Carol B. from LA GRANDE, OR Reviewed on 3/30/2010...
Swashbuckling fun. Assante and McCardie are excellent in their roles.
Aimee M. (AimeeM) Reviewed on 11/22/2007...
This is not the BEST version out there, but it is okay. It makes a HUGE detour from the book, but then comes back around.
I don't like Armand Assante as Alan Breck, Too fat, Too Rough, Too Non-Scottish. But other than that, it is a good adventure with plenty of action.
Decent interpretation, good family film
Robert Pratte | charleston, il USA | 01/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased this DVD in order to watch it with my kids (youngest is 10). They were initially unsure whether they would like it, but after mentioning that it was based on the Robert Louis Stevenson book, and that Mr. Stevenson had written Treasure Island and Jekyll and Hyde, the kids' interests were piqued. As the DVD is also rather long (in terms of current films), I was concerned whether their interest would hold. However,the movie kept their interest captive without any problem.
First of all, let me say that the scenes and scenery are great. One really gets a feel for the time and place of the story. Costumes, villages, landscapes, etc. are generally high quality. Moreover, the acting (including accents) were fine all around. I found the film engrossing, while my kids were very excited to find themselves so involved in the story. Of course they have seen a plethora of films that "transport" the viewer elsewhere, but many of these films have some feeling of artificiality - that is, they are too far out of our own experience to truly feel "real". I found, and I think that my kids found, the scenes in this DVD believable and approachable. Having experience in historical reenactment, I know that portraying a sense of another time and place in such a way as to encourage "viewers" to participate is a sort of magic and I felt that there was some of this magic in the movie.
As far as the story goes, there are issues that may be a bit complicated for younger viewers to understand. Additionally, there is some violence (particularly the ship scenes), but nothing too brutal. The worst scenes are the death of a few minor characters (gunshot and hanging), as well as a view of a pool of blood after a battle. This movie isn't for very young viewers, but I would guess that most kids over the age of 10 wouldn't have a problem with the film. The level of violence is really fairly minor in comparison to much of today's fare.
I have been describing the movie in terms of a family film, but I also think that it is a good companion to the book. Teachers, students, lovers of literature, etc. will likely find this a welcome addition to their collection."
Great movie, OK DVD
Chanda Choun | 09/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The made-for-TV film is excellent. Its historical and story setting is enchanting. Set in Scotland, you will really get a feel for the time and culture, as well as beautiful views of the land. The story is engaging and stirring with wit and poise. There is intrigue, adventure, fighting, and romance. Acting is superb. Alan Breck Stewart (Armand Assante) and David Balfour (David Blessed) are a dynamic pair. Their juxtaposition showcases the classic opposites - a hot-headed Highlander and level-headed Lowlander - thrown together and united as common Scots. The direction and soundtrack were good. The music will have you humming and is well timed onscreen.
I had first watched this movie several years ago on VHS. I watched it many times. I have long waited for a DVD release. While I am glad that this is finally on DVD, I am somewhat disappointed. The video and sound are not remastered, so they are not up to par in quality. It is still in stereo. It could have at least been remixed to Dolby Surround. Special features are lacking. Commentaries, featurettes, and documentaries are lacking. For a movie that has such a rich historical background, this lacking is a sin. A redeeming feature that is not documented on the box or anywhere as far as I can see, is that the scenes have been integrated better and new footage has been added amounting to at least 10 minutes according to my estimates. When a TV-movie is released for home video, a scene would fade back into itself, denoting the in-between slot for commercials. In this DVD, this has been eliminated. The new integrated transitions are alright, though sometimes interrupted the short-term flow of the movie. As for the other new footage, they are nothing ground-breaking, but add a litte more content to the movie.
To sum things up. if faced with the choice, I would still give up the cash for this DVD anyday. The film is excellent."
A Pretty Good Flick.
James B. Johnson | HUDSON, FL United States | 09/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers have provided all the details of the movie, so I'll spare you another reading of that information. The bottom-line is this is an interesting film that is even-handed with the historical facts of the time. The film doesnt explain what the Scottish conflict was about, but you can do some remedial reading afterwards to get up to speed. The acting is good. The scenery is excellent. And it is refreshing to see characters with rotten teeth and really bad hair!"
Not bad, but not Stevenson
Nightflyer | 08/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson is my favorite book of all time. I began reading it when I was a young lad and have probably read it hundreds of times since. I know most of the dialog by heart.
Needless to say, I have been consistently disappointed by the film versions, which deviate needlessly from the story. The only version that respects its source material is the Disney version, which I highly recommend.
The Armand Assante version was made for cable TV and shown over two nights. I missed it and was excited when it came out on VHS. But when I first viewed it, I was terribly disappointed; although it looked great, this version had the same fault as the others--namely, inserting all sorts of extraneous subplots that add nothing to Stevenson's story and actually weaken it.
Recently, however, I re-watched it, and I have to temper my original dislike. This version does have some excellent points in its favor. It's beautifully photographed, and the attention to detail in dress and setting is remarkable. The portions that do respect Stevenson's novel have never been done better, perhaps not even by the Disney version. However, its faults remain. Assante and McCardie are miscast physically as Alan Breck and David Balfour (although Assante does swashbuckle through the film with a vengeance, he looks nothing like Stevenson's description of him, which was based upon historical fact); the film was shot in Ireland, which does not look like Scotland (watch "Rob Roy" if you want to see what the Scottish Highlands really look like); the writers manufacture a love story for David Balfour, and this character does not fall in love until the Stevenson's sequel "Catriona," and then to a completely different girl; Alan visits Flora MacDonald, who lived on the Isle of Skye, not on the mainland; and worst of all, the writers introduce a completely unnecessary subplot centered around a British officer named Reid, who instigates the Appin murder in order to place blame on James Stewart. I could go on and on--there's plenty more--but you get the idea.
So yes, there's plenty in this version to enjoy, but please be aware--it is *not* Stevenson. For that you need to go to the Disney version. Still, compared to the utter abomination that appeared recently on PBS, this version is a masterpiece."
A decent adaptation
Sonny L | New Mexico | 07/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I enjoyed this film, and thought it was a decent adaptation of the book. The acting and production values were very good. There were some major plot changes, so a purist would find fault with it. In fact that is why I gave it 4 stars instead of five. However, the spirit of the original adventure remained intact. Some of the action may be a little intense for the under 5 group, depending on the sensitivity of the child, but other than that it was a good family film."