Science fiction and fantasy
The Secret Of Moonacre
directed by Gabor Csupo
When the two women do arrive they find Sir Benjamin Merryweather (Ioan Gruffudd) to be spiky and unwelcoming. He can barely tolerate the presence of women in his house, which is falling into disrepair. Meanwhile the nearby forest is full of ruffians from the De Noir family, ancient enemies of the Merryweathers. Sir Benjamin warns Maria not to go near them.
Moonacre is a place of strict prohibitions and unexpected delights, and Maria is keen to explore it all. Not being one to listen to instructions, her explorations soon bring her into contact with the De Noirs. The bowler-hatted Robin (Augustus Prew) has more than a touch of Alex from A Clockwork Orange about him, and he's out to get Maria. But he's a softie compared with his father Coeur De Noir (Tim Curry), who is hell-bent on revenge and murder. Coeur De Noir will stop at nothing to get at the Merryweathers, even if he hurts himself and his own family in the process.
With a curse that's due to come to fruition, a generous dose of magic, and an abundance of eccentric characters The Secret Of Moonacre is a charming mix of wonder, adventure and jokes about digestion. Well, maybe that last part isn't so charming. The film is worth watching just for Ioan Gruffudd's portrayal of the proud and stubborn Sir Benjamin. Once in a while Sir Benjamin's mask slips to reveal the painful secret he's trying to hide, and Gruffudd puts these emotions across perfectly.
As for the rest of it, if you're a fan of overplayed, melodramatic scenes laced with sugar and fairy-dust, it's sure to please. It's not big on realism, but who needs that when you can have long, flowing, impractical frocks and shining unicorns running through the forest? It's escapist, fun, and a very pretty film.
If you like this, try:Dark Shadows by Tim Burton
Barnabas Collins may be a bloodthirsty vampire, but he always puts his family first.
Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie by Lev L. Spiro
A young witch accidentally creates a spell that will cause her and her brothers to disappear, unless they can find a way to reverse it.
Stardust by Matthew Vaughn
Life is hard for a star: there's no privacy, you get hounded wherever you go, your heart cut out and eaten...
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Gabor Csupo