Sunday, 28 August 2016

'Swallows and Amazons' Review


In a time where movies are being remade, you may not have spotted this one. The first book in Arthur Ransome's series, 'Swallows and Amazons' originally got the movie treatment back in 1974. So 42 years later, the classic tale is being brought to life once again, to share the story with a new generation.


Whilst on a family vacation, the Walker children are given permission to sail out to an island in the middle of the lake and set up camp. After giving themselves the moniker 'Swallows' after their boat, they soon realise that there are another group on the island known as 'Amazons'. The two will come against each other to gain control of the island. Meanwhile the mysterious Captain Flint (Rafe Spall) is being pursued two gentlemen as the look for secret information from him.

In a summer that featured strong family movies coming from Disney and Pixar, I didn't think that I would be saying these words. 'Swallows and Amazon's' is the best family movie of the summer. This is one of the few films this summer that I feel is very well suited for all viewers. There are most definitely parts that children will enjoy as it is more aimed towards them but I was very impressed with how much of this film targeted adults too. The spy part of the film is very much so the main part that is geared towards the rest of the family with its dark tone and mystery surrounding it.

The adventure is truly what this film is about and is one of the most entertaining aspects of the film. Seeing the four Walker children battling the elements, seeing them fail and succeed on their journey is a very enjoyable and most importantly an entertaining viewing. Seeing these kids act in a world where mobile phones and the internet are not in existence yet was very enjoyable as they are genuinely excited by being outdoors and create their own fun within the elements. The film captures this perfectly as they are constantly outside, something that certainly seems to have been lost in recent generations. 

Personally, I thought that one of the best parts within this movie had to do with the children and their relationship with each other. As the youngest of 3 children, I could relate to the youngest child Roger throughout the movie as I remember things happening to me that happen in the movie. Through not being allowed to go somewhere because of age to just being a general nuisance, I strangely related to the character. I can see traits of my older sisters in the older siblings as well such as being more bossy but also very protective at the same time. I feel that they captured this aspect incredibly well and the film deserves huge credit for creating the most relatable and realistic family aspect in a film this summer. 

In saying that, the cast deserve huge credit as they were as much involved in creating this family feeling. Dane Hughe and Orla Hill play the eldest children John and Susan and the pair do very well bouncing off each other as they bicker and disagree with each other despite having the best interests in mind. I really enjoyed Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen as Tatty, the second youngest child. She had great wit at times and was delightful in her role as the very intelligent for her age Tatty. Last of all is Bobby McCulloch as Roger who did very well considering his age as well. He was what seems like the typical younger brother which I feel a lot of people will be able to see in their youngest children and siblings. Sometimes with child actors, a film may not be as impactful. However with 'Swallows and Amazons', they are very much a huge strength in the film.

'The Amazons' consist of the Blackett children played by Seren Hawkes and Hannah Jayne Thorp who were also fantastic. Hawkes played the elder sister Nancy who is ruthless and quick thinking which leads to some very funny moments of dialogue from her as she has to deal with her sister. It was great British humour and her delivery was always on point. Thorp as the younger sister did very well as the more kindhearted of the two who doesn't quite take everything as serious as her sister. The pair work very well together and bounce off each other fantastically. The rest of the cast are also very good with Rafe Spall doing a great job as the mysterious 'Captain Flint'. You don't know what to expect from him and are unsure throughout to whether he is a good guy or a bad guy. The character was very intriguing which was helped very much so by Spall's performance.

Overall, 'Swallows and Amazons' is the best family movie I have seen this summer. Entertaining throughout the whole film with a relatable story created one of the more enjoyable cinema trips this summer. I'm so glad I caught this one and you should go out to see it now!

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Swallows and Amazons'? If so what did you think of it? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor