13 December 2002 | aplord
You know a film is in trouble when a character in children's classic written early last century utters a line like " It'll destroy the very fabric of the universe!" That line - or something like it, gets a workout towards the end of this crude updating of the Australian Classic.
Of course, you won't have to wait until near the end to realise that this film is in trouble. The first few minutes will be all it takes.
Assemble a fine cast, spend millions and adapt the Australian Children's book that's in the same league as the "Wizard of Oz", "Wind in the Willows" or "Alice in Wonderland". A recipe for success you would think.
Instead this is a disaster.
Why? Because the makers simply didn't trust the strength of their material. Norman Lindsay wrote the book to prove that kids like hearing stories about food. It was a bet. Someone else had offered the opinion that what children wanted to hear about was "fairies and elves "."Nonsense," said Lindsay and wrote the Magic Pudding to prove it.
The Magic Pudding is loud, fast, broad, satirical and the book they invented the word "rambunctious" for.
The film is mild, meandering and with a moral about friendship and not being greedy. It comes with extra characters to give it cuteness, extra plot to give it relevance and extra gags "for the kids".
Sad sad sad. Read the book. Read the book aloud. Read it aloud to kids. Don't bother seeing this movie.