something truly special. It's a film based upon the
beloved novel by children's author Roald Dahl, and it was adapted by
as director. The story blends the realms of a fantasy and comedic story
focusing on a child who is special but under-appreciated by her family.
story of a misunderstood girl discovering herself and looking for love
to be missing from her home, where her parents and brother don't
much at all. Matilda
(Mara Wilson) loves reading books and using her
brain but her parents are so different from her. Her father Mr. Wormwood (Danny DeVito) is mainly concerned with
watching and selling dysfunctional cars for massive mark-ups at his
his mother Mrs. Wormwood (Rhea Perlman, Danny DeVito's real-life wife)
concerned with her looks and enjoying what she considers to be a nice
Matilda also has a bratty brother who bullies or ignores her and
to show her any real attention. In essence, one might say Matilda
odd-duckling of the family: distinctive but not properly recognized.
the course of the story, the viewer sees the adventurous
side of Matilda as she falls in love with books from the library and
begins school. Yet she winds up at a school with the worst principal
the viciously mean and hot-tempered Trunchbull (Pam Ferris) who is so
prone to picking up children, whirling them around, and throwing them
windows. The principal is also known for embarrassing the children and
harshness of her punishments against the children in general.
run-down school is mostly a harsh, cold, and
unwelcoming place - yet the children are nice and Matilda makes several
friends. She also meets a nice teacher, Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz),
to care for Matilda. As the storyline unfolds, Matilda ends up
powers that she uses to help stop the bullying of the mean principal
who she aims to drive away from the school using them. Will her unique
help to save the school and will Matilda find the understanding
and love she longs for with the
help of Miss Honey? And can Truchbull be stopped?
novel written by Roald Dahl was one of my favorite books
as a child. I really loved this story a great deal. I was fascinated by
fantasy aspect and by the delicate writing by Dahl. Growing up, Dahl
constant favorite. I especially loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox and The BFG
-- and Matilda.
These were all special experiences for me. Dahl was absolutely one of
children's authors who helped me to fall in love with reading, which
enjoyable and mesmerizing to me as a child.
this adaptation by Danny DeVito takes certain
liberties with the source material, I always felt as a child that it
faithful, maintaining the heart and messages of the story about love,
acceptance, and being unique. These are all good messages for kids to
and it's presented in an often silly, over-the-top, and fantastical way
core ideas are still all contained in a wonderful way.
for the screen by screenwriters Nicholas Kazan and
Robin Swicord, the story takes on a great life
of its own in the 1996 film version, as
so wonderfully realized by DeVito. It became something immensely
special to me.
This is one of the best children's films of the 1990's decade and the
should no doubt still find itself enchanting audiences of all ages, and
especially children who will enjoy this story immensely.
performances were quite remarkable and it's amazing how
fluid the child actors were, most especially Mara Wilson as Matilda.
characters that the filmmaking paints are impressive to recognize and
cast came together to form a cohesive whole for the story. DeVito adds
touches of both fantasy and sentimentalism with over-the-top elements
that blend together uniquely and effectively. The music score by
Newman adds a distinctive aura of magic to the proceedings and helps
foundation of the film, which is still magical, enchanting, and a
children's film for those seeking to revisit or to experience for the
on Blu-ray with a remarkably impressive 1080p transfer preserving the
theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film has been remastered and the
are magnificent. This is a truly special presentation of the film. I
imagine it looking any better than its release on Blu-ray. With a
that is both vivid and smooth without any apparent digital tampering
edge enchantment, or contrast boosting, this is simply a beautiful
seems quite modern and so magnificent that you would think the film was
recently made. The cinematography was wonderfully realized and this
presents the film with the best quality I have ever seen presented for Matilda.
surprise, I went into the experience expecting
a rather simplistic surround design and was delighted to discover that Matilda contains a decent 5.1 mix that
is brought to life even more by DTS-HD Master Audio. The score and
effects have decent depth and ambiance. While I wouldn't go so far as
this is a perfect sound presentation (there are still many moments
front-heavy), this is a well-done surround sound presentation that has
an impressive and notable boost by the lossless sound contained on the
new extra to arrive on this
release has been titled Afternoon Tea: A
Very Magical Matilda Reunion. In my estimation, the subtitle of the
is accurate. This is a wonderful new exclusive for the Blu-ray release.
features a reunion gathering of almost all of the people involved in
film as far as the lead actors, producers, designers, and more. The
is presented by Danny DeVito, who demonstrates his ongoing passion for
wonderful story of Matilda. This is a
feature that fans of the film will love and cherish.
are also a number of extras
from a previous DVD edition appearing here again, including the Matilda's Movie Magic! featurette which
is about twenty minutes of making-of material.
Children's Guide to Good Manners
would more appropriately be titled a guide to bad manners
as it's basically
just a five-minute piece highlighting some of the over-the-top moments
to the Library is a piece
that has DeVito talking a bit about the origin of the film before the
featurette basically turns into a PSA to children about going to the
Movie About Making Matilda (by Mara Wilson) is a
fascinating 6 minute long
featurette, which showcases some behind-the-scenes footage filmed by
of the film as they were making Matilda.
It has more interesting moments and
footage than many professionally done behind the scenes features and
decent amount of ground for such a short piece done by Wilson as a
child. I was
certainly impressed and I highly recommend this supplement.
this film with this well-done Blu-ray release is
quite remarkable: the presentation does not disappoint and the film
that should still enchant children. DeVito did a great
job making this adaptation as director: Matilda
is the best thing he has
directed. The heart and soul in this film is sweet and has some good
for kids (minus all the over-the-top bits). A young audience of viewers
still be able to discover and appreciate Matilda.
At this stage, almost twenty years following its 1996 release, Matilda is a definite children's
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.