The Secret of Moonacre – DVD Review
By June L. Sep 21, 2010, 16:53 GMT
After being orphaned, young Maria Merryweather leaves her luxurious home to live with her eccentric uncle at Moonacre Manor. There, she discovers a magical world inhabited by outlandish characters and mythical beasts. Now, Maria must unearth the secrets of her past before the 5000th moon rises and Moonacre Manor disappears into the sea forever. Based on the classic novel by Elizabeth Goudge, The Little White Horse, which J.K. Rowling has ...more
The Secret of Moonacre is based on the novel The Little White Horse by British author Elizabeth Goudge. While not entirely faithful to the novel, this film directed by Bridge to Terabithia’s Gabor Csupo has a winning charm and is delightfully entertaining.
Both those who know the book and those new to the story should find much to love in this beautifully crafted film.
In the late 1800’s in England, Miss Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards) has been left a penniless orphan and is taken in by her Uncle Sir Benjamin Merryweather (Ioan Gruffudd) of Moonacre Manor.
Maria and her governess Miss Heliotrope (Juliet Stevenson) are city folk, and living in the countryside holds all kinds of terrors for them, but they behave as Proper Ladies and try not to show their fears.
Sir Benjamin is distant and troubled, and it is up to Digweed,(Michael Webber) his valet/butler and Marmaduke Scarlet (Andy Linden) to help them adjust to their new home.
Moonacre Manor is full of eccentricities and sadness, and Maria learns some of the cause as she reads the book that is a history of the place and the only thing bequeathed to her by her father. She soon learns of a curse on the valley’s two families, the Merryweathers and the De Noirs and wonders if she is the one to help lift it.
Coer De Noir (Tim Curry) believes that the Merryweathers have the legendary moon pearls and are the cause of his reduced circumstances, having to live like a bandit in a ruined castle in the forest. His son Robin (Augustus Prew) is a little more sympathetic, but still wary of anyone Merryweather.
Like J. K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame, there are many of us who grew up reading and re-reading The Little White Horse as one of our favorite books. When someone undertakes making a movie from a beloved classic, there will always be some differences that may grate on reader’s sensibilities.
That is not to say that the movie is bad, or disappointing, as it is neither, but it is an entity that pays tribute to the original in a way that may lead more young people to read the book as well as enjoy the film. Miss Goudge as a writer focused on places, making them as important a character in her stories as the people.
We sense the life force of Moonacre Manor, and the mysteries and quirks of living in such a place. In creating the feel of the novel, the set designers did an amazing job. Places such as Maria’s bedroom, are just as I had imagined it would look, and Loveday’s cave is splendid.
The Men of the Forest’s lair is rough and uninviting. Costuming as well for this film is a treat to see. Some relationships have been changed in the film from the book, but are not too jarring.
Although Loveday (Natascha McElhone) and Sir Benjamin have been “youthened” the strength of their story still resonates, and revolves around false pride as it did in the original. Tim Curry as the villain De Noir is as always incredible to watch.
The Secret of Moonacre is presented on single disc with a gorgeous 3-D cover that hints at the magic of the movie. The feature is 103 minutes long and is presented in widescreen format. One of the loveliest things is that there is 90 minutes of specials included.
We have the original trailer for the film, a Making of featurette that explores the love and care with which the producers, cast and crew took on this project. There are deleted scenes, cast interviews and behind the scenes footage that shows how a scene can be altered in different takes.
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CIoan Gruffudd Biography -
Ioan Gruffudd Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesNatascha McElhone Biography -
Natascha McElhone Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesTim Curry Biography -
Tim Curry Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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