“ Genre: Children's DVDs - Animation / Universal, particularly children / Director: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang / Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Rob Brydon ... / DVD released 2010-03-22 at E1 Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
The Gruffalo first appeared in a written format during 2009 and was first screened as a film adaptation for the first time on Christmas Day that very same year. It wasn't however until seeing the DVD for sale in late 2012 that I actually realised there was a film version of this book that was orignally published by my daughter and mines favourite duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Needless to say I grabbed it as soon as I spotted it as Christmas was fast approaching, and with it being for sale at just £5 I thought it would make an excellent stocking filler.
Run Time:- 25 minutes (approx.)
Helena Bonham Carter
I was very pleased to see when I first watched this DVD that the animated versions of the characters had been kept very true to the illustrations of those published by Axel Scheffler in The Gruffalo book. As too was I pleased to see that the story stuck very much to the original text in the book being the same word for word except for the addition of two baby squirrels along with their mum. The mother squirrel (Helena Bonham Carter) narrates as necessary throughout the story as though she is telling it to her children.
For those that aren't familiar with the story of The Gruffalo it tells the story of a mouse (James Corden) in search of a nut who meets three hungry animals along the course of his journey through the deep dark wood to get to said nut. All of these animals wish to invite the mouse back to their various houses for tea as the main course, the quick thinking mouse tells these animals that he is going to meet a creature which goes by the name of The Gruffalo (Robbie Coltrane) which is a creature entirely entirely conjured from his imagination. The animals he meets along the way are a snake (Rob Brydon), an owl (John Hurt), and a fox (Tom Wilkinson).
Once the mouse has managed to convince these animals that he is well worth being scared of as he is going to meet The Gruffalo for lunch, the last thing he expects is to bump into this imaginary creature. Once again however the quick thinking mouse manages to wriggle his way out of the situation by telling The Gruffalo that he should follow him back through the deep dark wood and see why in fact he isn't nice, but rather, the most feared creature in the wood. The mouse sets off with The Gruffalo close behind and naturally when the animals that spotted him previously see him again they soon run scared at the sight of The Gruffalo but will this be enough to convince him to leave the mouse alone and not eat him for tea? The subject matter here may at first hand sound scary but as with all of Donaldson's story it is written in such a way it's more on the charming side. The true replications of Scheffler's illustrations also help a great deal with keeping this light hearted rather than frightening.
As previously mentioned this DVD is as true to the original story as it can be which is brilliant as it means the lines of the characters rhyme which each other, as well as with the narration given by the squirrel. This gives the DVD a great flow and makes it seem like it runs for far less than the 25 minutes that it actually does. The animations bring Axel Scheffler's pictures to life in the best way possible and only improve upon what is seen in the original book which I really didn't feel would be a possibility.
The DVD extras on this include a section which documents the making of The Gruffalo, which gives a brilliant insight into how The Gruffalo DVD came about. With interviews given by Julia Donaldson, and Axel Scheffler as well as with the film producers themselves. This is more for adults than children given the informative nature of it I feel that children may well become bored quite quickly. It shows how The Gruffalo was initially scary and how Axel Scheffler made him more cuddly due to this, as well as giving some other great insights to the animation, and the way that the author, illustrators and directors worked together.
The other section included as an extra is a photo gallery showing a slideshow of concept drawings for the DVD. Whilst it is interesting to see the novelty soon wears off after the first few and to be perfectly honest I didn't really enjoy this section all that much, but then that's just me and other people may love it. As this is an extra for the DVD I cannot really fault it for my non-enjoyment of it as it no way detracts from the actual quality of the main story The Gruffalo itself.
Also included as a nice touch are subtitles, I say this because it is an adaptation from the book, and feel having the words there and available to have on screen could be used as an excellent educational aid especially in a group setting where a DVD is far easier to watch than crowding around a book.
Whilst I was thinking about watching this DVD on the way home after purchasing it I thought I may have made a bit of a mistake. I say this because both my daughter and I enjoyed the book so much that I didn't think that the film could really live up to the precedence set by the written version. I was delighted to be proven wrong and to find that the DVD bought the book to life in a way that I really didn't think would be possible.
