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I saw this movie in theaters back in 1982 or so, whenever it was released. I remember it was the early 80’s, because I met my best friend Phyllis in 3rd period English class on the 1st day of school in 7th grade, and that was in 1981. We saw the movie together. We loved it…it was very strange compared to other animated features we’d seen at the time, but we loved it nonetheless.

Until the DVD release, I was unaware it was based on an actual book. I’m definitely going to be getting a copy of the book to read.

Regardless, the DVD release itself was extremely disappointing to me. The movie is ONLY available in full-screen, not a wide-screen format, which I much prefer, and which the movie deserves. The quality of the images themselves doesn’t seem to be as sharp as my VHS version was (it bit the dust in my house fire in 1999). The menu is pathetic, and the special features aren’t really very special at all, although I enjoyed the commentary from author Peter S. Beagle VERY much.

Now. The movie itself…I don’t recommend it for the average small child…I was concerned about Bekah watching it at 4 1/2, but I’d forgotten some of the elements when I bought it, and let her watch it. She enjoyed it and loves watching it repeatedly, but some of the themes can be disturbing for a small child.

The movie is a little disjointed…the dialogue is rapid and includes a LOT of run-on sentences, or so it appears due to the quickness. This causes a feeling of being rushed, as if they were trying to cram too much into too little space, and perhaps time was an issue when the movie was first made. It doesn’t ruin the movie, if anything it makes it somewhat unique…but it does irritate me a little. However, all three of my kids love it, and its a great work of literature, and now the older two are wanting to read the book also, so hey, that’s something!

The story line itself is very strong, and I love the understory with Molly and Schmendrick. You’re left wondering what will happen to Prince Lir, and how Molly and Schmendrick’s lives will turn out.

If you’ve never seen this movie, I highly recommend it, but don’t expect Disney quality animation. The animation is very simplified, which in turn gives you more of a chance to focus on the excellent storyline. The soundtrack is performed by America…VERY nice.

If you have small kids, you may wish to watch the movie first without them, but depending on the level your child can handle, it may end up becoming a new family favorite (or an old favorite in my case).

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