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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a fairly faithful (in concept) retelling of Edith Nesbit's moralistic children's classic, although the story is reset in the first world war period. This film is very gentle and occasionally moving to watch, although it is more amusing than laugh out loud funny (at least when Eddie Izzard isn't about). It's more 'The railway children' or 'The secret garden' than 'Spy Kids' (hardly surprising as Nesbit also wrote The Railway Children).

The stalwart British adult actor's Zoe Wannamaker and Kenneth Branagh are in good form and all the children are excellent and likable leads, particularly the young Freddie Highmore [now the new Charlie in Charlie & the Chocolate factory] and his tubby 'nasty cousin' Horace (Alexander Pownall) - although perhaps it might have been a little less cliched if their roles had been reversed. The wise & witty old sand fairy naturally steals all his scenes (and Eddy Izzard is really great as his voice). The only downside is the rather naff static dinosaur sequence, more than made up for though by the breathtaking Zeppelin scene (best viewed on the big screen). There are some other famous UK faces as well, including Norman Wisdom in a micro cameo. The film hasn't got the depth or historical accuracy of the three hour BBC's Five Children And It TV adaptation of the book from 1991, and is far less faithful to the book's plotline set in the earlier late Victorian/Edwardian period. However the film is quite acceptable fun and has the advantage that it can easily be viewed as a sequel to the superb BBC adaptation. The actual sequel to the book though is BBCs later 1997 'all star' serialisation 'The Phoenix and the carpet', which at present only available highly edited as a region 1 NTSC import Disney film from Amazon resellers (and this DVD is also highly recommended if you can find it cheaply - until the proper BBC Region 2 six episode DVD set appears).

On release, my 10 y old daughter and I chose this 'Five Children and it' film over Sharks Tale and didn't regret it. My daughter was absorbed throughout it (and cried a bit). My 8 y old son and mum really enjoyed this DVD later. So well worth couple of viewings on quiet winter Sundays.
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on 26 July 2015
This was shown on TV sometime ago. I recorded it to show my Grandson who loved it so much he repeatedly asked to see it again. So I bought the DVD and he is absolutely thrilled. Its a nice little story with some hidden teachings such as how to be kind, share and not be self-centred, spoilt and spiteful. Would highly recommend. Its well worth viewing
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on 11 November 2005
This film is a masterpiece that puts together information on wartime britain with the mischievous lives of children. It is about a group of children who discover a secret that has been hidden in the ground for thousands of years to be awoken. It was funny in some bits although it does have a moral which is cleverly hidden in the story. A must se for the whole family.
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on 3 December 2005
On its own this was a good film. The basic premise is there, five children, an it and some wishes which fade at sunset. This was a fun, funny movie with the appropriate lump in your throat moments. I enjoyed it but wasn't so keen on how estranged Robert seemed to be from his brothers and sisters. Kenneth Brannagh and Zoe Wannamaker were topnotch of course and Eddie Izzard provides much amusement as It. This film isn't particularly faithful to the book by E. Nesbit, only a few basic points correspond at all and if you're looking for something that will compliment the book then you might be better off going for the BBC mini series. If, however you're looking for a fun movie to watch with the kids then I would definitely recommend this one.
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on 7 April 2012
Good fun for all the family. Takes you back to an innocent age with great performances from the likes of Kenneth Branagh. Got it after seeing it on TV - you would not believe what they edit out to make room for some crap adverts. The film is so much better without them so don't wait for TV they corrupt a good film.
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I was thoroughly capivated by this dvd. The story is fairly simple. City children are evacuated to the country to stay with their cousin. On arrival they are given free rein of the house, but are not to go to the greenhouse. Needless to say, it is the first place they explore. Inside exists a secret passage to a special beach, the home of the Sand Fairy, aka IT. IT grants wishes but, with a twist...

Kenneth Branagh is wonderful as the excentric uncle.

A lovely family movie.
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on 31 August 2006
If you've ever watched the fantastic TV series 'The Phoenix & The Carpet' then this is a very similar story. The book is by the same author and it revolves around middle/upper class victorian children who happen upon an adventure where they are granted a wish every day (or three wishes in P&TC). I don't think its as good but its still great fun, my girls loved it especially the 'Psammead' or 'IT' which is a sand fairy (also appears in an episode of Phoenix). Its a recurring story, the kids get a wish which they rush and realise they have to wait a day to correct the mess they've got into. The story is really heartwarming though and theres a lot of sentiment involved and a happy ending. Great little cameo role for Norman Wisdom too !!!
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on 3 January 2015
Children enjoyed this, especially Eddie Izzard, but I thought it disappointing compared with my memories of an earlier version. The book is much better. They cut large chunks (inevitable I suppose) and transformed it into Second World War which sort of worked.
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on 4 March 2008
The five Children and it

This enthralling children's classic has been converted into blockbuster screens. An emotional adventure tells the tale of five children who when evacuated due to world war one find a secret tunnel in the forbidden greenhouse in their cousins manor. As the story progresses the children discover the sand fairy or `it' buried in the magical beach through the tunnel. 'It' helps the children discover that what they want isn't necessarily what's best for them in the long run. The fairy grants them one wish each day and due to their father being away at war their wishes are often far-flung and drastic, events quickly spin out of hand....

This movie is carried along by the young child star Freddie Highmore who also played Charlie in Charlie and the chocolate factory. His innocent boyish face portrays the hurt of losing someone closest to you in a way only a child could. Other famous stars include Kenneth Branagh (uncle) and Eddie Izzard (the voice of it).
As the movie is swept along the house bully Horace (Alexander Pownall) catches the fairy and tries to kill it for his collection. Will the fairy escape in time to stop the whole town being eaten by a rampaging T-rex and will `dad' ever come home.
Directed by John Stephenson this movie is a must see!
By Eleanor Daly 14
(4 stars)
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on 19 March 2015
I had seen this on the tv a while ago and had it on record, but I love the film so much that I had to 'have' it! It's a really great family film, perfect for a cosy day filled with childhood nostalgia!
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