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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 14 November 2013
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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on 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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on 9 April 2006
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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on 10 March 2012
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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on 1 July 2006
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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on 2 February 2009
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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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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on 20 September 2000
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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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2015
I do recall watching this movie, based on the popular children's novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, whilst I was at primary school. That was (rather worryingly) around 15 years ago, and I hadn't seen it again until today. To my delight, it was just as good as I remembered it to be, but it did leave me feeling shocked at just how violent it was in places, child abuse clearly there on screen. Still, 'Matilda' is one magical movie, but it might be a little bit distressing to very young children.

Directed by Danny DeVito, who also stars as the girl's father, this 1996 adventure tells of tale of Matilda Wormwood (beautifully played by Mara Wilson, whose acting roles have been far and few between since), a quirky little girl who is treated appalling by her neglectful family, just because, they don't understand her. She's highly intelligent, loves to read her books, and possesses a very special power which stands her in very good stead when she starts school. There, she encounters a wonderful teacher, the aptly named Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz), but is also soon to feel the wrath of the cruel, fearsome headmistress Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), who hates children, and is nothing short of psychotic. I have to say that Ferris is terrific in her part, and it's a testament to what a versatile actress she is, I couldn't quite believe that this was the same woman who was to later play lovely Laura Thyme in ITV's 'Rosemary and Thyme'. The role of Matilda's mother went to Rhea Perlman, who is also DeVito's wife in real-life. It was perfect casting all around.

Poor Matilda faces a lot of difficulty throughout the movie, treated like dirt by those closest to her, but she manages to come out of it on top, with a heart-warming ending which truly moved me. For kids who feel isolated, misunderstood, and not treated with the respect which every young human being deserves, will take some comfort from watching 'Matilda'. I know there were elements of her life which spoke to me. Where there are moments of darkness, there are also plenty laugh-out-loud moments to balance out the mood of this wonderful family film.

The 'Special Edition' DVD from 2012, contains some lovely special features for the young ones, including a read-along, several educational games based entirely on the events which took place in the movie, and for the adults, an insightful look behind-the-scenes.
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