The Irascible Psammead
Gord Wilson | Bellingham, WA USA | 03/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Having read a few of E. Nesbit's fantasies: The Phoenix and the Carpet, Five Children and It, and The Story of the Amulet, I wondered why in the nearly 100 years since they were written these books had never made it to the silver screen. Then I found out they had. As usual, there's a bad (according to reviews) American edition, and then good (also according to reviews) British ones. As with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and The Chronicles of Narnia, the newer films merely send viewers back to discover the older BBC ones.
In the case of E. Nesbit, there are a few to discover. I've not seen any of these films, and so rely on other reviewers. This dual set of Five Children and It/ The Return of It gets high marks (it's also rather high priced) and there are earlier BBC versions called The Sand Fairy and Return of the Sand Fairy on VHS (not yet on DVD). I don't think they're the same as this DVD because the Psammead (Sand Fairy) on the cover looks different. Then there's The Phoenix and the Carpet from BBC but released through Disney, along with Nesbit's best-known film, The Railway Children (which is not a fantasy).
Edith Nesbit was one of the early founders of the Fabian Society, a utopian socialist British society, and in her novels predicts something unknown in Victorian society: a pollution- free river Thames. C.S. Lewis was among her admirers and upon finishing the first Chronicle of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, exulted that he had written a story like E. Nesbit's (The Pevensie children bear striking similarities to kids in her books). The Bastables and other Nesbit broods do fun things like slide down the stairs on the tea tray and try to wrangle wishes out of an irascible sand fairy, which is why we're still reading her after 100 years."
Jessica Morris | USA | 01/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My husband and I rented this charming movie one evening and loved it! It is sweet, silly, funny and highly entertaining. I would highly recommend this movie for a fun family night. This movie is clean and is wholesome entertainment for the youngsters."
Get this version, not the with the smiling kid on the cover
Kevin Lauderdale | Annandale, VA United States | 08/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This version sticks to the book quite faithfully. (There was a later version, and THAT one's cover features a smiling kid. THAT version made a lot of changes from the book. THIS version has a close-up of the creature on the cover.) Yes, the special effects are BBC /"Dr. Who" cheesy, but they don't distract from the series. I read the book to my [...], and then she watched this and thoroughly enjoyed it. So did her 30-something parents."
B. L. DaBoll | La Crescenta, CA United States | 05/13/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I loved the recent movie produced by Jim Henson Company and Capitol Films staring Kenneth Branagh, Zoe Wanamaker, Eddie Izzard and five adorable kids. It is called, surprise, Five Children and It. Clever, funny, endearing, and very well acted and filmed. When I bought "Five Children and It/The Return of It" I assumed I was getting the sequel. Unfortunately, it wasn't. And this film, based on E. Nesbit's story is charmless, poorly acted, poorly staged, and sadly... boring."