Velveteen Rabbit, The (abe)
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In this brand new feature film, one of the most beloved family tales of all tiem comes to life in an enchanting combination of live - action drama and animated adventure. It's the story of a young boy named Toby who is sent by his busy father to spend the holiday season in the home of his stern grandmother. Toby's world instantly changes when he discovers the house's 'magic attic' where three forgotten toys - including a special stuffed rabbit - unlock a world of imagination that will change all their lives forever. The voice talents of Jane Seymour, Tom Skerritt and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn stair in this heartwarming story about how we bring the things we love to life, inspired by the classic children's book by Margery Williams and directed by Michael Landon, Jr. Dove Family Approved for all Ages
Stills from The Velveteen Rabbit (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
Anyone who read the book will immediately find by the opening scene that this is not the tale "your Mom read you". And as you go on, so many things were changed. I was slightly disconcerted. Normally, variations don't bother me, but when it comes to something that has such nostalgic power and connection to you, it can be difficult sometimes. But I stuck with it and found that this version is a wonderfully imagined and matured tale. It ingeniously implements the main plot points and keeps the spirit of the original, but brings fresh light to the key point of the tale, " 'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.' "
This film was intended to be a family film and it stays true to that purpose. There is absolutely nothing that I could find to be particularly offensive on any level.
PLOT (ABSOLUTELY NO SPOILERS):
One thing that is nice about this film is that it has a clear direction and nothing is too ambiguous. Children can easily follow this movie. But, there is a lot of meat and content for older viewers as well. All audiences of any age will understand the main tale of love...but more mature viewers will be able to muse over more subtle themes of faith, cynicism, naivete, regret, and redemption. It's a tale that really tries to appeal to everyone...in a good way. The pacing was actually quite good. What I really digged though was that though this is a VERY liberal execution of the source material, they still followed the key plot points and implemented very imaginative ways of executing them. The ways they crafted it allowed the plot points to better fit their direction, while still maintaining the nostalgia that most who have read the original will appreciate. The only thing is, I would have slightly changed the ending to give a stronger resolution for some of the other toys...but if I told you how, that would border on spoiling things. I was moved to tears at points...similar to when I read the original.
I found the characters, in general, to be likable and effective. Nana and Dad were my favorites to watch as they evolved...and their struggles were things that many deal with to this day. The only character I found that irked me just a little was the rabbit himself. Now, in a way it actually worked out best that way because it gave the rabbit room to grow as you did see him mature as the movie went on...but initially, he was a little "too much" for me at points. Still, any faults the rabbit may have had were totally eclipsed by the tale as a whole.
Honestly, the special features are negligible. There are cast interviews, cast bios, and deleted scenes. Of all of these, I love documentary type things so Cast Bios and Cast interviews naturally are my first draw. However, the cast bios are basically a paragraph or two that you read...I would have previewed that they present themselves or something. And as to the cast interviews...it was short with not much information. Just some opinions and feelings...but really I felt they could have done something so much more meaningful with this. It just seemed like it was there to just be able to say it was there.
ALL IN ALL:
This is a beautiful and stirring rendition of a tale as old as time. The characters were well represented, the tale itself was wonderfully and imaginatively executed...and the spirit of the original tale still rings true. It's hard not to be moved by this one. By the end, just like the original book, it challenged me and the way I see things.
Young Toby [Matthew Harbour] is sent to stay with his strict grandmother Ellen [Una Kay] when his serious father, John goes off on business to New York. Feeling abandoned and lonely, Toby explores the house and comes across the "Magic Room", which is filled with his father's old toys, including a rabbit stuffed toy. As Toby's imagination is given free rein, Rabbit comes 'alive' in a lively world of animation, and Toby together with rabbit and the other toys in the magic room run free and play in a lively dream world. The animals, i.e. Horse [Tom Skerritt], Swan [Ellen Burstyn], and Rabbit [Chandler Wakefiled] all dream of becoming real animals, and as we all know from "The Velveteen Rabbit", that can only be achieved by true love. Grandma Ellen and Toby soon bond, but his father John is still distant, and it takes a near tragedy to set things right.
A mixture of animated sequences and live-action, this movie appealed to my family. Though the original story has been adapted here, I felt that the adaptation doesn't stray too far from the original message of love overcoming all obstacles.Purists may not appreciate this adaptation, but those seeking family-friendly entertainment will love it.