A 2009 stop motion animated fantasy film directed by Henry S …
The Wind in the Willows features the award-winning animation of Cosgrove Hall, Kenneth Grahame's classic tales of Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad's magical and challenging adventure through the English countryside. The story behind The Wind in the … see full wiki
Cosgrove Hall's charming stop-motion animated adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame story is spectacular family entertainment. Originally shown on the BBC in 1983, I was first introduced to the series in the late `80s on PBS. I was probably about four at the time and I was unfamiliar with the story upon which it's based. But I was immediately taken by the subtle sophistication of the film. The animation was unlike anything I'd ever seen and to this day it holds a great fascination to me. The first film in this set is a marvelous adaptation of the book, which is remarkable considering the length of the book and the fact that the film is just under an hour and a half long. The second film, from 1989, is a silly yet fun sequel that retains the charm of the original even though it's not based upon Grahame's tale. Both films are worthy of a spot on your family's DVD shelf.
The Wind in the Willows - 1983
The story concerns a group of animal characters that live in the English countryside. There Mole, sick of spring cleaning, has decided to go out into the sun and visit his friend Ratty. They enjoy a good day of "messing about in boats" and having a picnic (where we are first introduced to the nefarious weasels). Finally Mole and Ratty pay a visit to the wealthy and eccentric Mr. Toad who shifts from one neurotic obsession to another. Soon he becomes entranced by motorcars and is revealed to be a danger to himself as well as the other animals. With that in mind Mole and Ratty seek out the reclusive Badger, whose great wisdom might be an asset in reeling Toad in and exorcising him of his "motorcar mania". But it's too late for Toad has stolen a car and been involved in yet another accident. Toad is sent to prison and the weasels move into his home, making it their headquarters for delinquency. But Toad manages to escape with the help of a washerwoman and enlists the aid of Ratty, Mole and Badger in an attempt to recapture Toad Hall.
The Wind in the Willows: A Tale of Two Toads - 1989
In this sequel, the weasels seek revenge on Mr. Toad and once again take over Toad Hall. This time they utilize another Toad, this one an actor, and succeed in temporarily dividing the animals and turning them against each other. It's not long before their treachery is revealed and the two Toads must confront one another to decide who will possess Toad Hall.
The DVDs are produced by A&E, to whom I am grateful for this release, but unfortunately neither of the films have been remastered or given a proper restoration. This causes the film to look faded and there are numerous times where artifacts (spots of dirt, dust and debris) can be seen. Although this can be rather annoying, it never depreciates the enjoyment of the viewing. This series is highly recommended not only for its nostalgic value but also for its superlative storytelling. Truly a family classic!
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