Mike S. from ALBUQUERQUE, NM Reviewed on 8/12/2009...
Who doesn't love PETER AND THE WOLF?! Everyone loves PETER AND THE WOLF.
Music teacher approved! Video adaptation of classic story.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a musician I mourn the loss of music as an auditory art. But the fact remains that music videos have changed the way we listen to and learn music, so we must work with it. This video is a wonderful way to introduce children to classical music and the orchestra without them thinking that it's boring, or not worthy of their time. Kirstie Alley plays the mother of a 12-ish boy who travels back to the home where she grew up to visit her father (Lloyd Bridges). The boy has never met his grandfather. They spend some time visiting and the topic turns to "The Story". The story is, of course, "Peter and the Wolf". Kirstie Alley narrates the story, dramatized by animation done by Chuck Jones (Bugs Bunny). The animation is wonderful, the characters are endearing and funny (with Kirstie Alley doing excellent voice-overs for the hysterically dizzy duck and the cat). The part when the duck is eaten by the wolf is handled very subtley, and, unlike the original story, has a happy ending for the duck, making it appropriate for very young kids. I teach K-8 and have shown it to all grades, who have enjoyed it. I personally have seen it about 30 times, and it remains fresh and entertaining. A nice feature for music teachers is that the animated storyline is 30 minutes long, allowing you to show just that portion of the video within a class period. I highly recommend this video for parents and teachers alike who want to introduce children to classical music. They'll be learning without them even knowing it!"
The best "PETER AND THE WOLF" ever
Children's Book Lover! | San Francisco, CA United States | 02/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was surprised to read the other review, because I recently bought the re-released DVD reissue of this "Peter and The Wolf" for my 6 year-old grandson, and not only did he love it, but so did I!! I am a professional violinist and music educator, and know this score inside and out. The previous reviewer who said the producers had changed Prokofiev's music is dead wrong -- it is note for note perfect, and in addition, is beautifully played. (It was actually Disney's version that was cut!!)
The characters in Chuck Jones version, designed by Mr. Jones, are delightful -- and not just a recycling of his Warner Bros., ensemble. The animated tale, which is the centerpiece of this production, and where Prokofiev's score plays out in entirety, is magical. And Kirstie Alley's narration is full of life and spirit -- really fantastic. I also loved Lloyd Bridges as the grandfather, and young Ross Malinger as both the live action and animated Peter. The live action parts were magical, and gave some real-life relevance to the animated story, and the ending was enchanting. It brought a tear to my eye. Ross Malinger was endearing in "Sleepless In Seattle," and he goes to the next step here. And his rapport with Lloyd Bridges seemed so very real. A fantastic bonus to this production is an extraordinary "Guide To The Symphony Orchestra" bonus feature at the end, which thoroughly explains to the young viewer how Prokofiev used the musical instruments to portray the various characters. And the producers wisely use YOUNG teenage musicians to demonstrate the instruments, which really makes it come to life for young viewers. I Googled for more information on this production -- I can't figure out why it isn't more frequently seen. I noticed it won the Emmy for Best Children's Program, as well as many other Emmy nominations and awards. I also saw that the critics gave it great reviews -- one from the Philadelphia daily newspaper called it "The best children's television special ever." So it is a mystery to me why this production is not a television classic. But in the meantime, do yourself a favor -- and for your children and grandchildren -- and watch it!"
A great movie for young children
Children's Book Lover! | 05/12/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My girls, ages 2-1/2 and 4-1/2, love this movie, and I love for them to watch it. Some of their friends have been troubled by the wolf eating the duck, but that's nature and the duck comes out fine."
A Perfect Lesson in Music and Imagination
Lifelong Kindergarten Teacher | Indiana, USA | 05/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a kindergarten and elementary school teacher for 60 years, I have used various recordings of "Peter and The Wolf" in my classroom going back to 78's . . . it has always been, and still is, the perfect vehicle to foster a love of classical music in children. They learn the instruments of the orchestra while on a fantastic flight of fancy and adventure. I discovered this particular version about 10 years ago, and have worn out several videotapes. I am delighted to find it now on DVD, with even more imaginative features and bonuses. THe animated tale is wonderful, with Chuck Jones' delightful and looney characters. And I especially love this version because The Duck lives! (Not to be a spoiler, but in other versions he does not.) Kirstie Alley's narration is wonderful, and updates the traditional narrative while still paying tribute to the original. And Lloyd Bridges and Ross Malinger are wonderful. An incredible bonus with this production is the tremendously excellent video feature "Guide To The Symphony Orchestra," featuring young children playing the instruments from "Peter and The Wolf," and a behind-the-scenes look at how an orchestra comes together, how the instruments work, and how and why Prokofiev wrote his themes he way he did. THere is also a great "Making Of" Documentary by Lloyd Bridges own grandson. All in all, there is so much to this release . . . if only there were more like it. And if only more filmmakers for children would go to this much care in sparking the imaginations of our children! This version is a classic, and I have seen it captivate children over and over."
A Gentle, Charming, Magical Delight!
William Wadsworth | Indianapolis, Indiana | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have loved Peter and The Wolf since I was a child, and was delighted to share THIS Peter and The Wolf with my children. Chuck Jones' characters made the animation accessible and familiar to my kids and held their attention, and I loved the fact that the musical references were subtly worked into the story. Kirstie Alley's narration is so full of life and fun . . . she herself is obviously caught up in the story. The animation is charming and magical, and the live action story touched me. It was wonderful to see the charming Lloyd Bridges, and he brought to both Grandfathers (animated and live action) a touching, crusty, wonderful heartwarming glow. The special Introduction To The Orchestra which followed was also fantastic, and offered a very creative, but non-scary, look at how a symphony orchestra works, and how the instruments lended their personalities to the story. And of course, Prokofiev's music remains the biggest star of all, and is beautiful as always. In this world full of violence, over-stimulation, and "edgy" entertainment for kids, this gentle, charming, simple tale -- so beautifully done -- was a breath of fresh air. I wish there were more DVD's like it. And my kids agreed."