Most helpful positive review
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Enjoyable movie true to the book's spirit
on December 25, 2004
Unlike the supposed remake put out at the end of 2003, this original movie adaptation of the book actually has heart, is entertaining without resorting to cheap shots or gross-out humour, and is overwhelmingly true to the spirit of the book. It might take awhile for the average modern viewer to get into it, though, since there really isn't much of a plot, not the way we've come to expect in modern movies, just a narration of various adventures the family had. This is by far one of the best and most honest screen adaptations of a book I've yet seen, right up there with 'Gone with the Wind' and 'Fiddler on the Roof.' However, screen adaptations of books being what they have to be due to time and money constraints, they naturally couldn't fit everything in, and so had to cut and paste some events from the book together so they wouldn't completely overlook the important stuff (and unlike many cut and paste jobs in other book-based movies, here it was done very tastefully instead of randomly and carelessly), and they did leave out a number of the funniest stories in the book, like Bill pushing the Chinese cook into the oven and the so-called interviews which ran in the paper, much to the family's horror that a lot of the things they supposedly said and did were made up to embarrass them. They also got the birth order of the last two mixed up; Jane was the last-born child in real life, and Bob was the penultimate. Still, given what passes for entertainment nowadays and how movies based on books usually bear little or no coherent resemblance to the story which the viewers know and love, this is a very clean and fun family movie.