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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Fun
I thought this DVD was going to be a 'strictly one for the kids' but we all watched it together and it has all the joy, sparkle and dark humour of the 70's film version of Roald Dahl's other brilliant kid's book Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Great fun!
A great present for any child under ten (Which their parents will like to)
Published on 29 July 2010 by Linreviews

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
granddaughter love it
Published 10 months ago by Mr M N Duckett


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Fun, 29 July 2010
I thought this DVD was going to be a 'strictly one for the kids' but we all watched it together and it has all the joy, sparkle and dark humour of the 70's film version of Roald Dahl's other brilliant kid's book Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Great fun!
A great present for any child under ten (Which their parents will like to)
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Blu-Ray release., 14 Nov. 2013
By 
W. Beckett (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matilda [Blu-ray] [1996] (Blu-ray)
For those who loved the film on DVD - this is a lovely Blu-Ray release to re-enjoy the Movie all over again. Having not seen it for a few years, one thing suddenly shouted out at me. That Danny DeVito was indeed a sorely underestimated director. All the various camera angles and not afraid of the long shots, you can tell he worked it all out with affection to capture all the right emotions. Ably assisted of course by a good cast and editor. One notable thing on the Blu-Ray is a 2013 Reunion. Everybody reassembled having a genuine warmth and love for each other. And the fact that Danny DeVito comes across as a genuinely nice bloke on the point of trying to hide any touched emotional tears speaks volumes for the care and love he invested into the project. Sadly - no commentary track while all were assembled was a missed opportunity. A party atmosphere while they all watched it together would've been great. That said - for picture quality alone and the little Reunion segment, it's worth upgrading from your old DVD.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Story of Matilda!, 5 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Matilda [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
`Matilda' is my favourite children's book by Roald Dahl! It's also my favourite children's movie wonderfully adapted and directed by Danny DeVito!

I have very fond childhood memories of this film as I was growing up as a child. It's a brilliant and wonderful film starring Mara Wilson as Matilda, and also starring Danny DeVito, Rhea Pearlman, Embeth Davidtz and Pam Ferris who lead a colourful cast of characters.

When I was at primary school at 9/10 years old, we were introduced in our class to this movie and book of `Matilda'. I was fascinated and intrigued by this movie and it was over one Christmas at my grandparents' house that my family and I got to watch this splendid film about a little girl who's super-bright and super-amazing with the power to move things with her eyes. Afterwards, I spent a period in school studying and learning about `Matilda' the movie and the book by Roald Dahl. My teacher leant me a recorded copy of `Matilda' on VHS. It didn't have the first three minutes since my teacher failed to record that. But I was able to watch `Matilda' over again and again, and loved it so much that I wanted the actual movie on home video. My parents bought the VHS home video of `Matilda' and we could watch it properly from start to finish and I was happy. `Matilda' was one of the happiest periods of my childhood, I can tell you.

With the advent of DVD in 2001, I wanted to own `Matilda' so that we can watch the movie on our family DVD player. We got the original DVD release which was pretty rubbish as it didn't have many special features as I would have liked. But in 2004, `Matilda' was re-released with a brand new Special Edition with more special features containing behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew on the making of the movie that I enjoyed and games to play for the kids which were fun! `Matilda' is a personal favourite and I would love to relive my childhood again enjoying this colourful and delightful movie.

'Matilda' is based on the book by Welsh children's author Roald Dahl, who also wrote 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' and 'James and the Giant Peach', and was published in 1988. It's a story about a little girl who gets ignored by her family and becomes somebody extraordinary. She loves reading books and loves to learn. She puts up with her annoying dad Mr Wormwood, her annoying mum Mrs Wormwood and annoying brother Michael, who love watching TV instead of reading books. Matilda wants to learn and prove herself to her family. But her father calls her a `liar' and a `cheat' and dismisses her completely. Matilda soon goes to school and gets to enjoy being in Miss Honey's class, who's a kind schoolteacher. The school however is menaced by the headmistress/principal Miss Trunchbull. Through the story, Matilda gets to discover extraordinary psychokinetic powers within her and uses them to pay back at those who make her angry and call her horrid names such as her dad and Miss Trunchbull.

