This adaptation of a quaint, old-fashioned children’s tale is far too twee for older kids but appealing enough for the ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ brigade. Set during WWI, it spins a moralistic yarn about a family of kids who chance upon a leathery, bewhiskered creature on their uncle’s local beach. This 8,000-year-old ‘Sand Fairy’, it transpires, can grant wishes – at a rate of one a day. Of course, the kids have a field day, wishing for pots of gold and summoning dinosaurs. Eventually, however, they grasp the nettle of responsibility and wish for something a little more pertinent, like the safe return of their missing fighter-pilot father. John Stephenson’s low-key film is akin to a Children’s Film Unit production, with marginally better special effects. The cast, too, merely shuffle through their parts. Thank heavens, then, for Eddie Izzard’s hilariously subversive voiceover. Fair to middling fun for under-fives.
Friday October 22 2004
Cast and crew
Kenneth Branagh Zoë Wanamaker Freddie Highmore Tara Fitzgerald Norman Wisdom Jonathan Bailey