Fed up with the human owner the four-legged friends of animal farm decide to stage a revolt to be free and equal. Led by napoleon the pig they lead a victorious fight against the farmers. But they soon realize they might n... more »eed the humans help after all. Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 01/18/2000 Starring: Kelsey Grammar Ian Holm Run time: 91 minutes Rating: Nr« less
Francisco J. Calderon | Mexico City, Mexico | 08/24/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Orwell's bleak fable about revolution betrayed gets the full sunny "family-entertainment" Hallmark treatment and the result, as you can imagine, is abominable! Pity, for it has a great cast and several scenes worth looking at, but, as a whole, this movie -as all TNT "adaptations"- is completely off the mark! 'Animal Farm' ...for kiddies? With a happy ending? So the entire family can "squeal with delight"? Just who the hell thought that out?! No one, it seems, and it shows. The film is too tame for adult viewers who'd like to see the grim little novel on screen, and too violent for children who certainly won't expect to witness a cutesy Babe-like talking piggie executing his brothers-in-arms legs. My guess is they'll both be horrified at the end, its patched-up "happy" conclusion notwithstanding: Kids, because they're not stupid and sure realize it's back to the chopping block for their furry & feathered friends the moment the "new owners" step in; and adults, not only for the outrageous "liberties" taken from the book, but because -come to think of it- the sugarcoated finale holds a new ominous moral in itself: No, don't worry, the future won't be a Communist dictatorship after all; the future will be one big, happy, postcard-looking Americana, owned by cool Ken and Barbie, whose kinder, gentler slaughterhouse still awaits your neck! "Hey! Whaddaya expect? We're running a FARM here!""
Insulting! (Warning: Review Contains Spoilers)
David Michael Cohen | California | 05/03/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I gave this movie 2 stars, because it is clear that a lot of attention and concern was put in the creation of the talking-animal effects. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same for the script. Orwell's "Animal Farm" was a thinly disguised allegory for the failure of the Russian Revolution. By 1999 the USSR was a thing of the past, so the scriptwriters must have felt they had to rework the story for modern times. Perhaps they assumed that their audience had never reads the book, menaing they could change it any way they wanted without opposition. The result was a badly thought out polemic that makes no sense, literally or allegorically.For example, the characters of Moses the Raven (who symbolized religion) and Clover the mare (the refusniks) were written out. As a result the remaining animals seem to be little more than a faceless mob, differentiated by their species but remaining the same ideologically. When the mob starts to object to the pigs' rulership, they are pacified with television. Now, forgiving the supreme arrogance of a made-for-TV movie portraying TV as a pacifying force (I am sure the animals were not watching TNT, the producers of this film), this pivotal plot point makes no sense. Taken literally, how do you explain animals being interested in visual fare made by, for and about humans? Taken allegorically, the TV broadcasts were an outside force beyond the pigs' control, filling the viewers' heads with visions of unpartiotic decadence. Would-be dictators who permitted such things would have to be very foolish indeed.Finally there is the ending, where well-intended humans take over the failing farm and become the benevolent guardians of the animals, with the animals' support. If this was an attempt to paste a happy ending over Orwell's cynical but powerful conclusion, it failed. If taken literally it suggets that the animals' sacrifices and efforts were for nothing, making the movie irrelavent. If it was meant to be taken allegorically, the message is that people should not even try to better their society, they should just submit themselves to benevolent masters an avoid this fuss of self determination (any nominations who said masters should be?). Failed allegory, cheesy animal flick or greedy attempt to cash in on the success of "Babe," the movie version of "Animal Farm" fails on every level."