The well selected cast whose voices fit the animals down to a tee would have been plenty to make this DVD satisfactory, yet added to the fact that it was very well narrated in a way that added to the story. The squirrels that only featured in the book as illustrations were integrated smoothly and these reasons alongside the faithful reproduction of Scheffler's illustrations made this DVD everything that I was expecting it to be and more.
Overall this is well worth a watch, if you have read any of the books published by this duo and enjoyed them then The Gruffalo DVD should be right up your street. This is a great adaptation and well worth the £5 that we spent on it. Even at the RRP of £7 this DVD is well worth the money and is one that has been watched time and time again in our house.
The tag-line "A family classic for years to come" on the front cover of this is something I whole heartedly agree with, and The Gruffalo DVD comes with a solid 5/5 star recommendation from me.
The story of the Gruffalo first saw light in book form by author Julia Donaldson. I love the whole range of children's stories by Julia. Her stories are brilliant and are so much different to your regular children's books. The Gruffalo is a story of a mouse who is walking through the woods when he comes across woodland animals on his way who want to eat poor mouse. The mouse makes up a story that he is on his way to have tea with a Gruffalo and describes him as scary, tall and repulsive. Little did the mouse know, there IS such this as a Gruffalo and when we stumbles upon him, he had to stop the Gruffalo from wanting to eat him! so he walks back through the wood and pretends he is the scariest creature in the wood by pretending he is the one the animals are scared of and not the Gruffalo himself and scares the Gruffalo away.
Helena Bonham Carter- Narrator
Of course, James Corden's voice is straight away very noticeable. He also narrates for Cbeebies programme Charlie Bear which he does extremely well as he has a very soft voice which is great for playing the mouse in this story. The visual of the film is excellent. I much prefer to watch it on the DVD as the story is dragged out over almost 30 minutes whereas when we read the book, it's just a 5 minute activity. Hollie first watched this on Nick Jr one Christmas as couldn't take her eyes off the screen. We hadn't yet got the book so she had no clue what it was for a change. When it finished and she raved about how great the film was, we went online to order the DVD for her to be able to watch it over and over. It cost us £7 at the time and it's been watched too many times for my liking!
We have decided to get her the Gruffalo's child which is the second film in the series just to have some change. We have the book of this which has a very similar story line. I am quite looking forward to looking out for more DVDs from the Julia Donaldson story book range as we also have seen Room on the broom on DVD.
I truly love how this story has been written. Hollie is 4 and a half and can recite the book without prompting. It is very repetitive and we love the rhyming throughout. The film has been done perfectly as there is no added words or changes at all that would confuse a child. They have done excellently also so drag it out over a 30 minute period so the child gets to enjoy the story and see the emotions and character qualities throughout the film. I know it's a bed time favourite in most house holds as the description of the Gruffalo is where us adults get to have a bit of fun.
The DVD is now available on Amazon for £5. I definitely recommend this to anyone with small children. It's not too frightening and it has an amazing cast of actors speaking the parts of the animals. I give this DVD 5/5 stars and if I could give it more, it would definitely get more.
Thanks for reading my review
The Gruffalo is one of the most popular British Childrens books of all time, in 2010 it was made into a short animated film and shown at Christmas on the television, this is the DVD of the short film.
In short this is an exceptional piece of work, I watched it with my partner and young child, my child was too young to really appreciate the film at this time but I was enthralled.
The film has a fantastic cast with Helena Bonham Carter narrating the tale as a squirrel, James Corden playing the mouse, Robbie Coltrane playing the Gruffalo, Tom Wilkinson playing the fox, John Hurt playing the owl and Rob Brydon the snake.
The film is based on the book and uses the same rhyming couplets which author Julia Donaldson so skillfully crafted in making this story, it tells the tale of a mouse searching for an acorn laden tree and explaining to various assailants en route that he is meeting a made up beast called the Gruffalo to scare them away from meeting him. The story is simple, the rhymes delightful and the eventual appearance of the Gruffalo adds a lovely twist to the tale which is really good fun.
The cast are excellent, Bonham Carter is clear and eloquent in narration, Corden mixes fear and cockiness as the little mouse with a big personality, Wilkinson, Hurt and Brydon are sly and cowardly in equal measures as the predators on the journey while Robbie Coltrane has fun as the Gruffalo, all actors are restrained and don't go over the top but do a great job transporting us into the woodland world in which they live.
