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The Secret of Moonacre (2008)
Must-watch for any fairy tale and fantasy maniac!
Firstly, I haven't read the book. In a way it works for my advantage allowing me to criticize the movie solely based on what was presented there and not be distracted by what was left out compared to book etc. I can think of two kinds of fairy tales: one is the kind you love when you're 7 but think it utterly stupid and childish when you're 30; the other type is the kind you find magical no matter how old you are. This movie here could've easily belonged to the first group but turned out to be something more valuable. The bicycle has been invented and now it's all about how you do it, not what you do. The whole movie in its being is one big cliché, BUT they have successfully managed to turn that weakness into a strong point. This could've easily been a cheesy Raspberry candidate and I am very picky about my fairy tales and fantasy and I was not disappointed. Several aspects made the story believable, starting from the level of acting and ending with props. When it comes to acting, the weakest link in the bunch was Natascha McElhone, who didn't always seem to be in it as much as the others (e.g the cursing part, people seem to agree on that part mostly). I was thoroughly impressed by Ioan Gruffudd, going from cold to heartbroken definitely moved my cruel heart. The milieu and the special effects were outstanding. No Lord of the Rings, don't get me wrong, but there was no half-hearted effort in that area. The Moonacre Manor and the many other scenes were picturesque and the costumes far-enough-out-of-the-box creative, mixing the traditional with a modern touch in perfect balance. All in all, I was left feeling satisfied and enriched and I reckon this movie deserves a rating above 7 of 10 the least, for it certainly wasn't a mediocre experience.