Famous story has echoes of lockdown
SKY FILM REVIEW:
THE SECRET GARDEN (PG)
VIEWED VIA SKY, OUT NOW
Another in a long line of blockbusters to forgo a cinematic release to go straight to the home is this lavish release of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s famous novel.
Newcomer Dixie Egerickx stars as orphaned girl Mary Lennox, who is found abandoned in her British-colonised India home in 1947 – after her parents died of cholera.
She is then sent to live with her uncle, Oscar-winner Colin Firth’s Lord Archibald Craven, in his Yorkshire manor – and has a guardian in the form of Julie Walters’ strict housekeeper Mrs Medlock.
After refusing to go to boarding school, Mary is left to roam the estate’s gardens and woods during the day – and stumbles across a seemingly magical secret enclosure that houses a stray dog and her new friend, the kind-hearted Dickon (Amir Wilson).
But the real story to the family-friendly fantasy drama comes in the form of Lord Craven’s seemingly poorly bed-stricken son Colin (Edan Hayhurst) – who Mary also befriends and aims to unleash the magic on her young cousin.
And in the process may also help the grief-stricken Lord Craven – still bereft from the death of his wife Grace.
But despite some noteworthy performances from the youngsters involved – as Firth and Walters go through the motions – the movie never raises the level above passable family fare.
It’s a bit slow to get going, and the garden doesn’t really show its magic until a heart-warming – if formulaic – ending.
It does ironically seem to have a lot in common with current pandemic times with Mary restricted to the house and garden – and with all the Covid-19 doom and gloom just about unlocks a watchable distraction.
By Gavin Miller
DISNEY+ SERIES REVIEW:
CHAPTER 11: THE HEIRESS
The third episode in the second series of the interstellar sci-fi franchise The Mandalorian once again commendably expands Star Wars lore
Djarin ‘Mando’ Din and The Child limp to the heavily ocean-covered estuary moon of Trask in the battered Razor Crest to drop off their passenger The Frog Lady – and soon find themselves in the company of unexpected allies.
These come in the form of Mandalorian armour-wearing Bo-Katan (Katee Sackoff, who voiced the character in the Clone Wars series), Koska (played by WWE wrestler Mercedes ‘Sasha Banks’ Varnado) and Axe (Agents of SHIELD’s Simon Kassianides) – who seem to be a different off-shoot of the faith – who enlist Din to help take down a gun-traffiking Imperial cruiser.
By Gavin Miller
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