The script is short, the film is 24 minutes, but it is a beautiful film which deserves its 5 stars, the animation is exceptional. It looks amazing and is so clear and descriptive, the animators have done an amazing job in making the characters far enough from reality in the angles of the drawing whilst maintaining an environment that looks real, one moment where the mouse floats through the field on a dandelion was very memorable for me and utterly beguiling.
The movement of the animals is amusing and the mouse in particular shows a lot of emotion in a small number of facial expressions.
The DVD has a photo gallery and a making of documentary which we hope to watch in the future, the film would be perfect for children from 2 years and upwards and is a perfect accompaniment to the popular book. This is a sweet book with a message in it, the message is easy to understand and very positive and the story is well structured and fun.
The soundtrack is gentle and follows the story perfectly while the use of squirrels as narrators helps keep the tale within its original format.
We bought our copy of the DVD from Amazon for £4.99 and think this is well worth it as it won't age, it is beautifully created with love and looks timeless, the story is fun for adults and children and the acting is spot on.
The film is a beautiful creation and a worthy addition to the DVD collection of families and people of all ages who ever enjoyed the book.
See the creature with terrible teeth and turned out toes and a purple wart at the end of his nose brought to life in this wonderful animated version of Julia Donaldsons classic story.
The Gruffalo is one of our favourite books and pretty much a staple every night at bedtime. I like to read it doing all the different voices of the different characters and really make it fun so that's why I think this DVD is so good.
The Characters are really brought to life well by the various actors and the story is kept to its classic form and is not really messed around with at all which I like. The animation is just the same as the illustrations by Axel Scheffler so The Gruffalo looks familiar to kids who love the book.
The story is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter who in my opinion has the best posh English voice to talk us through the story. We watch a little brown mouse as he takes us on a journey through the forest, encountering foes along the way and explaining to them exactly what or who is a Gruffalo. The mouse is voiced by James Corden from Gavin and Stacey fame. I love him as the mouse and it does make me laugh that he voices a small little creature when he himself is a rather large chap.
The foes the mouse happens upon are a fox, owl and a snake. Tom Wilkinson is the fox, Rob Brydon is the snake and John Hurt is the owl. Each of these animals wants to eat the mouse but he tells them he is off to eat with the Gruffalo. He portrays the Gruffalo as a scary character, each time getting more descriptive telling them it is a big animal with a black tongue, orange eyes and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose, to name just a few afflictions.
The casting for the Gruffalo I think is perfect. He is voiced by Robbie Coltrane who in my opinion could definitely pass for a Gruffalo in real life. He has the perfect gruff voice and persona to carry off the character.
The mouse thinks the Gruffalo is make believe so imagine his amazement when he happens upon a real life Gruffalo! He wants to eat the mouse but the mouse is clever and tells him he is the scariest animal in the forest. He proves it by making the Gruffalo walk with him through the forest and when all the other animals see them they run away, scared of the Gruffalo, not the mouse. The mouse then tells the Gruffalo his favourite food is Gruffalo Crumble which makes the Gruffalo flee is terror. A very cute story that kids will find clever and funny. Apparently, the story is based on a traditional Chinese folk tale of a fox that borrows the terror of a tiger.
The DVD is short, it's only 27 minutes long but the story is told perfectly in that time and it's short enough to hold my toddlers attention and not too long that she gets bored. It was released in 2010 and I got mine from Amazon priced at £4.99
In 2010 the Gruffalo, an award winning childrens book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler was made into a short animated film, with star voices and wonderful animation. It was televised at Christmas and soon after released on DVD.
