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An animated retelling set to Prokofiev's suite. Peter is a slight lad, solitary, locked out of the woods by his protective grandfather, his only friend a duck. In town, he's bullied. When a wolf menaces the duck - as well as grandfather's fat cat and an ill-flying bird that Peter has befriended - Peter bravely tries to tree the wolf. Grandfather, the townspeople, and the hunters who have antagonized Peter figure in the dénouement. Written by
An engaging and enjoyable animated take on a famous story with a great atmosphere and look
Peter lives in the countryside with his oppressive and restrictive grandfather. He is unwelcome in the town and his only friend appears to be his duck. Playing outside on the ice one day, Peter's grandfather takes and locks him in the house leaving the duck unprotected when a wolf comes. Witnessing the death of his friend in the jaws of the wolf, Peter sets out to get instant revenge with a deadly and dangerous plan.
In this updating of the famous story, we find ourselves in a modern (yet also ancient) setting that feels like it is Eastern Europe. The story is well delivered and is a good mix of issues regarding the young boy Peter and the variety of emotions he goes through across the film. Although it is short it is engaging and interesting and I found all of it to be easy to watch and enjoyable. The plot is easy to follow but will provide food for thought for older pre-teens. Animation wise the film looks great. Some viewers will bemoan the washed out and depressed look of the film but for me this was a strength as it allows the touching moments of happiness to stand out more but more importantly gives the whole thing a nice edge that I thought worked and drew me in.
It also suits the character of Peter as here he is dead eyed and worn down but yet with sparks still in him. It is an interesting character and one that the silent "script" brings out well. Of course this is more to do with the skill of the animators as they bring out so much with the stop motion figures. It does lack the smoothness that modern child audiences will be used to but it is better for it, suiting the rough, bleak feel of the film and, despite what I said about not being "smooth", it looks great throughout. The music is good as well, matching the mood of any individual scene and shifting well when required as another reviewer commented, it is a good way of getting children into this type of music.
Overall then an engaging and enjoyable animated take on a famous story. It has a great bleak atmosphere and a strong story and central character. Shown over Christmas 2006, it proved to be a welcome break from mass produced cartoons with simple cloying messages and is worth seeing if you get the chance.
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