The reason why I like `Matilda' so much is that I enjoyed watching the movie and reading the book in school. The teacher would read us a chapter per day as we delved more into the world of `Matilda'. The movie is an intelligent film about kids and life in general. Despite being filmed in America and not in the UK, it's well-adapted from Roald Dahl's original book by Danny DeVito and his filmmaking team. It's a faithful adaption to what the story's about. I loved every moment in it and loved how Mara Wilson plays Matilda with such believability, and this film became one of my favourites!

Mara Wilson stars as Matilda in this film, the extraordinary girl with a super brain! This is one of Mara's five film appearances on the big screen, and it's one she's well remembered and loved for. Mara is absolutely sweet in this movie! She brings Matilda to life with an honest performance and likeable personality. I'm sure this is the first time I'd seen Mara in anything proper. The character she plays is pretty remarkable as she starts off as a little girl who's fed up with her family and learns to take care of herself. She's keen on wanting to read books at the library and learn new things at school. She gets ridiculed by her parents who don't take an interest in her and is terrified by the Trunchbull, seeing the horrible things she does to children at her school. But she likes Miss Honey who's kind to her and shares a good friendship with her at school. I really like Mara as Matilda and she's such a gifted child actress to play a title character in this movie!

Danny DeVito the director; also acts in this movie as Matilda's dad, Harry Wormwood. Danny is well-known for comedy and suits the character of Mr Wormwood really well. Harry is a car salesman who cheats on people who purchase cars from him at very unfair prices. He gets wealthy and lives in a really nice house for his family. He's not a very nice person. He's pretty rude and burps during meals. Harry loves watching TV with his family and doesn't take an interest in Matilda. He calls Matilda a lair and ridicules her reading and maths abilities. My favourite line from Harry to Matilda is this one. `I'm smart, you're dumb; I'm big, you're little; I'm right, you're wrong! And there's nothing you can do about it!' Matilda gets her own back on her dad by changing his hair girl giving him peroxide blonde hair and puts superglue in Harry's hat which he can't take off, which is very funny!

Rhea Pearlman, who was Danny DeVito's wife at the time, appears in this movie as Matilda's mom, Zinnia Wormword. Rhea is well-known for playing Carla in the American sitcom `Cheers'. In this movie, she plays Zinnia who is Matilda's mom. She, like Harry, doesn't take an interest in Matilda either and shares her enjoyment of watching TV with her husband and goes off to play bingo every day. I wouldn't be surprised if Harry mentions Matilda's name and she goes `Who?'; `The one you know?'; `Oh yeah, her! What's she done now?' She comes across as a pretty silly woman who hasn't got a grasp on real life especially when she doesn't know FBI cops to speedboats salesmen. The line she gives to Miss Honey saying `You chose books; I chose looks!' summaries her character.

Embeth Davidtz plays Miss Honey in this movie. Embeth was in `Schindler's List' and has recently been in 'The Amazing Spider-Man' movies as Mary Parker, Peter Parker's mother. Miss Honey is the remarkably sweet, lovely and kind teacher in Matilda's class. She's there to reason things out and is impressed with Matilda's remarkable learning in reading, writing and mathematics. She tries to advance her skills in an older and advanced class, but the headmistress Miss Trunchbull won't allow it. Even when she goes to visit Matilda's parents, they're not too bothered and are uninterested in Matilda attending college. There's a dark secret about Miss Honey which she shares with Matilda. It turns out Miss Trunchbull is her aunt and she ran away from her old house in order to be free. Will she be freed entirely from the menace of Miss Trunchbull and will Matilda help her?

Pam Ferris is the evil Miss Trunchbull in the movie. Pam is the only British actress to appear in the American film of `Matilda', and would go on to appear in many TV and film productions including `Harry Potter' and appear in a Big Finish audio of `Doctor Who' with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton called 'The Eternal Summer'. Miss Trunchbull is the headmistress/principal of Crunchem Hall, Matilda's school. She hates children and does some terrible things to them. She throws them out of a window; punishes them without good reason and throws them in the `chokey' - a chamber with lots of spikes and nails in it. She has this riding crop that uses to scare children, and usually wears a green uniform and breeches on the school premises. She terrifies everyone, including Matilda. But there's a side of her that makes her very superstitious and scared easily. This is something Matilda homes in on to use her psychic powers against the Trunchbull to terrify her and rid her off Crunchem Hall school. I was really terrified of the Trunchbull when I watched this film, and Pam Ferris plays her amazingly well.

