‘Agatha. This is Magnus. Give my bumblebee her house and her money. Then get out of town. If you don’t, I will get you. I will get you like you got me. That is a promise.’ (Matilda Quote)
‘DeVito. This is Rebecca. Give my fav Dahl book a good movie with a good cast. Stay true to the book. If you don’t, I will write terrible things about you. I will get you like you got (but obviously didn’t get) this book. That is a promise.’ (Imagine the creepy chant of little children).
In case you’re starting to wonder if I’ve gone psycho on all of you- don’t worry! As you can see, I just tweaked that famous line a little. If only I had telekinesis for effect! Luckily for DeVito, who directed Matilda in 1996, the movie was everything that it should have been.
I was especially impressed with Mara Wilson, who played Matilda in the movie. That kid was a real treat. She seems to have become a part of the dusty catalogue of child-stars who fade into insignificance. But like Simon said on American Idol: “It’s like a mouse taking on an elephant.” Babies shouldn’t be trying to make it in Hollywood; it’s a tough world out there. Anyway, she made a fabulous Matilda. The end.
The cast for this movie was perfect. There was an inversion with her parents that I found quite hysterical. In the book the mom is short and fat and the dad is tall and thin. In the movie, well, DeVito plays the dad so he’s the short and tubby one and the mom is tall and thin.
Let’s not forget darling Miss Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris (a fierce name for a fierce gal). A principal to be feared, this character has it all. Her vindictive nature has real punch and if you don’t toe the line: off to the chokey. You can’t help but love Dahl, there is always some cruel comic twist and he tells the truth, no scales, nothing. Life’s hard; he doesn’t spare you because you’re too young. But he does provide you with decent escapism to help you through! Again, the casting for this character was fan-Dan-tastic!
I must mention Miss Honey, played by Embeth Davidz. I have subsequently seen this actress in some other films (Bridget Jones’ Diary) and that soft, gentle look she has is a real act. She made a great Miss Honey, however, and so we’ll forget the other characters she has played subsequently- for now.
I’m still amazed by this movie. It was exactly like the book and that’s what made it perfect. Careful thought, and consideration went into this project and Danny DeVito deserves a standing ovation (it’s not like he won a Grammy for it). Thanks to him, my favourite childhood book was made into a really good film; leaving me with no criticisms for it.