DVD: The Wind in the Willows (A & E Home Video)
Reviewed by Holly Day
I don't know how many times I put this movie on, only to find I was unable
to successfully watch the thing all the way through in a sitting. This has
nothing to do with the story, or the presentation on this Cosgrove Hall
production; it's because every time I put it on, my 14-month old would go
bonkers for certain scenes and insist that they be replayed, again and
again, until the story almost lost meaning. Obviously, to her, this is a
movie about 1) Claymation ducks that excel in synchronized swimming, and
must be viewed at least ten times in a successive loop upon threat of
temper tantrum; and 2) a Claymation carthorse with great, rolling eyes
that sings in a really deep tenor.
The rest of the movie apparently means little or nothing to her, because
after those two scenes have passed, she usually wanders out of the room in
apparent boredom, and since she's apt to destroy important things when
she's bored, I usually end up stopping the film to toddle off after her.
Of course, this is the part of the Wind In the Willows when the real meat
of the story begins, like the conflict between Badger and Toad, and Toad
going to prison for reckless driving, and the Stoats and Weasles taking over
Toad Hall. But you all know the book, right?
Anyway, the production quality of this is just wonderful, done entirely in
Claymation animation. The critters playing the leads all have large,
glittery eyes, especially Mole, who seems about to burst into tears at any
moment, and the backgrounds are just beautiful, especially the scenes along
the riverbanks full of butterflies, rushes and wildflowers. There's some
great, catchy songs here, too - but not too many - that'll keep you
cheerfully humming along and dreaming of summertime. Extras include a
really interesting interview with legendary animator Brian Cosgrove and
some games for the kids.
© 2005 - Holly Day