Matilda makes a number of friends at her school whilst being menaced by the Trunchbull. There's Lavender (Kiami Davael) who becomes Matilda's best friend in her class. There's Hortensia (Kira Spencer Hesser) who's in the older class at Crunchem Hall and tells Matilda and Lavender about the Trunchbull on their first day of school. There's Bruce Bogtrotter (Jimmy Karz) who gets to forced to eat a giant chocolate cake by Miss Trunchbell, and is one of the most memorable scenes of the entire movie! And there's Amanda Thripp (Jacqueline Steiger) who wears pig tails in her hair, until the Trunchbull who hates pig tails, swings her around by her hair and throws her into the air to end up in the flower beds.

As well acting in the film, Danny DeVito gets to be the director of a deliciously delightful children's movie. Danny's field is in comedy and he puts that in this film very well in certain comical moments from the book and also put into the film by the scriptwriters. But Danny puts in a lovely blend of drama that's so essential to `Matilda' especially when she's upset or lonely or when she's having touching scenes with Miss Honey. He casts very well especially with his wife Rhea Pearlman playing his movie wife Mrs Wormwood and also Pam Ferris who plays a really convincing and mean Miss Trunchbull. He also does well in directing the special effects provided on the film, whether it's from practical effects or using some CGI. The movie feels magical and is easy to get into with Danny at the helm. A truly colourful film that is so well made especially for children!

I love the set design on this film. I like the set for the Wormwood's house; the sets for Crunchem Hall school e.g. from the cheerful Miss Honey's class to the bleak Miss Trunchbull's office; and I like the two houses for Miss Honey and Miss Trunchbell. There's a certain open colourfulness about the film that makes it appealing to children and it's nice for that blend of darkness and colour to come into this film. It brings the world of `Matilda' to life in a unique way which I'm sure was never anticipated and don't see how it could have been done in any other way.

The special effects, as I said before, are well handled in this film. There's some really effects moments such as the super-glue hat sequence with flying food; the exploding TV and Matilda dancing in the Wormwood house living room doing her magic with cards flying around. The lighting for some of the sequences are really good including the night sequences at Matilda's house along with the wind machines; and the ghostly-like haunting scenes for Miss Trunchbull in the climax of the movie with the magic chalk and attacking erasers. A very nice blend of effects in the movie that doesn't deviate from enjoying the story!

On the Special Edition DVD for `Matilda', there are number of really good special features for both adults and children.

For the kids, there's a `Matilda The Movie - Read Along', which is a DVD storybook telling that can either be read to you or you can read yourself. It has some nice sound bites from the movie to accompany to reading.

There are number of `Featurettes' to enjoy looking at the behind-the-scenes making of the movie. There's `Matilda's Movie Magic' that looks into some of the behind-the-scenes effects and moments of the movie including `Stunt Hats and Flying Desserts'; `The Exploding Television'; `Transforming the Trunchbull'; `Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake'; `Magic Chalk'; `Attack of the Erasers'; etc. This can be played either a single documentary or can be played throughout the movie using the magic ribbon in certain scenes.

There's also `A Children's Guide To Good Manners'; `Escape To The Library'; `My Movie About Making Matilda by Mara Wilson'. Each of these featurettes include interviews with cast and crew, especially Mara Wilson in her own `movie about making Matilda' and she's truly remarkable and bright as Matilda is in real life.

For the kids, there are a number of `Games' to play in the movie. There's `A Truly Terrible Test' where the Trunchbull tests your general knowledge on maths and science in three rounds. Believe me, I found these really challenging as the rounds are `Mildly Annoying'; `Somewhat Dreadful' and `Deviously Nasty'. There are some `Classroom Games' including the Spelling Bee and Math Magic. My favourite word `Difficulty' is in the Spelling Bee as Miss Honey's class learnt how to spell that word using a poem. "Mrs D; Mrs I; Mrs F F I; Mrs C, Mrs U, Mrs L T Y".

There's also `Get Rid of The Trunchbull' Trivia Game, which is a lot of fun containing four rounds on four scenes asking a number of trivia questions in each one. There's also `Make Magic With Matilda' which is a mix and match card game. And there's `Terrify the Trunchbull' that is a series of interactive fun items on things that scare the Trunchbull such as a newt; erasers and a spinning globe.

There's also `Matilda the Movie Character Gallery' that features profiles on the main characters of the movie from Matilda; Miss Honey; the Wormwoods and Miss Trunchbull that is for the kids. There are also a number of trailers for other children's films, but not one for Matilda apparently.

