Swallows and Amazons movie full length review - A beautiful breath of fresh air.
A breath of fresh air in these CGI-dominated days. And in fact fresh air is something this film promotes. Getting the kids out and into nature.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it is from a classic book from the 1930s. Four children, the Walkers, are on holiday in the Lake District and plead with their mother to be allowed to sail alone on a lake and discover an island.
Reluctantly, after gaining permission via telegram from their father "Better Drowned Than Duffers. If Not Duffers Won't Drown" they set off on their adventure. The island, however has been claimed by two other children, The Amazons. The two groups decide to battle it out to decide who can call the island theirs.
In the meantime, the Amazons' uncle is a shady character who seems to be up to something. He is being tailed by two spies who want to get their hands on his secrets.
The two story lines collide and the children find themselves in a bigger battle than they first imagined.
Firstly, this film is beautifully shot and is a real treat for the eyes. The great British countryside, in particular the Lake District, has rarely looked so good.
Director Phillippa Lowthorpe has obviously realised how stunning the scenery is and made full use of it.
The child actors, too, are really great. They fight and squabble like all families do, but there is a real bond between them and I could see myself in all the children - particularly headstrong John Walker.
I also loved the Amazons. Two feisty, funny girls who don't need boys to help them. Great chemistry between them.
The adults, too, are fine support. I really liked Jessica Hynes as Mrs Jackson and Andrew Scott as a suave, sinister Russian.
The script is excellent. A story that gentle needs a little bit more to it. After all, kids just scooting about in boats in an attempt to win a small battle would not really do these days. The beefing up of the spy angle kept the pot boiling and apparently is true to the original author's life.
All the kids in the cinema loved it. There are a lot more laughs than you expect and the boy Roger Walker makes the most of them. Many of the children near me were glued to their seats and when the final, dramatic scene unfolded, they were gripped.
Overall, it is proper family film. Grandparents, parents and kids could all go and enjoy it for different reasons. I don't think this is a film for older teenagers or anyone in their 20s. It's not really for them, I expect, though.
I thoroughly recommend this charming and warm British film. I'm so glad I saw it.