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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Wind in the Willows
The Original Movie (1983)
(2022 Digitally Restored Edition)


Starring (voice): David Jason, Richard Pearson, Ian Carmichael, Michael Hordern, Beryl Reid, Una Stubbs and Brian Trueman
Distributor: FremantleMedia
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: U
Release Date: 13 June 2022

First published in 1908, Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows has become one of the best loved books of all time, enchanting generations of children and adults alike. The story is notable for its mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie and celebrated for its evocation of the nature of the Thames Valley. Brought to the screen by award winning animation team Cosgrove Hall, The Wind in the Willows movie introduces us, for the first time, to our four intrepid animal friends. Toad decides that motor cars are the only way to travel, however his driving skills don’t match up to his enthusiasm. Our countryside friends come to his rescue and try to help him stay on the right side of the road, and the law, in this exciting adventure...

Released by the same distributor in 2013 on DVD with a RRP of £5.99, the exact same DVD (although the case now says "Digitally restored edition") is being released for £14.99 - or you can buy the Blu-ray for £19.99.

I remember this 1983 adaptation of The Wind in the Willows when it was originally broadcast for the first time. I didn't watch it fully then - I was 13 and got bored of it fairly quickly. Rewatching it almost 40 years later and (and I know I'll be lynched for saying this) it's still fairly boring.

The animation, by the fantastic Cosgrove Hall, is still as fresh today, but there's something really eerie about every single one of the characters (with the possible exception of Toad). They are as creepy as hell and I can imagine them giving many a small child horrendous nightmares. Add to this the fact that the story is slow and a little dull, when compared to similar animated movies that have been released in recent years, and you have yourself a film that will only really appeal to an older generation.

This Blu-ray has no extras, which is a bit of a shame as at the very least an audio commentary would have helped give a little more background information on the production. And bearing in mind they went to the trouble of digitally restoring the film you'd have thought that a retrospective feature have been a given?

For those that fondly remember this from the '80s then this is an essential purchase, although you might be better off picking up the previous DVD release at a fraction of the cost. However, those thinking of picking it up for their kids might find that their offspring find it a little on the dull side.

It loses a mark over the previous release, purely for the bump in RRP.


Darren Rea

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