For the Blu-ray edition of `Matilda', there's a reunion documentary of the cast and crew looking back on the making of `Matilda'. This really annoys me as I would love to see that documentary that's not on the DVD.

So `Matilda' is a great children's film that I have fond memories of when growing up. It features a splendidly delightful performance by Mara Wilson as Matilda; a terrifying performance by Pam Ferris as the villainous Miss Trunchbull; a lovely performance by Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey and two brilliantly comical performances by Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman as Matilda's parents. The film's brilliantly directed by Danny DeVito and is a wonderful adaption from Roald Dahl's book. It's one of my favourites, and I'm sure it'll be yours too!

If you want to see more of Mara Wilson, see her other film appearances in 'Mrs. Doubtfire'; 'Miracle On 34th Street'; 'A Simple Wish' and 'Thomas And The Magic Railroad'.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "matilda" rocks!, 9 April 2006
By 
I love the movie Matilda, it rocks! I saw the movie on TV first then read the book and I love it. The movie's very true to the book and devito has done a good job there. With out a doubt the 2 stars that really got my attention and did a really, really good job where Pam ferris (trunchbull) and mara wilson (matilda). Mara did a great job with Matilda. She wasn't too cute and cuddly which better suits the role of Matilda and Pam's way of putting humor into the trunchbull and also still making her terrifying was awesome.

Any way get the special edition because ive got the plain DVD and it's only got the movie. All the special stuff rocks! You'll love it!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little and Large, 1 July 2006
By 
Louise Stanley (Reading, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matilda [DVD] [1996] (DVD)
This film is so good - for both kids and adults - that I think Dahl himself must be looking down from Heaven and smiling - after the rumours of what he felt about the production of The Witches. Some of the characterisations, sets and costumes could have been put together by the master of kitsch, Baz Luhrmann, and this is a testament to both Dahl's eye for detail and Danny DeVito's wicked sense of humour - and vice versa. Although in many ways the story has been changed and not least Americanised, Dahl's original book was rather short on substance, despite the fantastic plot, and DeVito's adaptation suits it much better than setting it in phlegmatic old England. Plus Miss Trunchbull as an Englishwoman adrift among Americans makes her character even more grotesque as she brings her curious brand of "English" discipline to an ordinary American suburb, and the way she mimics the cutesy American accents adds much more to her character than if the film had stayed set in England. And since it ends in the way Dahl intended it to - and indeed for fans of Quentin Blake's illustrations, the handwriting on the board is absolutely spot on to that pictured in the book itself, which shows DeVito is paying attention not only to the original but to critics of Americans making films of English children's classics - there is nothing for that peculiarly English snobbery about "disneyfication" to latch on to as there might have been with The Witches.

Although DeVito's additions of the stupid FBI cops enhance the story (and prove that Matilda is just as smart with people who are supposedly on her side, which I loved and which makes her the sassiest heroine for a long time), there is sadly one bit that really annoyed me - Miss Honey. In the book she is down-to-earth, practical and nonchalant about her fate. In the film...ugh, I needed to do my teeth afterwards lest they fall out from all the sugary-sweet acting. From the moment she turns up on screen the film - while not completely ruined - takes a turn for the "unrealistic". I guess Miss Honey had to live up to her name, but Miss Saccharine would have been more appropriate. The stomach-churning episode with the doll and the chocolates is disappointing, but I suppose the film manages to pull it off - just about - with more of Dahl's refreshingly grim humour injected into it just as Honey becomes Honey Monster. I suppose for an American audience the heroine has to be whiter-than-white, but since I was raised on Quentin Blake's gawky bespectacled blue-stocking, I suppose someone coming to this film without the backhistory might not mind.

