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Animal Farm [DVD]


Price: £4.81 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Animal Farm [DVD] + GCSE English Text Guide - Animal Farm + Animal Farm: York Notes for GCSE
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Product details

  • Actors: Kelsey Grammer, Ian Holm, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julia Ormond, Pete Postlethwaite
  • Directors: John Stephenson
  • Writers: Alan Janes, George Orwell, Martyn Burke
  • Producers: Greg Smith, Morgan O'Sullivan, Paul Lowin, Robert Halmi Sr.
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Synergy
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Feb. 2002
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004TIYH
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,179 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

George Orwell's classic political allegory is brought to the screen with the help of state-of-the-art puppetry and digital animation. Manor Farm sees a revolt by its livestock over their human master Farmer Jones (Pete Postlethwaite). However, a power struggle between the pigs who have led the uprising results in a swift curtailing of the animals' new-found freedom.

From Amazon.co.uk

After the technical achievement of Babe, it was almost inevitable that "talking animal" effects would be applied to the serious themes of George Orwell's Animal Farm. A bitterly satirical indictment of Stalinist Russia and the failure of Communism, Orwell's 1945 novel is a time-honoured classic, so it's only fitting that this TNT production remains largely faithful to Orwell's potent narrative. A showcase for the impressive creations of Jim Henson's Creature Shop (where director John Stephenson was a veteran supervisor), the film employs animatronic creatures and computer animation to tell the story of uprising, unity, and tragic rebellion among the farm animals.

The politics of "Animalism" are initially effective, ousting enemy humans according to rules ordained by Old Major, the barnyard pig whose death sets the stage for the corruptive influence of the pig Napoleon, who cites superior intelligence as his right to dominance. This tyrannical reign destroys the farm's stability, and the film--decidedly not for young children--preserves Orwell's dark, cynical view of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Particularly effective is a propaganda film shown to the barnyard collective, and certain scenes--while not as impressive as the Babe films--powerfully convey the force of Orwell's story through animal "performance". Animal Farm occasionally falters in its emotional impact (the fate of the horse Boxer should be heart-rending, and it isn't), but it's certainly blessed with an elite voice cast, including Peter Ustinov, Patrick Stewart, Pete Postlethwaite, Julia Ormond, Kelsey Grammer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Paul Scofield, and Ian Holm. Not the masterpiece it might've been, this is nevertheless a worthy representation of Orwell's novel. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 July 2002
Format: DVD
A mostly disappointing live action adaptation of George Orwell's classic novel of communism and revolution, which has clearly been watered down to suit a younger audience. It does have its powerful moments, particularly when Boxer's doom is involved, but is mostly devoid of the book's gripping darkness, and has transformed the desolate, grim atmosphere which Orwell depicted in writing into a colourful and picturesque farmyard. The voices are mostly excellent; one of the film's saving graces is the splendid acting, both in person and voice-over, but the animatronics aren't particularly impressive. The liberties that have been taken with the book in terms of plot will also raise a few eyebrows to anyone familiar with the original book. It opts for a happy, fairytale ending, and thus loses a great deal of its potential power, while feeling the need to insert a narating herione into the story, and unwisely making it one of the dogs, the savage beasts of Orwell's novel. To make matters worse, the dramatic irony that made the book so remarkable is missing - the narating dog sees through the tyranical pigs too clearly and explains almost everything to the viewer. If none of this bothers you, then by all means buy it - you could well enjoy it - but you're still better off buying the book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 Oct. 2003
Format: DVD
Another potentially great movie ruined because the director feels he knows better than the original author. Why they had to tinker I cannot say, but it badly misses. Why do we need the story explained by a dog? (It's almost as if they saying that the regimes thugs "aren't bad, just misunderstood") Why is the death of Boxer almost funny? (This was the single greatest act of betrayal, confirming the final corruption of Old Major's vision) What was wrong with the original and powerful end? Just shows how small changes can ruin a story - because much is true to the book. Just seems that they felt that the book was too dark and brooding - well newsflash, it was meant to be. That was surely George Orwell's point, what the point of this version is I fail to see.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Milnthorpe on 26 Aug. 2002
Format: DVD
Though I enjoyed the film, therre was a lot I wasn't happy with. This was mainly the animatronics and special effects. I thought they were really ropey, and Babe did much much better. There was something about the film that made it less impactive. I feel that it was done it a silly, camp way. Lets hope books like Watership Down don't fall into this directors grasp!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RR Waller TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Sept. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very carefully written and researched for a very specific purpose by a master writer, George Orwell's, "Animal Farm" seems, to some, an ideal story for children. It isn't. The syntax and sentence structures are too subtle for children, making it difficult to read for the average thirteen year-old; the message is also lost in the confusions of the world order depicted.

To take it from the page to screen in anything but cartoon version or modern CGI seems fraught with problems and I think this is where this version falters, not to mention changing Orwell's story in some fundamental areas, thereby losing some of the power of the fable and his original intention.

Although I have long believed that works of art should "live by their own worlds", including films, when film-makers with their potentially world-wide mass audience take classics and historical characters, I believe they have a responsibility not to change too much. For the mass audience, it may be their only glimpse of William Wallace, Robin Hood, "Animal Farm", "Lord of the Flies" (version two), Sherlock Holmes, "Wuthering Heights" to name but a few; some might say a poor view is better than none. I wonder. Pedantic - possibly.

I prefer the original cartoon version, despite its changing the ending. Perhaps it's just too complicated a fable for children and, in the arts world, cinema is still a teenager, spots and all.
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