they don't make enough of - it leaves you smiling when you finish the movie.
Five children go to the country to stay with their uncle during the
First World War. While exploring the house they come upon a secret door
which takes them down to the beach where they meet a "sand fairy" who
agrees to grant one wish a day for them. The wishes all go horribly
wrong, but in the process the children learn something.
The Jim Henson Company produced this adaptation of the E Nesbit story and its not one of their better works. The film looks like any other children's book adaptation you can think of to the extent that you could probably inter-cut scenes from this film with any other similar children's film and not be able to tell the difference. Its not bad, but it doesn't have anything unique about it...
...well actually it does, It has two excellent performances that keep this film from sinking to the bottom of the children's film adaptation barrel. The first is Kenneth Branagh as they kids crazy Uncle Albert. he isn't in it all that much but while he's on screen he chews the scenery looking like a deranged Jim Broadbent. He is charmingly scatterbrained as a man who doesn't know what day it is and who wonders where last October went to.
The other joy is Eddie Izzard, in his best role to date as the voice of the sand fairy, the "It" of the title. This is Izzard at his free-form best as he bounces off the walls of sanity in a steady stream of nonsense. Izzard's portrayal is a kin to an evening of his best stand-up comedy but in the context of the story, where anything can and will come out of the mouth of a little creature with a mobile home. Its one of the funniest things I've seen on screen on long time and he's the real reason to see the film.
Over all a completely average children's film made more than watchable thanks to Eddie Izzard's vocal performance as It. Worth a rental or a viewing on cable, especially if you're a fan.
1st watched 10/29/2006 - 4 out of 10(Dir-John Stephenson): Mildly entertaining story of a group of five kids who are forced to live with their eccentric uncle while their father and mother fight & work in World War I as England entered the war. They are told not to go in the greenhouse of the uncle's mansion, which of course they do over and over, and they discover a sand fairy who them daily wishes that only last until the sun goes down. This is the "IT" referred to in the title, created by the Jim Henson group and voiced by Eddie Izzard. The problem is their wishes usually bring about other problems that they are supposed to learn from. This part of the movie is not done very well because it's obvious the children, primarily the Freddie Highmore character, do not learn from them but instead keep going back to "it" to solve their next big problem. "IT" is not nearly as funny as it could have been with the comedian Eddie Izzard really not given much opportunity to improvise and Kenneth Branagh is wasted as the eccentric uncle, although he is the best character. The children are fine as far as their acting abilities but the story probably would have been much better going into the fantasy realm but they did have a human story to tell as well, which probably caused the confusion with the filmmakers. So, all in all, this was an OK film but could have been much better.
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