Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Film review: Swallows and Amazons (2016)

So after the previous post on the difficulty in filming S&A, what to make of the most recent attempt?

As is well known, the team involved decided to spice it up by adding a spy thriller angle involving Captain Flint aka Uncle Jim being chased by dastardly Russians.

To be honest it didn't really work for me: there were too many aspects which felt wrong.

The Russians threatened with real guns, making the imaginative land of explorers and pirates seem like empty fantasy, yet those are the heart of the book. John (2016) was too old and a bit surly and less able to sail than Optimist champion John (1974) and not at all like the 12-13 yo in the book.

2016 Nancy's accent seemed an attempt to make one of the characters not middle class, but an analysis of the Blacketts (to come) makes it clear that they clearly weren't working class. Nancy (1974) was much closer to my mental image and the play caught a truth about the Amazons as having "only the clouds and a four bedroom house for shelter".

And those man overboard rescue attempts dead downwind - surely John would know better than that!

And yes, I get the logic that Jim Turner = Ransome who was mixed up with Lenin & co. But surely he wasn't that rude?

There were some the ok parts. Roger (2016) was still Roger, Jessica Hynes and Harry Enfield as Mrs and Mr Jackson were fun. Russian spy Andrew Scott smouldered like his Moriarty in Sherlock. The Lake District looked lovely.

Is it enough to capture the youf market? Well, at the showing I saw there were only 3 other people in the cinema and at least 2 of those were adults, so maybe not.

In this case I'd say better as a book than as a film, but they should get at least some credit for raising Ransome's profile and showing kids having fun in boats.

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