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The British animation firm of John Halas and Joy Batchelor perform yeoman service in adapting George Orwell's allegorical novel Animal Farm to the screen. As any high-school English student can tell you,the original 1945 novel was Orwell's spin on the rise and fall of the Communist myth. A group of intelligent animals overthrow their corrupt human owner and set up their own self-sustained farm, predicated on an idealistic credo: "All Animals are Created Equal", "No Animal Shall Ever Drink Liquor", "Four Legs Good: Two Legs Bad" etc. But when Snowball the Pig (read: Trotsky) is overthrown by the despotic Napoleon (read: Stalin), all idealism goes out the window, and soon the pigs are ruling dictatorially over the other animals. Before long, Animal Farm operates on but one principle: "All Animals Are Created Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others." Orwell's ironic ending, in which it becomes impossible to tell the difference between the Pigs and the Humans, is blunted in favor of a grafted-on happy ending, perhaps to mollify the kiddie trade. Maurice Denham supplies all the character's voices, while Gordon Heath serves as narrator. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Often and incorrectly reported as the first British animated feature, Joy Batchelor and John Halas's adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm is actually the second British full length animated feature. It's also a pretty basic adaptation of what is one of the greatest books of all time. It doesn't come close to doing it justice but it's easy to watch all the same, just as long as people realise it is no substitute for the book.
The first full-length animated picture to be released in Britain, this is a fantastically intelligent film. Never putting its political satire as top priority, it is an entertaining movie on any level, but the brilliant portrait of Stalinism is its strongest point.
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