The Gruffalo animated film is told by Mother Squirrel, to her children, in order to teach them about bravery and keeping themselves safe from predators. It is the story of Mouse, who takes a stroll through the deep, dark wood and along the way bumps into potential lunch dates Fox, Owl and Snake - all of whom *invite* Mouse for lunch, or in other words TO BE lunch. Mouse has to think quick and so invents a creature with knobbly knees and turned out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose who he just happens to be meeting "right here" for lunch, and his favourite food is roasted Fox, Owl ice cream and Scrambled Snake (depending on who is inviting him for lunch), terrified of this terrible creature, the animals all run away from Mouse. Thinking he is very clever, Mouse exclaims "doesn't he know? There's no such thing as a Gruffalo!" Until... he bumps into ... a real life Gruffalo, and his favourite food is actually Mouse, on a slice of bread. So, Mouse has to be extra clever, and tells the Gruffalo that he is the scariest creature in the wood, and if the Gruffalo walks behind Mouse, he will soon see that everyone is afraid of him! The Gruffalo laughs, but agrees, and as he walks behind Mouse they encounter Snake, Owl and Fox, who all take one look at the Gruffalo and run (fly or slither) away scared! The Gruffalo thinks they are running away from Mouse, who declares that his tummy is beginning to rumble, and his favourite food is Gruffalo Crumble... and the Gruffalo, quick as the wind, turns and runs away.
The animation is true to the illustrations of Axel Scheffler, and is bold and colourful, making you feel as if you are in the deep dark wood, with Mouse and the Gruffalo.
The voices are from some of the UK's most loved stars - Helena Bonham Carter is Mother Squirrel, Robbie Coltrane is The Gruffalo, James Corden is Mouse, Rob Brydon is Snake, John Hurt is Owl and Tom Wilkinson is Fox. Amazing actors, with such characterful voices, bringing life to the animated creatures.
The film itself is 27 minutes long, perfect for younger viewers as it is long enough to capture their attention but short enough to keep it, and the perfect length to allow busy parents to cook tea. It is ideal for children who already love the story of the Gruffalo but also for children who have yet to be introduced to it.
And the big news for this animated film is ... it has been nominated, and hotly tipped for an Oscar in 2011! What greater recommendation does it need?
Actors: Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, Tom Wilkinson, John Hurt, Rob Brydon
Directors: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
Writers: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang, Axel Scheffler, Julia Donaldson
Producers: Carsten Bunte, Daryl Shute, Martin Pope, Michael Rose, Polly Hill
Back in the summer my son took part in The Gruffalo concert in school, I bought him the book but noticed one day that we had actually recorded the film that was on tv last christmas!
The film which is an animation is based on the book written by Julia Donaldson who is a very good children's author.
The story starts with a squirrel who is bringing food home but gets attacked by an owl, luckily she escapes and manages to get home to her children. The squirrel would like to go back for the food but her children ask her for a story about a monster and a mouse.
A mouse went for a walk through the deep dark wood, he is a very hungry mouse and has one thing on his mind food!
In the film we get to meet snake, owl and fox who all want to eat the mouse.
First he meets fox who asks where mouse is off to, he invites him to lunch in his underground house but mouse imagines what would happen if he went off with fox, we get to see mouse being put into a cooking pot!
Mouse quickly comes up with a reason why he cannot go with fox and he starts to invent the gruffalo, Fox responds by asking whats a gruffalo? Mouse then describes the gruffalo and fox starts to see a picture of terrible tusks, and terrible claws, terrible teeth in his terrible jaws.
Fox then asks where mouse is meeting him and mouse tells him by these rocks and his favourite meal is roasted fox. Fox comes up with an image of himself served on a plate and tells mouse he is off and off he goes.
"Silly old fox, doesnt he know? Theres no such thing as a gruffalo!"
The pattern follows with owl and snake and each time the description of the gruffalo gets bigger and bigger until mouse actually gets to meet the gruffalo!
One of the differences between the story and the film is the fact that fox, snake and owl clearly intend to eat mouse and the mouse imagines what they are going to do to him!
The details in the film are fantastic like we get to see a fish jump out of the water to eat a butterfly, a woodpecker is seen eating some ants and I think the film is making it clear that animals get eaten by other animals.
I also think there is a lot of wit in the film like when mouse is travelling with owl and he is clearly still thinking about his nuts even though he is on his way to owls treetop house and owl has plans for mouse!
**What do I think?**
I think this is a brilliant film for the whole family and we really did laugh at some of the humour, the film only lasts 25 minutes which I think although could be disappointing for an adult is perfect for kids.
