Re: Guardian Film review

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Posted by Mike Field on July 24, 2016 at 18:00:24 user mikefield.

In Reply to: Guardian Film review posted by Adam Quinan on July 24, 2016 at 13:16:17:

Hh'mmm... I'm afraid that neither the Guardian's nor Variety's review inspires with me any desire to watch the film. Leaving aside all the additional plot events and twists that are not actually part of the story at all, blow me down, they couldn't even get Swallow herself right! Not only is she finished bright like Amazon, but they also gave her a forestay, shrouds, and a barn-door rudder for good measure. And no sculling notch -- which is a shocking lapse, given the importance that the ability to scull both dinghies has to the story.

If you're going to do something at all, why not do it properly? The Variety review talks about this film's Swallow's being a "clinker-built little boat clearly sourced with every care by production designer Suzie Davies." I'm afraid the fact is that Suzie plainly didn't use enough care. They could have built a perfect copy of Swallow for a few thousand quid -- a miniscule proportion of the overall cost of production. Or they could simply have hired the 1974 film version, which is much closer in design to the original and has been restored and is sailing, as we know.

The Guardian review calls the new film a "self-conscious period adaptation that grafts on a new grownup plotline of treachery and derring-do, probably closer to Enid Blytonís Famous Five or John Buchan"; and it calls the story addition a "new and implausible line in melodrama", mentioning "a frankly bizarre and not entirely logical chase sequence aboard a train in which sinister trench-coated figures behave strangely". Variety's review mentions "a dramatic third-act convergence involving a sea-plane. Itís a stunt that feels more of a piece with Enid Blytonís lusty disregard for plausibility".

While I'm somewhat of a fan of Enid Blyton, and a much greater one of John Buchan, in my view neither Blyton nor Buchan has any place in an Arthur Ransome story.

The Guardian's review ends by saying, "This Swallows and Amazons is decent enough: but probably best savoured on the small screen after tea on a rainy Sunday."

I'm afraid it's a film I myself have no intention of watching at all.

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