Monday, 17 November 2008

The Wind in the Willows

Lowdown: An English kids' story gets the Python treatment.
To be fair, I never really went for the Wind nor the Willows; as a child I have read the book but found it rather uninteresting. I much preferred the radio skit show they made out of it. Today, The Wind in the Willows manages to attract more of my attention than it ever did for the simple reason that today I am wise enough to realize this is as British as a story can get. The particular version reviewed here, released in 1996, is even British-er still: there is a lot of Monty Python in it.
Given the Pythons involvement you sort of know what you can expect: a kids' story about animals that are very human and do lots of crazy stuff. To be honest, by now I don't remember what the book's plot is like; this DVD, however, tells the story of Mole who finds his underground hole destroyed and with the aid of his friend Rat asks for the help of Toad. Toad, however, is infatuated with technology, especially with motor cars; his love for the wheel makes him lose all his money and when he finds himself in jail it's only Rat and Mole that can set things straight. And this time, it's crazy.
It's British in character and in scenery but some bits are better than others. Notably, some bits are better and in the others the characters burst into song; luckily, they don't do it that much and it's mostly limited to the first half of this 80 minute plus engagement.
You can, however, argue quite rightly that The Wind and the Willows is about the things that are really important in life: friendship and a good picnic as opposed to machinery and capital. Most of all, it is innocent. For a kids' story, one cannot ask for much more.
Best scene: Our heroes escape from a mincing machine. And what a narrow escape it is.
Overall: Inconsistent but good entertainment still. 3 out of 5 stars.

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