The animation which is using CGI really brings all the characters and the film to life, I love the gruffalo he looks very scary but is cute as well!
The first time we watched this film we quickly realised that the film had stayed true to the book other than the addition of the squirrel who is telling the gruffalo story to her children, this meant that my son was able to say the rhymes all through the film as they were all in the right places.
My son is a big Gruffalo fan and if he had his way he would watch this everyday, for the whole 25 minutes he is captivated with the film and does not move from the sofa apart from wanting a hug in what he thinks is a scary part, though the funny thing is he does not find the gruffalo scary at all!
Narrator - Helena Bonham Carter
Mouse - James Corden
The Gruffalo -Robbie Coltrane
Snake -Rob Brydon
Owl - John Hurt
Fox -Tom Wilkinson
£6.99 - HMV
The Gruffalo....Based on the book by julia donaldson and axel scheffler, a must read for children. We had the book and had read it many times before we watched this. I noticed it was on at christmas so sky + it. It is still in our planner now. For a good 4 months my son (now 3) watched it twice a day would have been more had i let him. He loved it. He would get really excited when the gruffalo appeared and i had to come and join him to see it.
Unlike other books being made into film this is the exact story in the book, projected onto our screens. The animation is even the same as in the book. The voices for the characters are exactly how you would imagine, a sly sort of voice for the fox, a deep gruff voice for the gruffalo, a sneaky voice for the snake and a wise old voice for the owl.
Running for around 30mins it is perfect for its audience. Based on a must read book my son was glued to it and loves it still now after having watched it many times.
A truly fascinating short film with fantastic animation and voices. A pleasure for any child i'm sure!
After watching the Gruffalo over Christmas I decided to pre order my copy of the dvd via amazon (it cost a lot more than the current price of £6.99) I am now a HUGE fan of the gruffalo. it is such a lovely children's story, so imaginative and this dvd really does do the book justice. It really has brought the characters to life.
For those of you not fimiliar with the story book.........It is about a mouse that goes on a journey through the deep dark wood. Ultimately he is after finding some nuts to eat and he sees a big nut tree in the distance and decides to head there.......but on the way he comes accross three characters - the fox, the owl and the snake. Each one would love to eat the mouse but the mouse is far too clever for that so he tells each one the he can't stop as he is meeting a 'gruffalo'. As far as the mouse is concerned he has made the 'gruffalo' up but in fact the gruffalo is real and as he stumbles in to him he has to use his own wits again in order to survive (i won't tell you anymore as it would spoil it for you!)
The animation of this dvd is the best I have ever seen and it is totally true word for word to the story book. It also has a fabulous cast and each one plays the character perfectly. The story is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. The snake is Rob Brydon. The gruffalo is Robbie Coltrane. The owl is John Hurt. The sly fox is Tom Wilkinson and finally the mouse is James Corden. Each one fits the bill perfectly. It is definatley a firm favourite in my house - even my one year old twins are captivated. The music that runs throughout is also astounding . The dvd has extras and shows how the animation was done - this extra bit is arund 15 minutes long and is well worth watching - It is such clever animation and shows an in depth into how much work goes in to such a great product. It also shows each 'character' recording their voice overs.
I would thoroughly recommend this dvd (and the book) to children and adults alike. I love it more every time I watch it.
Perhaps they will do the sequel 'the gruffalos child' but I actually hope they don't as I can't see it beating this!
The dvd is approx. 25 minutes (which is a fantastic length so children don't lose concentration) plus the extra footage if you choose to view that aswell.
Please buy this dvd - it's fantastic and hopefully will become a classic.
I feel that it is a real shame that the DVD isn't as good as the book but to be fair it didn't really stand a chance, nothing can top the voices you have in your head for the characters. I watched this with my son and he felt, at the age of three, that it wasn't as good as the book. He said that the voices were all wrong, I've been reading this book to him for a couple of years now and it's one of his favourites. There is also more dialogue and narration in the film that wasn't in the book, so they expand on the story, not really in a bad way but as a fan of the book it was a bit of a disappointment. I have talked my son into watching it a couple of times and he will sit and watch it if it's on but he will never ask to watch it, he doesn't hesitate to ask for other DVDs. It would have been better value to rent it or borrowed it as it's currently gathering dust.
