As far as film releases go, this weekend was looking like a less exciting than usual couple of days. Out of the mixed bag of releases covering several genres it was ‘Swallows and Amazons’ which had me most willing to part with my cash. Although the film looked like something that would bring back nightmares of early stage secondary school English lessons I chose to give ‘Swallows and Amazons’ the benefit of the doubt.
The film is the second of which to be based on Arthur Ransome’s novel from 1930 also entitled ‘Swallows and Amazons’. The story revolves around a family, The Walkers, who are on their summer holidays. The children have a healthy appetite for adventure and it’s from this that most of the narrative spawns, however there are a few other storylines included too. The four Walker children are the main characters here; John, Susan, Tatty & Roger and they are all very likeable. The performances that each of the young actors give in these roles are really charming and help to create an authentic chemistry between the on screen siblings. Alongside the younger cast members come a few other more well known names including; Andrew Scott, Rafe Spall, Jessica Hynes, Kelly Macdonald and Harry Enfield. All of these stars perform well too but in comparably smaller roles to their younger cast members.
The narrative is refreshing simple, at least for the initial scenes of the film, as the children explore their surroundings. The film captures their wonderful sense for adventure just brilliantly and somehow makes camping look like good fun. It should certainly spark memories of childhood’s spent outside hunting around in forests or fields and might even transpire some of the characters spirit of adventure onto it’s audience. The other storylines that I have mentioned are a fun addition to the main expedition of the children but it’s also here that there are some potential problems. There are a few questions you might ask yourself regarding the combination of the storylines but honestly nothing major enough to detract any enjoyment from the film. However, even with it’s short running time of just under 100 minutes at times the film can feel quite long. Although saying that there are few settings other than the Lake District that you wouldn’t mind this being the case for as the director and cinematographer shoot this location very nicely.
So whilst ‘Swallows and Amazons’ maybe doesn’t seem that exciting amongst the big and brash blockbusters of the summer it’s actually well worth a watch, especially due to the largely disappointing nature of those said blockbusters. With four endearing main characters, a fantastic sense of adventure and engaging side plots ‘Swallows and Amazons’ is an uplifting end to a rather dull season of films.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What is your favourite adventure movie?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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