Danny DeVito's adaptation of the Roald Dahl book for children is mostly just fine, helped along quite a bit by the charming performance of Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire) as young Matilda, a brilliant girl neglected by her st... more »upid, self-involved parents (DeVito and Rhea Perlman). Ignored at home, Matilda escapes into a world of reading, exercising her mind so much she develops telekinetic powers. Good thing, too: sent off to a school headed by a cruel principal, Matilda needs all the help she can get. DeVito takes a highly stylized approach that is sometimes reminiscent of Barry Sonnenfeld (director of Get Shorty, a DeVito production), and his judgment is not the best in some matters, such as letting the comic-scary sequences involving the principal go on too long. But much of the film is delightful and funny. --Tom Keogh« less
"WHY, oh, WHY wasn't this made into a widescreen special edition? Some of the special features are even in widescreen. What in the world is up with that?? I enjoyed the special features, but wish there had been more (like a commentary). I don't get why they wasted time in making this without using the widescreen format. I feel like I've been taken.
About the movie: this is a favorite in our family. It's a bit dark, and some people are upset by it, but there's a positive message and a happy ending (oops, was that a spoiler?) I highly recommend it, and probably the best age to see this would be 6 or 7 and up, depending on how sensitive your child is."
Nothing special about a 1.33:1 DVD when the film was WIDESCR
David B. Spalding | Chromejob-dot-com | 07/02/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Other reviewers are correct. MATILDA, one of Danny DeVito's underrated masterpieces of humor, was released in 2.35:1. Once again, a DVD release crops it to fit "conventional" televisions. The term "conventional" is fast become outdated, since 16:9 widescreen digital TVs are getting increasingly affordable. My humble suggestion: make clear to studios that charging us full price for only half the frame of the director's movie are charging TOO MUCH. Wait for a "real" special edition that presents the film as DeVito intended it to be seen."
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 12/19/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Matilda is worth watching, and I think worth owning too. However, let's get the reservations over before all the good stuff.Miss Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris, is a sadist. She is definitely mean. At two places in the movie she throws a child out a school window (she is really, really mean). Matilda's parents are self-absorbed and at best ignore Matilda, which occasionally borders on abuse. The images of Matilda's school can be disturbing, especially the "Chokie", a small cramped dark closet with spikes in the door. These images could be disturbing for younger children, particularly those under the age of 7 or 8. However, you have to judge the ability of your child to understand that these images are not real. These are the dark parts of the movie.Matilda is clearly a genius, as evidenced by her actions from a very early age. Matilda overcomes her not very bright parents and learns how to fend for herself in the world. In fact, after a while she treats her parents as something to be concerned about, because they clearly do not know how to take care of themselves in the world.Matilda is a positive role model throughout the movie. She learns to read on her own, and finds the value in the library and books. She learns that there are people who understand her (Miss Jennifer Honey, played by Embeth Davidtz) and love her for who she is. She also learns that people who seem scary to her (Miss Trunchbull) can be scary to others. Her desire to protect others and do what is right helps her overcome her fear of Miss Trunchbull and do what is right.Mara Wilson plays Matilda very well. She has a lot of talent, and makes Matilda come alive. Danny De Vito plays Matilda's father and Rhea Perlman plays Matilda's mother, and every time I see them I cringe because these two are very unlikable characters, and I like Danny particularly. Danny also does a very good job narrating this movie, which somewhat ameliorates his turn as a semi-villain.This movie celebrates, as it does in most Roald Dahl books, the triumph of right over wrong, and perhaps good over evil. The characters verge on being cartoonish, which is fitting for a children's movie. Having Matilda be telekinetic adds a wonderful element of fantasy with which children will identify. It is often a childhood fantasy to have powers or abilities to make things right, and Matilda obtains such a power and uses it for good.This movie has a darker side, but the humorous moments and the Matilda's triumph over all the odds against her make this a fun movie. Worth watching again and again, I think this movie is well targeted to 8 to 12 year olds, but those of us adults that want to still believe that good will always triumph over bad and that good things eventually come to good people will find the message uplifting."
Why Didn't We Get A Widescreen DVD?
Joshua Koppel | 10/15/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the movie Matilda and I liked it and thought it was a cute movie and I have to wonder why this older region 1 DVD and also the new so called special edition region 1 DVD are pan and scan only and don't have widescreen formats! A widescreen DVD was released over in Europe so why not here too? 5 star movie but a 1 star DVD!"
How To Survive Private School
Joshua Koppel | Chicago, IL United States | 05/18/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Every now and then I see a movie intended for younger viewers that impresses me. Matilda, based on the book by Roald Dahl (Witches, James and The Giant Peach, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) is one such movie. This is the story of a young girl who is special. She is very intelligent, self-sufficient, and inquisitive.When Matilda's parents (Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman) realize that she is old enough for school (sort of late) they send her to a private school run by a horribly mean woman who hates children. This environment, coupled with her life at home with a family that barely knows she is there, causes Matilda to discover and develop telekinetic powers. These she uses to help a friendly teacher and the rest of the students.Once again a Roald Dahl book has been made into a very good movie. DeVito is excellent as a crooked used car salesman and Perlman is great as his wife. Matilda is played by the same actress who was in the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. The imagery and story are of the type that can only be found in stories for younger audiences. Although the movie does differ from the book this is a movie that I highly recommend."