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1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Danny DeVito

Written By:
Robin Swicord, Nicholas Kazan

Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, Paul Reubens, Tracey Walter

Buy on DVD
Matilda (1996)
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Movie Review by Zara
January 31st, 2007

Another Brilliant Adaptation

It's sad that filmmakers seem to either get it totally right or totally wrong when it comes to adapting books, especially children's stories. Novels geared at kids are fairly straightforward. There isn't too much to tinker with. Just follow the book, get yourself a good cast and you're good to go.

MATILDA is based on a Dahl book and anyone familiar with his work knows that he's a fanciful writer where a lot can go wrong when adapting it for the screen. (Hell, people are still arguing over the CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY vs WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY movies) I think the movie benefits from having DeVito not only star but produce and direct the flick as well. A short statured, odd-looking little man is going to know how to handle some odd, unconventional prose.

Made for his children, I also believe that's one of the reasons why he handled the movie with kid gloves. While the subject matter is rough (the character of Matilda is neglected by her awful parents and tormented by her horrific principal), there is still a good heart behind the story. Embeth Davidtz is a perfect choice as the sweet natured teacher Ms Pretty as well.

I'd far rather share a movie like MATILDA with my Midget than one where young girls get tarted up and talk about nothing but boys, shopping and falling in love. There is a far more valuable lesson to be learned with this story instead.

That being, you can one day possess supernatural powers to defeat your foes. Yeah... that's it.

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Jan 31, 2007 4:46 PM
I grew up reading Dahl's books and I thought DeVeto did a great job on this movie.

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