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A work of art made with huge dedication,
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This review is from: Peter & The Wolf - Sergei Prokofiev [DVD]  (DVD)
In this animated film Suzie Templeton has remained fairly faithful to Prokofiev's original story. There are subtle differences where the story has been adapted for the modern audience and for when the medium of animation make a change necessary. Prokofiev's wonderful music remains unchanged. As there is no dialogue from any of the characters and no narration it is the animation alone which gives the film its narrative.
The hunters are portrayed as two incompetent and cowardly thugs which means that there is a tiny bit of violence in the film. In a scene near the beginning (before any of Prokofiev's music) Peter accidentally collides with one of the hunters in the street and so annoyed is the hunter that he pins Peter up against a wall and then throws him in to a rubbish bin.
The duck pond in the meadow is frozen over which allows for some really good animation as the bird and the duck slide and frolic across the ice. In the original narratored musical versions of this part of the story I suppose one could argue that the dialogue is slightly flawed when the bird says to the duck "what kind of bird are you if you can't fly?" because of course ducks can fly!. Could there be any children out there who grew up believing ducks can't fly as a result of listening to Peter and the wolf?. No such dialogue occurs in this film version so no such misunderstanding can occur.
The animation and attention to detail throughout the film is magnificent. Every hair and piece of fur (all artificial) was placed with tweezers strand by strand and it took an artist a whole month to cover the wolf with fur!. The facial expressions are wonderful and the skin of the human characters is very life like, one of the best examples is the grandfathers hands which look old and veined.
The way in which the animation is so accurately synchronised to the music is brilliant too in this perfect marriage of the two art forms.
There is even humour. The funniest part of the film is when the bird escapes from the cat. He flies on to the branch of a tree and then deliberately poops in the cats face at which the duck can be heard laughing in the background.
Templeton has given a twist to the ending of her film so do not read on if you want the ending to be a surprise. After Peter has caught the wolf he and his grandfather put him in a cage and take him to the city market in grandfathers car. When they arrive in the city crowds gather and taunt the imprisoned wolf. Peter takes pity on the wolf. Having been at times virtually imprisoned himself by his over protective grandfather he makes a connection as he stares into the eyes of the wolf and so he opens the cage allowing the wolf to escape to freedom.