Animal Farm (DVD)
George Orwell's classic political allegory is brought to the screen with the help of state-of-the-art puppetry and digital animation. Manor Farm sees a revolt by its livestock over their human master Farmer Jones (Pete Postlethwaite). However, a power struggle between the pigs who have led the uprising results in a swift curtailing of the animals' new-found freedom. From After the technical achievement of Babe, it was almost inevitable that "talking animal" effects would be applied to the serious themes of George Orwell's Animal Farm. A bitterly satirical indictment of Stalinist Russia and the failure of Communism, Orwell's 1945 novel is a time-honoured classic, so it's only fitting that this TNT production remains largely faithful to Orwell's potent narrative. A showcase for the impressive creations of Jim Henson's Creature Shop (where director John Stephenson was a veteran supervisor), the film employs animatronic creatures and computer animation to tell the story of uprising, unity, and tragic rebellion among the farm animals.The politics of "Animalism" are initially effective, ousting enemy humans according to rules ordained by Old Major, the barnyard pig whose death sets the stage for the corruptive influence of the pig Napoleon, who cites superior intelligence as his right to dominance. This tyrannical reign destroys the farm's stability, and the film--decidedly not for young children--preserves Orwell's dark, cynical view of absolute power corrupting absolutely. Particularly effective is a propaganda film shown to the barnyard collective, and certain scenes--while not as impressive as the Babe films--powerfully convey the force of Orwell's story through animal "performance". Animal Farm occasionally falters in its emotional impact (the fate of the horse Boxer should be heart-rending, and it isn't), but it's certainly blessed with an elite voice cast, including Peter Ustinov, Patrick Stewart, Pete Postlethwaite, Julia Ormond, Kelsey Grammer, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Paul Scofield, and Ian Holm. Not the masterpiece it might've been, this is nevertheless a worthy representation of Orwell's novel. --Jeff Shannon --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
Running Time: 90 minutes
Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
Release Date: 25 Sept. 2017