This BBC adaptation of the now famous story wrote by Julia Donaldson is wonderfull. The story itself is brilliant but the way this DVD has been made fully matches the story and is gripping to watch.
The DVD contains voice overs of many famous British actors. James Corden (my favourite Gavin and Stacey Character 'smithy' plays the part of the mouse. His fellow colleague Rob Byrdon plays the part of the snake. Other voice overs are done by Tom Wilkinson and Robbie Coltrane. The wonderful narrator is Helena Bonham. Helena narrates this short DVD very well. Her soothing voice is great for young children.
The story is based on a mouse who travellers through his land looking for nuts, he comes across a fox, a Snake and an owl, who all in turn try to convince the little mouse to join them to lunch... The clever mouse avoids "lunch" knowing that he is in fact lunch with a clever story which later comes round to bite him on the bum. Eventually he gets himself out of the tricky situation. The story rhymes throughout adding that extra fun factor for adults and children.
The DVD itself was first aired on BBC at Christmas time and was later released as a DVD, it lasts about 30 mins. Obviously as the story is quite short the DVD is drawn out but I think this adds to the effect of the story and makes it a great soothing film for your children.
The DVD can be purchased from Amazon and Play.com for around 5-6 pounds.
A great addition to your DVD case.. try the book too. Even adults will love it
The Gruffalo is a Children's book by Julia Donaldson, first published in 1999, and I think it's fair to say has already achieved the 'classic' status. I first read the book when I was really far too old, I have no children or younger brothers and sisters either so I can't use those as an excuse. Though I'm not really sure I need an excuse as the characters, pictures and beautiful rhyme in which it's written can bring a smile to all ages.
I first saw the animated TV adaptation when it aired on the BBC on Christmas Day 2009. I have since purchased the DVD so I can enjoy it whenever I like. For lovers of the book, The Gruffalo has not been messed around with, it has kept all the charm of the book, and is just the same really except it's been read to you.
For those of you not familiar with The Gruffalo, I'll summarise the story. It tells of a little mouses journey through the woods, on which he meets an owl, a fox and a snake, who are all intent of having him for supper. Until the little mouse tells them that he is going to meet a fearsome Gruffalo. The mouse of course knows there is no such thing as a Gruffalo...or is there?
Reading up on the Gruffalo, it's apparently based on a Chinese folk tale of a fox, and the 'Gruffalo' character would have been a tiger, but the author was unable to find rhymes for tiger so changed the creature to one who's name ended in o.
The animated adaptation has an all star cast, headed by James 'Smithy' Corden as the mouse. For those familiar with Gavin and Stacey, at first you can't help but just hear Smithy as Mr. Corden has a rather distinctive voice, however after a few minutes, the film is so good that you accept that this is in fact the voice of a mouse and forget about Smithy altogether. Other star voices include Rob Brydon (keeping the theme going), Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane. All perfectly cast and providing excellent voices.
Whether you are 6 or 26 I thoroughly recommend The Gruffalo to all.
I watched the Gruffalo the other day having been told it was very good fun and one that most certainly my kids will enjoy with me soon. It was released on DVD last year and is an animation which is based on the book by the same name. I had heard of the book before and seen it about but had never read it myself.
The story of the Gruffalo focuses on a young mouse. He decides one day that he will venture into the forest in search of nuts for himself. However, the journy is far from smooth and was never going to be probably. On route he comes across many varied predators that are dangerous to his survival. These predators that threaten his journey include a fox and an owl and also a snake. The thing with this mouse is that he can tell a good story and each time it looks like he will meet his maker at the hands of one of these enemies he tells the story that he is waiting for his friend the Gruffalo who he will be meeting. He describes this Gruffalo every time as having fearsome tusks and claws and also terrible teeth and jaws.
The mouse is certainly one for telling a good yarn and he leaves nothing to the imagination in this stories and lets his mind run wild with each story. Gradually the description of the Gruffalo gets bigger and better and more elaborate. Of course, with every story the Gruffalo's favourite food contains the specific predator all the time. The twist in the story if you will is that you can imagine this little mouse's surprise when he runs into the Gruffalo he has been making up in the forest! The quest is can the mouse outwit the actual creature himself he has been describing?
