Friday, 9 October 2009

The Secret of Moonacre: Movie Review

The Secret of Moonacre: Movie Review

Rating: 5/10
Cast: Dakota Blue Richards , Juliet Stevenson, Natascha McElhone , Ioan Gruffudd, Tim Curry Coeur De Noir/Sir William De Noir
Director: Gabor Csupo
The latest adaptation of a novel (this time, it's The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge) appears on our screens in time for the school hols.
It's the story of 13-year-old Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards, last seen in The Golden Compass) who starts the film becoming an orphan after her father dies.
As her sole inheritance, she's left a book - but that book is the story of a centuries old dispute between the Merryweather and De Noir dynasties - over a necklace of magic Pearls bestowed on them by the Moon Princess (Natascha McElhone.)
Despatched to live with her uncle Sir Benjamin Merryweather (Ioan Gruffudd) at the isolated Moonacre estate, Maria begins to discover there may be more truth to the book and the feud than fiction&
The Secret of Moonacre is not a bad fantasy story - it's just bogged down by some, at times, pantomine performances by supporting members of the main cast. The worst offender of this is Juliet Stevenson's Miss Heliotrope, who appears to think she's in a Carry On film. Her overacting distracts from the more restrained subtle performance of Dakota Blue Richards' Maria Merryweather - even Tim Curry's Coeur De Noir/Sir William De Noir is over the top.
It's a shame because the true beauty of this film comes from its sumptuously gorgeous sets and costumes.
The department involved with making the Moonacre world a reality needs an Oscar - they're so wonderfully visualised and made real that it's just sad the story doesn't follow suit.
The Secret of Moonacre may keep the kids quiet for a little while - but an older audience may find it slightly lacking - there's a real lack of development in the interaction between the main characters - and where alliances are forged and friendships made, the brevity doesn't help make it more plausible.

Overall despite attempts to give the classic period movie a more fantastical twist, The Secret of Moonacre falls a little flat and may leave some of the kids in the audience (old or young) fidgeting in their seats.

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