Movie Review: Animal Farm

“Don’t judge a movie based on a book by its cover.” If this film has anything to say, it’s that I should be more cautious about how I should watch my films.

Farm animals revolt and create their own society.

I saw the 1999 adaptation first years ago. Needless to say, I didn’t care for it. When I started going through the 1001 list, I found that a 1954 version was listed. I was able to find a copy on YouTube but then I found that my library had a copy of it and saw that instead. It was a third party print, which I find quite surprising for something claimed to be worthy of the 1001 list; then again the Birth of a Nation print that I found was third party, albeit much worse in manufacturing.

The case, for starters, had several things that set this experience up for disaster. First, the cover was poorly created; too many typefaces and sloppy art. The description on the back, aside from it being in Comic Sans, said that the film “…offering humor and irony meant for both children and adults.” I don’t recall George Orwell being a children’s author at all. The film, despite it being a DVD, looked like a VHS. Oh jolly.

Compared to the other animated films on the list, the animation is quite average. There’s nothing remarkable about the style, the cross-dissolves don’t really dissolve, and the pacing is slow for children and adults. So why is this in the list? According to the book, and I quote, “Animal Farm was the first-ever feature-length British animated film (if you ignore a 1945 instructional, Handling Ships).” Just because it’s the first, doesn’t mean it’s great. I think that the inclusion was more for diversity’s sake than for anything else. Thankfully, this was recently removed from the list.

Considering that the case was targeted towards children, I wouldn’t necessarily show it to my kids (if I had any). I’d rather have them watch a different UK film, Watership Down, but under supervision. It’s not that there’s anything I wouldn’t want them to see in Animal Farm; I think they wouldn’t be interested in any aspect of it. I wouldn’t necessarily blame them.

There are better animated films on the list, most of which I’d recommend you watch instead of this.

4/10

1001 MYMSBYD selection

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