For me, I really enjoyed this animation and thought it was very funny and witty throughout. The mouse was a great little character and interesting to see how he got out of hazardous situations. Then when he meets the Gruffalo we wonder whether he has finally met his match!
This animation is about 25 minutes long and features Robbie Coltrane as the voice of the legendary Gruffalo, James Cordon as the mouse and a host of other celebrities for other parts.
It is great fun and worth picking up a copy as it's very entertaining for children and adults alike.
As I'm sure many people did, we sat down and watched this as a family on a Christmas Day that was rather disappointing in terms of TV magic. It takes Julia Donaldson's wonderful tale and adapts it for TV brilliantly, incorporating some famous voices and a relaxed and patient attitude with the storytelling.
The story features Mother Squirrel, voiced by Helena Bonham Carter, who tells the tale of the Gruffalo to her two young children. Mouse (voiced by James Corden) goes for a walk in the woods one day, and come across a variety of other animals who want to gobble him up on the spot. However, he uses his quick thinking to create a scary creature (the Gruffalo) who is he going to meet. He manages to dissuade an owl (John Hurt), a snake (Rob Brydon) and a Fox (Tom Wilkinson) and is very happy with his creation. However, perhaps the Gruffalo isn't quite as fictional as he thinks!
The thing I like the most about this is the storytelling. Donaldson has the ability to be incredibly imaginative and present her tales as soft rhymes without making it seem forced. The tale is a riveting one, and we were all entranced by the animation on screen, too. She often uses Axel Scheffler to illustrate her books, and I was curious as to how it would work on screen. They seem to have used CGI affected models of characters and backdrops, and it works marvellously. The colours are vibrant and enticing, and the facial expressions of the various characters are all taken into account as well. Scheffler's artwork is becoming instantly recognisable, and he has penned much of Donaldson's work, and it comes to life on screen very well indeed.
It's the patience which wins out on this one, and the fact that, despite it only being half an hour long, none of it seems rushed at all. You'll find it appeals to quite a range of ages as well, as both my wife and I enjoyed it, as did her parents and our then 5 year old son. I find this sort of story quite magical, and it's really interesting to see the buildup as we catch glimpses of the parts of the Gruffalo the mouse describes to each of his would be attackers.
The tension does mount a little bit towards the end, when the Gruffalo actually makes an appearance. However, the scare factor is reduced to nothing by a period of silence and almost comedy when the mouse realises there is truth in what he has created. The occasional blinking and the seemingly laid back attitude of all creatures involved is wonderful to watch, and I think they've captured the pace of the book just right in this adaptation.
It's only a matter of time before more of Donaldson's work gets the same treatment. This is out on DVD just before Easter, and would make a lovely present. I fully intend to make sure we have it on our shelves at some point. Recommended!
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS ALSO FEATURED ON CIAO, UNDER MY USERNAME "MONSOONBABY88".
TV always seems to play a big part in the planning of Christmas Day in my family. We check the TV schedules and pick out what we think we'll be watching late Christmas afternoon, sleepy and defeated by our huge Christmas dinners. Christmas 2009 sadly was a bit of a disappointment on the TV front, apart from a few standout programmes, most of it could be missed. Luckily, The Gruffalo was one I am glad we managed to watch on Christmas Day.
The Gruffalo is based on a children's book of the same name by author Julia Donaldson. The story is pretty simple. The protaganist is a small mouse (voiced by Gavin & Stacey star James Corden) who uses his ability to be cunning to avade danger whilst he is going for a walk in the forest. On his way in the forest, the mouse encounters animals that are a threat to him in the form of an owl (voiced by John Hurt), a snake (Rob Brydon) and a fox (Tom Wilkenson), who all try to invite him to their house for a meal. The mouse declines each invitation, knowing that he will indeed end up being the main course. To deter them from pursuing with the invitation further, the mouse invents a story of a monster called "The Gruffalo" (Robbie Coltrane), whose favourite food happens to be the animal in which he was currently speaking to. The animals soon flee when they realise they do not want to be eaten by such a monster, and so each time the mouse happily carries on his journey, whilst chuckling to himself.
