Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Peter and the Wolf|
Director: Suzie Templeton
Genres: Indie & Art House, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Animation
State-of-the-art digital technology and a new orchestral recording bring to life this fantastical retelling of Sergei Prokofiev s classic fable of a magical world in which little boys can find the strength and courage to o... more »
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Technically stunning, and thematically dark
Joe Sixpack -- Slipcue.com | ...in Middle America | 12/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Peter And The Wolf" (2008)
Technically stunning, and thematically dark, this amazing adaptation of Sergei Prokoviev's classic children's piece, features marvelous stop-motion animation from director Suzie Templeton.
The film places "Peter" squarely back into its Russian origins, but rather than an idealized rural-agrarian past, it places the story in a more modern setting, amid glum, drab, rundown shacks and tattered forests, a grim vision of a Soviet-era or post-Soviet Eastern Europe, complete with gun-toting thugs (the hunters of the original story here seem more like cold-hearted militiamen) and the nearby village appears as a rundown, dismal cinderblock outpost. Amid this crushing gloom, Peter finds wonder and joy, unlocking a secret garden where he and his friends the bird and the duck (both crippled and unable to fly) are able to play and forget the bleakness around them.
While this may sound a bit miserable, the film itself is a marvel: the amount of work that went into this film is amazing, with Templeton devoting a full five years of her life to completing the piece. Equally engrossing are the added special features, including a making-of video and interview with Templeton and her cohorts that gives a sense of the sheer scope of their project, and the level of detail that went into this production. While the film itself may be a bit dark for smaller children, it will enthrall older kids and adults alike... This is a real class act, a film worth having and viewing for years to come. Recommended! (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film reviews)"
Beautiful, stark and amazing!
D. Ross | San Francisco, Ca United States | 12/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Suzie Templeton may be little known outside of the world of stop motion animation circles, but she is an incredible talent with a penchant for dark, thoughtful and sometimes twisted short subjects. With Peter and the Wolf she delves more into the mainstream and handles her biggest project to date.
Templeton has weaved together an international co-production between studios in Britain and Poland, using stop motion animation and digital effects to create a modern retelling of the Sergei Prokofiev musical.
There are plenty of reviews of the movie itself, but the amazon.com description does not include information about the plethora of extras on this new Region 1 DVD. Included are:
The musical themes
The story in pictures
The making of Peter & the Wolf
Behind the scenes documentary
If you are worried about buying an $18 DVD for just a 32 minute feature, you can rest assured you are getting much more than that.
David J. Evans | 10/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just watched on PBS. This film is stunning to look at, tells an amazing story. Incredible articulation of the characters. Reminds me of vintage russian animations (if you've ever seen "Masters of Russian Animation" it's the same feel.) An instant classic. Can't wait for my copy!"
Peter without the narrative (or Prokofiev's ending)...deligh
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 03/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For a young boy, unhappiness can be a natural state. Peter and his aged grandfather live in a scrabbly old farmhouse on the edge of a forbidding Russian forest. The grandfather has built a wooden fence around the dirt yard and forbids Peter to go into the forest, where dangerous things lurk, like wolves. Peter hates this. All Peter has for a friend is a scruffy, long-necked duck. When he goes into town two hunters bully him. Still, Peter is a good kid. He helps a bird with an injured wing fly again with the help of a balloon. He sneaks out and plays on the iced pond, skittering and sliding and joined by the duck. He accepts his grandfather's fat, fat cat as a creature perhaps not to like, but not to hurt. Peter even manages to catch the dangerous, hungry and mangy wolf in his net. Peter stops his grandfather from shooting the wolf. When he and his grandfather take it to town, Peter is a hero. But it's not to last. Those hunters show up to taunt and bully the wolf. Peter stops them with his net. Then, Peter...and at this point you need to see this stop-action animation short film.
The director, Suzie Templeton, changes some of Sergei Prokofiev's storyline, as well as ditching all the narrative. There's no dialogue, just the music and silence. She gives a conclusion that is unexpected, brave and touching. This is particularly so when we figure out that there are lessons to be learned, especially since there are bullies in this world, and good friends can die. Cats eat birds, wolves eat ducks, bullies hurt any they want who are weaker than they.
This new look at Prokofiev's symphony for children runs less than 30 minutes. Over the years, the narrative, in my opinion, had become a boring old aunt who stays too long when she visits. There doesn't seem to have been a celebrity who hasn't wanted to prove his or her love for the kiddies, score some publicity and make a few bucks by doing the narrative. We're talking everyone from Arthur Godfrey to John Gielgud, Boris Karloff to Paul Hogan, Sean Connery to Mia Farrow, George Raft to William Buckley. That's just starters. Without the narrative, and with Templeton's visual style, we wind up concentrating on the story. That means we wind up concentrating on this kid who starts out unhappy and who winds up teaching us all a thing or two.
The extras are worth watching, including the discussion of the development of the film by the director and how the stop-action animation stuff was worked. And, of course, you'll learn which musical instruments go with which characters. This Peter and the Wolf won the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short Film. It's a thoughtful, delightful film."