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Sand through fingers

I have achieved very little of the Boston Fantastic Film Festival, to my regret: two weeks of extended brutal workload at work is to blame. I was late to Infernal Affairs on Friday, late enough so that I decided to recover instead of seeing the movie — I was up late Thursday thanks to Saw. and since I didn’t leave work until 11:30 PM on Wednesday I had no reserves. I skipped Appleseed and The Bottled Fool on Saturday in hopes that I’d have some margin left today. I may have been wrong.

But Five Children and It was fun. It was twee and Victorian, as the BBC warned, but in a way I enjoyed — it’s a children’s story, after all. And the kids were very good, particularly Jonathan Bailey, who played Cyril. Full marks. Eddie Izzard’s voice work was solid, marred only by a pedestrian puppet which looked little like the Psammead I knew and loved as a child:

The children stood round the hole in a ring, looking at the creature they had found. It was worth looking at. Its eyes were on long horns like a snail’s eyes, and it could move them in and out like telescopes; it had ears like a bat’s ears, and its tubby body was shaped like a spider’s and covered with thick soft fur; its legs and arms were furry too, and it had hands and feet like a monkey’s.

I suspect that the eyes were moved for the sake of easier dollmaking. But I cannot be sure. The story was updated for the sake of tension, and if Horace wasn’t such a good character I’d be deeply resentful of the addition of a malevolent cousin to the mix. Really, most of the details are unrecognizable — the original novel begins with a note of joy as the children find themselves in a house with no rules, which is exactly the opposite of the rules-heavy abode of the movie’s Uncle Albert. Still, there’s a Psammead, and there are the five children, and I was content.

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