Eventually though, the mouse finds his story comes true when he bumps into a real life Gruffalo in the forest. The Gruffalo clearly wants to eat the mouse, but once again the mouse shows his cunning abilities, and kids the Gruffalo into believing that every animal in the forest is scared of the mouse. The mouse must prove to The Gruffalo that the animals that would normally try to eat him are scared of him, and at the same time, convince The Gruffalo not to make him his dinner.
A random fact about the story from Wikipedia: The story is based on a traditional Chinese folk tale of a fox that borrows the terror of a tiger. Donaldson was unable to think of rhymes for "tiger" so invented one for "know" instead.
The Gruffalo is an excellent children's story and this film really conveyed that. The film version introduces a narrator in the form of Mother Squirrel (Helana Bonham Carter) who is telling the story to her two children, and the scenes with the Squirrels are actually quite endearing.
The film adaptation runs at a rather short 30mins, but the timing is just the right length for the story. Whilst I admit I found the animation style a little hard to get used to at the beginning, soon enough you'll find it suits the film perfectly. The animation looks like it has been made with the use of plasticine or clay, but CGI has been adding on top to give it the final touch. The colours are vibrant and cheerful and really makes it feel quite a delight on the eyes to be watching this. The voice acting is great, with many big name stars lending their voices to the characters. This is a very faithful adaptation of the original children's book as the story has not been changed, we are still able to follow the mouse's journey through the forest. The dialogue is lifted from the book too, and only a few lines here and there have been made exclusively for the film.
For Christmas Day viewing, this film was a real treat. Me and my family found it quite funny in places, and in others you can't help but smile. The Gruffalo is a light-hearted film where you will be finding yourself rooting for the mouse the whole way through. Children will love it, and adults will be chuckling along too. It is a film the whole family will enjoy, and of course fans of the book will probably appreciate it that little bit more.
On Christmas Day, there was one thing on TV I simply had to watch - the animated TV version of The Gruffalo, one of my absolute favourite childrens books, written by Julia Donaldson .
The Gruffalo tells the story of a mouse who decides to take a stroll in the woods and look for some nuts to eat . The woods are a scary place for a mouse, filled with predators that want the mouse for lunch - owls, foxes, and snakes .
Normally,a mouse would be no match for these creatures, but this is no ordinary mouse - as he encounters each creature, he spins a fantastic tale about his friend, the Gruffalo, who he plans to meet. He tells of the creatures scary appearance, and finishes by informing the animals that they happen to be his favourite food. As he walks safely off, he chuckles at the foolish animals - after all there is no such thing as the Gruffalo .
Eventually, the animals realise they've been hoodwinked, and decide to wait for the mouses walk back through the forest, determined that this time, they'll gobble him up. The mouse, blissfully unaware, carries on looking for food - only to end up gazing into the eyes of the Gruffalo, the creature he created, and to be informed that mouse on toast is the Gruffalos favourite food . Can the mouse blag his way out of this one? And even if he does, how is he going to escape all the other animals waiting to make a meal out of him ?
Th animation of this is stunning - colourful and bright, and certainly very appealing to children and adults alike. For those who have read the book, there is a lot of similarity in the between the books illustrations and the animation, which I think is excellent as it keeps it familiar for the children . The rhyming story is narrated by Helena Bonham Carter, who does a wonderful job, getting the rhythm and the pacing just right, and pronouncing the words clearly. Other voices in the animation were provided by well known actors too - James Cordon plays the mouse, whilst Rob Brydon is the snake.
This is only a fairly short animation, less than half an hour long - but I don't think anything longer was needed for such a simple,yet brilliant story . I found it the perfect length, long enough to get the story told properly, not so long that my daughter (or I) got bored by it.. We both very much enjoyed it - even my dad, a grumpy old sod at the best of times, chuckled at the mouses descriptions of this fearsome creature . And it is a very clever story, with the mouse overcoming every danger simply be being very clever and keeping his wits about him .
I highly recommend this , for girls, boys, and parents alike . It's a fantastic story coupled with stunning colourful animation and some excellent voice casting . It is available for pre-order on amazon.co.uk for just £6.48, with an estimated release date of 22nd of March 2010 .
5 stars - simply fantastic.