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Movie Review: 5 Children and It

As I mentioned in a comment on Moira Richardson's blog, I have picked up a summer (non-paying) gig writing children's movie reviews for a local publication called Delmarva Youth Magazine. After speaking with the publisher/editor we decided it would be best for me to review movies that were not seen as big hits when originally released, but were really good anyway. This led me to my local Blockbuster in search of those precious films that are often overlooked. My first review will appear in the July/August issue and I will post it here as well. I spent about 45 minutes taking notes in the store before coming across this particular film, needless to say it lived up to all my expectations and I highly reccomend it for those young and old. I really enjoyed it.

Rentals Re-Visited: 5 Children and It (2004)

There are many films that are overlooked upon first release and that don’t become popular until they hit video stores. For whatever reason these films weren’t hailed as “blockbusters” or “must see movies”, but never the less they are gems, lost in a sea of cinema that stand out only after you take a second glance at them on the shelves. 5 Children and It is most definitely a film worthy of your second glance.

Released in 2004, this British film can best be described as a family friendly adventure that is set during World War I. Don’t be mistaken by the film’s historical setting; it is not overwhelming with drudging facts about the actual war, but rather uses it as a backdrop for the story. Five children are sent to live with their uncle and his young son out in the English country-side because their parents are going to help the war effort. The children’s father is a pilot and their mother, a nurse.

Upon arrival at their uncle’s mansion, the children are first overwhelmed by his eccentricities, his odd-ball scientist son, and a long list of house rules. The oddest rule of all is that the children must stay out of the greenhouse. Robert, one of the younger and more mischievous children lets his curiosity give way and enters the greenhouse alone one night. Much to his surprise he discovers a magical creature with the power to grant one wish per day. The children soon learn that with power such as wishes comes great responsibility.

This film has a lot of great qualities and is definitely worth renting. I would categorize it as a mix of any film in the Harry Potter series and Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events. Another fantastic feature about this film is that it is a total of 89 minutes long, which by no means is hard to sit through. I highly recommend this film, the story will keep you enthralled and the magical creature’s humor will have you and your children laughing.


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Comments (6)

It's also got some of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I thought the chemistry between the kids was good, and I remember chuckling at some of It's lines. It doesn't have the epic scope of the Harry Potter series, but for a kid flick, I thought it had its moments.

Leslie Rodriguez:

So Jerz, did you like the movie overall? What did your kids think about it?

They liked it fine. It's not one of their favorites, and they haven't asked to rent it again. There were a few scenes that I thought were very well done, in that they tried to sustain a story in both worlds -- unlike the Narnia books. I don't want to give any spoilers, but I particularly liked the scenes when the children are playing hide and seek at the end, and the camera shows the housekeeper getting up and leaving the room, without showing us why she's leaving, so that we see the reason when the boy does. And the sheer sentiment of the fantastic visit on the beach with the father made me tear up, though I don't know that it would affect anyone who doesn't have little kids.

I don't think that "It" was quite as entertaining as Robin Williams as the Genie in Aladdin, and I thought the movie suffered a little bit because I couldn't help but make that comparison.

It's probably been a year since I saw it last, so my memory is a bit fuzzy.

What movie do you plan to review next? Maybe I could get my kids to watch it.

Leslie Rodriguez:

I believe that the nanny knew what was going on all along, but I wondered about the Uncle's actual knowledge of It and the greenhouse. I can see the likeness between Williams' genie and IT, and I agree that is a hard character to live up to. I was very moved by the bond that the one young girl developed with IT (drawing him a picture and hugging him etc), and that made me cry at the end when they were saying goodbye.

I am currently searching for the next movie which I am going to review. It is supposed to be a box office "sleeper" that is actually a hidden treasure, as I mentioned before in my entry. Are there any movies that your family has rented that you would reccomend? I am open to suggestions. Also, I would be happy to hear what your kids think of a movie that I could reccomend for them. =)

Let's see... The Iron Giant, The Secret Garden (I think it's also know as A Little Princess), The Secret of Roan Inish (it's a bit slow for younger kids, but it's magical and well done). My wife suggested Labyrinth (which was a cult hit in the 80s, and I enjoyed watching it about 20 years later with my kids... creepy muppet fun).

Leslie Rodriguez:

Labyrinth, wasn't that with David Bowie? The muppets do have a way about them.

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