David Schaich | Cambridge, Massachusetts | 09/11/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
""Animal Farm" is based on the novel by George Orwell, which tells the short story of a popular revolution gone wrong. So when I (belatedly) learned that a movie had been made of it, I could barely wait to take a look at it. "After all," I figured, "even Hollywood can't ruin Orwell's Animal Farm!" I was mistaken.The good aspects of the film can be summarized relatively quickly. Hearing Patrick Stewart yelling 'Revolution!' as a pig was curiously satisfying. As in Orwell's work, I enjoyed considering the parallels between the revolution on the farm and the Russian Revolution. And that about does it.If I'm not careful, I could rant on for a goodly time regarding what I didn't like about the film. A brief opening criticism is the way in which the story has been... popularized? dumbed down? ruined?... with long sections of junk appropriate for preschoolers. Singing ducks and pathetic 'action' sequences do nothing to advance the plot and are simply tedious by any (adult) standard. For some reason, this film's producers apparently decided to make children their chief audience/target, even though the themes and messages of Orwell's work are in no way meant for children - even if they do involve a lot of cute animals. As a result, anybody old enough to understand "Animal Farm" will almost certainly be bored or insulted (probably both!) by this film.But the most disgusting sin of the filmmakers was the way in which they completely demolished the story's message. As a libertarian socialist, Orwell wrote "Animal Farm" to warn against popular revolutions being hijacked by their self-proclaimed leaders. The Russian Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks set themselves up as a new ruling class after destroying the old Tsarist order illustrates the phenomenon - and also serves as a blueprint for "Animal Farm" (the book). The climax of the story comes when the animals watch their 'leaders' carousing with neighboring farmers (read: oppressive tyrants) and are unable to tell them apart.This episode is included in the film, but is almost tossed off as the filmmakers rush to their happy ending in which the animals run off and hide in the woods for a few years, returning only after Napoleon's/Stalin's dictatorship has collapsed and new owners have taken possession of the farm. For some reason, this is treated as a wonderful event, even though the whole point of the Revolution was to get rid of the humans and set up an Animal Farm. The filmmakers stage a celebration when the logic of the book (and to some extent the movie up until that point) calls for a revolution! The philosophy of "Animal Farm" is transformed from libertarian socialist to bourgeois-apologist. The ultimate message is that dictatorship is great - as long as it's benevolent.I can clearly hear Orwell spinning in his grave. Read the book, but avoid this film at all costs."
Absolutely great...until the ending
David Schaich | 02/26/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Animal Farm and 1984...along with Aldous Huxley's Brave New World...are my favorite books. So, naturally, I was ecsatic about TNT bringing this classic to life as a movie (TNT usually does better book-to-movie adaptations than Hollywood anyways) Well, by the end of the film I had decidedly mixed emotions. As far as Orwell's story goes, the film was precise and to the number. The two warring philosophies of leadership, as embodied by pigs Napoleon and Snowball (Stalin & Trotsky) are voiced perfectly by Kelsey Grammar and Patrick Stewart. I think for megolomania, you can't do better than Stewart.Jesse, the dog, is as I always imagined, the typical Russian citizen during communism, who realizes the evil of totalitarianism, but is too afraid to go against it. And the supporting cast, like Boxer the Horse, represent the many victims of a dictatorship, whose "uselessness" as judged by the state ends in their ellimination. The makers of this movie put together a fine parallel to Orwell's novel. But the ending didn't sit right with me. Of course, certain imagery, like the rock wall collapsing, is an obvious metaphor for the Berlin Wall falling, and the end of communism. But I don't see why the filmmakers decided to tack on this happy, optimistic ending, with the "brave and free-minded" Americans coming in to take over the farm and save the animals. Why couldn't they have just left it the way Orwell left it, uncertain and hopeless?Orwell probably knew when he wrote the book that communism would fall in the future, but he left that out because I imagine it wasn't his intention to be a prophet, or a bringer of hope to the Russians. It was his intention to show the evils of totalitarianism, which this movie does well until that ending. Oh well. In the end, it still remains a very good movie, both on its own and as an adaptation. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others!""
Orwell Must Be Rolling In His Grave
david botton | canyon country, CA United States | 06/09/2000
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The acting and animatronics in this film are executed well enough, but the sappy, feel-good ending that these naive, well-to-do Hollywood clowns have herein introduced must have had George Orwell rolling in his grave; everything ends on a nice, viewer-friendly, hunky-dory happy note in this movie--COMPLETELY opposite to Orwell's ending, and his intended meaning. The only way these script writers could have even considered such a carefree butchery of Orwell's original ending is by falling into the naive perception that Orwell was ONLY warning readers about totalitarian Russia, and not warning readers about totalitarianism anywhere and anytime into the future; sadly, these Hollywood history dunces are not the only ones who have myopically accepted this unreality: I recently bought a paperback edition of Animal Farm which features a forward written by an educated fool of a writer by the name of Russell Baker who also limits Orwell's meaning to Soviet Russia alone!--the naivete is spreading, and Orwell's intentionally dark and profound admonition is being given a shiny new whitewash by these optimistic and heedless people; it is just such blindly optimistic stupidity which allows history and holocausts to repeat and repeat and repeat every so often. This movie was enjoyable up to that butchery of a happy ending, but that ending alone is enough to repulse me from ever recommending it."