Wilhern family name was one of the proudest and most revered in the city
but little did anyone know that the family was cursed. Generations back,
a housemaid had become pregnant to the eldest son of the family but when
he shunned her she became distraught and took her own life, consumed by
grief her mother cursed the family announcing that the daughter born will
have the features of a big. For generations the family had sons but then
Penelope (Ricci) was born to Franklin (Grant) and Jessica (O'Hara) and the
curse was realised. Twenty-five years later, the Wilhern family had become
desperate as the only way to break the curse was for Penelope to marry a
person of her own social standing but none of the city's most eligible bachelors
could stand the sight of her.
day fairytales have taken the imagination of filmmakers but can the story
of a pig faced girl with a heart be truly magical?
fairy tale has been the stable of family friendly movies since the motion
industry began. Taking elements of 'The Ugly Duckling', 'Beauty and the
Beast' and many another classic tale, 'Penelope' writer Leslie Caveny transfers
this to modern times and includes many a modern plot device to replace the
more traditional elements of the tale. Transforming the evil wizard, witch
or pirate with an unscrupulous paparazzi photographer, the cowardly, greedy
prince with an upper class toff and the knight in shining armour with a
gambling heir with a good heart, the movie tries to make the plot a little
more modern but with all the classic fairy tale elements but unfortunately
it doesn't quite work.
fairy tale movie needs to be whimsical, magical and have an adorable factor
that makes you smile throughout but 'Penelope' doesn't quite manage that.
The idea that men would be so repulsed by the sight of the beautiful Christina
Ricci with a piggy nose and ears that they would throw themselves out of
second floor windows is a little hard to believe. The story of inner beauty
overcoming physical restrictions is not a new one to cinema but the lack
of invention, the over use of clichés and the fact that you know that Penelope
won't look like a pig for the whole of the movie means that this is not
a story of acceptance, as it should be but one of if you change your physical
defects and look 'normal' you will live happily ever after. In a modern
society were the pressure on young people to look perfect is ever increasing,
this is not the message for a family friendly film to give out.
other problem with the film is trying to figure out exactly were it is set.
The mixture of British and American actors for the ensemble cast and the
obvious London setting would make you think that the film is set in the
UK but all the actors, including the British ones have to speak in a non-regionalised
American accent. Were it comes with ease for star Christina Ricci, Catherine
O'Hara, Peter Dinklage and Reese Witherspoon, the British actors James McAvoy,
Richard E. Grant, Simon Woods, Ronni Ancona, Nick Frost and even Russell
Brand just sound silly. While this doesn't really take anything away from
their performances, which are good even with the limitations of the story
and dialogue, they could have easily just spoken in their own voices.
is a missed opportunity. While a modern day fairytale is an excellent concept,
this still has to appeal to a modern audience and this movie doesn't quite
manage that. Saved only by the excellent ensemble cast who do their best
with the material, 'Penelope' is a wasted chance to reinvigorate a genre
and one that is devoid of any real magic.
in Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the
transfer is good.
Trailer (1.44 mins)
Watch the trailer that previewed the movie in theatres and on the Internet.
Director Mark Palansky and stars Christina Ricci, Richard E. Grant, Reese
Witherspoon and James McAvoy talk about the modern fairytale. Looking at
Christina Ricci makeup, the different characters and the main storyline
Gallery (1.50 mins)
A montage of images from the movie put to music.
DVD treatment for 'Penelope' is about as good as the movie. With an extremely
short featurette and not much more, the lack of a commentary also lets this
release down. Fans will be very disappointment.
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