The King And I

**

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

There isn't any need for this, after the book, the musical, and the movies. Surely, the king has had enough by now. What does a cartoon feature, NOT from Disney, complete with Rodgers & Hammerstein golden oldies, add?

The animation is in a different class to Aladdin and The Hunchback Of Notre Dame: a lower class. The production follows traditional lines, with a Jafar-style baddie (voiced by Ian Richardson), as the Siamese first minister, who wants (natch!) absolute power and can do magic tricks, such as mess around with weather and call up dragons. He has another staple close to hand, the silly slave person who bumps into furniture. An upright English widow, Anna (Miranda Richardson on vocals), is hired by the king to educate his children. She doesn't have a chance to be anything but Julie Andrews in a tent (her skirts have a life of their own). The kids are sweet, but hardly there, and the only romance going on is between the crown prince and a servant girl - definitely not allowed.

Although harmless and unexciting, the film tells the story straight. Absence of innovation will please traditionalists. Even the wicked one fails. Anna whistles a happy tune and behaves stoically at all times. She doesn't believe in fear. So vulgar, so foreign. She believes in a good song and teaching the king how to waltz. He'll have none of it, at first. What do they say about a woman's charms? There is the final number to get through, after all. Shall we dance?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Animated retelling of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
Amazon link

Director: Richard Rich

Writer: Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein

Starring: Voices of Ian Richardson, Miranda Richardson, Christiane Noll, Martin Vidnovic, Darrell Hammond, Armi Arabe

Year: 1999

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US

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Anna And The King