Five Children And It

Five Children And It


Reviewed by: The Dude

In the midst of the First World War, five children are sent away to stay with their eccentric uncle at his mansion by the sea, while their father goes off to fight and their mother nurses injured soldiers in London. What greets them is a book covered world, where there aren't enough hours in the day for chores and there aren't enough rooms in the house to curb their insatiable appetite for adventure.

With crazy Uncle Albert (Kenneth Branagh) locked away in his study, thinking up impossible math equations, crazy housekeeper Martha (Zoe Wanamaker) lurking in nooks and crannies and horrible cousin Horace (Alexander Pownall) concocting monsters in the basement, it's no wonder that the five kids soon find themselves running away to the greenhouse that they are forbidden from entering.

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When they break the rules and discover an 8,000 year old Psammead on the other side of a locked door, they are in for the adventure of a lifetime. "It" (voiced by Eddie Izzard) is a cranky sand fairy that lives in its shell on the edge of a secret beach and grants wishes that only last until sunset. Whether flying to France, or surviving T Rex attacks, there is not a dull moment for any of the children with "It" at the controls.

Izzard's character, though computer animated, has the best lines. Though the story is set at the beginning of the 20th century, Izzard's comedic style is 21st century, more relevant for the parents in the audience. The story is quick paced and well directed, though it does have sappy moments from time to time.

Wanamaker gives an energetic performance that brings warmth to the otherwise cold and mysterious atmosphere created within the mansion. Branagh shines (....yes... again...) and is truly a joy to watch. The special effects are not as advanced as one might expect from Jim Henson's clan.

All in all, the kids will love it and parents might even sneak a surreptitious chuckle.

Reviewed on: 23 Oct 2004
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Cranky sand creature whisks kids off on adventure.
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Scott Macdonald **

Director: John Stephenson

Writer: David Solomons, based on the novel by E Nesbit

Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Wanamaker, Freddie Highmore, Jonathan Bailey, Jessica Claridge, Poppy Rogers, Tara Fitzgerald, Alex Jennings, John Sessions, Norman Wisdom, the voice of Eddie Izzard

Year: 2004

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: UK


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