But...the best thing about films of children's books, like with Narnia, is that the silver screen gives the chance for the characters to really come to life and details which would crowd a hundred-page novella can be added, and the film manages to create a whole world that is just as believable from Matilda's point of view as the Dahl version, without losing any of the master's sparkling wit or erudite points dropped in at a moment's notice. Bravissimo!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'QUITE SIMPLY MAGICAL' (BLU-RAY VERSION), 12 Nov. 2013
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matilda [Blu-ray] [1996] (Blu-ray)
A genuinely delightful family orientated movie in which we find
young 'Matilda' starting out in life not really feeling a part of
her dysfunctional family.
From a young age she had to cater for herself, her father at 'Work'
her mother at 'Bingo' her brother at School.
'Matilda' is a whole lot smarter than her family members realize.
Eventually 'Matilda' is allowed to go too school, something the
eager youngster had wanted to do for some years.
This is where her story really begins.
With Tyrannical Head 'Miss Trunchbull' and the one class teacher
'Miss Honey' who sees potential in her new student, the stage is
set for some magical moments.
The film is often 'laugh-out-loud' funny, a must for the family
movie collection.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray format is good.
The film does have a 'Blu-Ray' exclusive among it's additional
features which is 'A Magical 'Matilda' reunion.' among the standard
features.....'Making Matilda' by 'Mara Wilson' (who played the title
role)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life Changing Story., 10 Mar. 2012
By 
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this stories changed my life. As a child I was not even remotely interested in books, not one bit. I would dig for worms or play Cinderella but sit and read or be read to, no thank you. I can remember as though it was yesterday (and not 20 odd years ago) it was pouring rain - the type that even puts off the meanest of dogs - so there was no chance we were visiting the beach, instead my father sat me down with my rabbit, we curled up on bean bags with blankets and he read me Matilda. I have read everyday since, the biggest and fullest room in my house is my library (I have thousands of books and no space to house new adventures) but I will never stop and I can thank Roald Dahl for my lifelong obsession with reading.

This movie is a great adaptation of my favorite story and unlike most cases when the story/book is so loved the film version can often be disappointing but it's safe to say this movie passed the test - it's great, huge amount of family fun for kids of all ages.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Plain Childs Play, 2 Feb. 2009
By 
S. K. Wilson "DVD Wizard" (Abbey Wood, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Two excellent DVDs in one pack. I was glad to find these on DVD as there are two favourites from childhood. They are definitely a great buy for young children as I often share them with my much younger brother, who always wants to watch them at least twice in a row. Plus, if you are a big kid like me then they are a must buy too. They bought back very fond memories from my childhood and the antics I got up to at a very young age. Apart from being a good reminiscence tool they have an enjoyable storyline that captures the imagination, definitely one to savour.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A funny, appealing, and truly enjoyable film., 20 Sept. 2000
By A Customer
This is the top favourite video in our house just now. I was initially nervous of buying it, thinking that Roald Dahl can often be scary for children and having seen a clip of the terrifying "Miss Trunchbull". But all the children who have seen it - from aged 4 to 9 - have loved it without reservation, distinguished easily between the good and bad characters, and seem to have learnt only from the good ones! Mary Wilson, as Matilda, is a delight, and the "grownup" cast play their roles impeccably. We love this film!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special release for a special film, 15 Nov. 2013
By 
Picard (USS Enterprise) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Matilda [Blu-ray] [1996] (Blu-ray)
Though nostalgia can often glaze over quality, it could be argued that Matilda is one of the most overlooked children's films of the Nineties. This may partly be down to a lack of acceptance in the U.S...

But who wouldn't find this movie to be an uplifting experience? Roald Dahl's words have delighted children for years, and it's rare to see a screen adaptation that has at least equalled its paperback origins. At the heart Matilda is a very simple story of self confidence, but it also played out in such a way that it appeals to all generations of viewers.

And what about the cast? Pam Ferris completely steals the show as Ms. Trunchbull - a creature that you can both despise and love at the very same time, so convincing is she as the manic headmistress. Critics think less of Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey (Venturing on the 'gooeyness' of her character), but she provides vital relief in the story and is the teacher you dreamed of having as a child. Danny DeVito, who incidentally directed this film, is perfect as the egotistical and controlling father who can never be wronged, while Mara Wilson does a charming job of making Matilda her own.

The film's transfer to Blu-ray is pretty much flawless, though I haven't come to expect anything less from Sony (Their reputation is second to none). Matilda arrives in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, which makes the widest release yet and a significant upgrade from previous releases. Definition is fantastic across the whole frame, resulting in details that were previously unseen. Grain is also intact and the colour grading is faithful. Some will point out that the black levels appear at touch weak at times, but this is no fault of the transfer - rather, it's part of the original photography. I find it more of a crime when studios crush black levels beyond any kind of filmic look, so again, credit to Sony.

It's also nice to see a collection of extra features that, surprisingly, aren't fully advertised on the packaging. As well as a number of older documentaries in SD, there is some new HD material; one of which an interesting 'get together' with the cast.

In short, this is a superb release of a classic family film.
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