Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Wind in the Willows - movie (1994)

By the time you read this post, our family will have returned from a vacation to southern California where we'll have made a stop at that wonderful oasis of magical fun - Disneyland. As I'm pre-scheduling posts, I can't tell you how the trip has come out just yet!** But soon! At any rate, my husband had a business trip to the LA area and so we decided we'd go ahead and take our 2 1/2 year old to Disneyland. (Actually, it was more like my husband agreed to take his wife because she wanted to go so badly - but whatever!)

In order to make the most of our trip, I wanted to show the boy some Disney characters in order to explain some Disneyland rides to him so they would feel less foreign. (In other words, I wanted to prep him so that he wouldn't freak out when animals and characters came to life before his very eyes!) One of the rides I wanted to take him on was, of course, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and that involved a bit of explanation. SO! We hightailed it to our local Blockbuster where we didn't find the Disney version of The Wind in the Willows but we did find the 1994 cartoon production by someone else. (I can't tell who.)

I wasn't sure how our two year old would take sitting through a 71 minute cartoon but I didn't care so much that he comprehend the story as latch on to the characters. This movie did the trick! He now knows all about "Mr. Tooo-d" and Mr. Badger, and Mr. Mole and the Water Rat. It's a good life, it is!

This particular version of The Wind in the Willows is very slow moving. The voice of Mr. Mole got on my nerves. The animation was, I felt, a bit jerky. I thought it was made in the 80's and was surprised to find a 1994 tag on it. I would have thought it would have been a bit more clean and bold in color than it was. It felt old. However, it also felt accurate. It's been awhile since I've read The Wind in the Willows but I felt like I was reading the book while watching this film. It's a fairly faithful adaptation. As my husband put it so succinctly - you can either read the book or watch this movie but you don't need to do both. (I might disagree just a little but I'll go with the spirit of the statement!) This movie follows the book well.

The flip side of all of those negatives that I just mentioned though is that the movie is very calm, peaceful and not in anyway alarming to a two year old. (Those of you with toddlers know what I'm talking about! He's deciding what things are scary and what things aren't and we're all about finding the movies to enjoy that are NOT scary!)

I don't think our son understood the movie very well at all. However, as we watched I named the characters for him and talked about what they were doing so as to encourage comprehension. It would probably be an easier watch for a four year old, but he did ask to see it Mr. Tooo-d again the next day so he must have liked it at least a little. However, the main purpose in watching it being to prepare ourselves for our fun adventure and wild ride well, I think this did the trick!

**I'll be posting a bit more about our Disneyland trip tomorrow but fyi - it helped to have seen The Wind in the Willows movie before riding Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. After our first ride, our young lad declared that the weasels were scary. However, he did eventually ask to go on it again. He was also happy to see Mr. Toad. I've always wondered why Toad is the more popular character. Personally, I prefer Water Rat. However, I rather consistantly "rank" as Moley.

Which Wind in the Willows character are you?


B said...

I took the quiz and got Badger -- the grumpy old sod with the heart of gold. I can't decide if that's all right or if I need a serious character readjustment. (For myself and not to a different character from the story.)

Lisa Spence said...

I'm Moley too (surprise)! The funny thing is, I've never read the book. I've seen the Disney movie many many years ago, and have checked the book out of the library on occasion, but could never jump in...

Unknown said...

I am pleased to say I came out as Moley I would love to put that picture on my Facebook page :-)

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