"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived 12 little girls in two straight lines...the smallest one was Madeline." That is how the stories all begin, and this movie was no exception. In a time when our children are bombarded with dark animation, club music and comrade-speak on television, it is refreshing to have this charming tale as an alternative.
When a man claiming to be Madeline's long-lost uncle from Vienna unexpectedly arrives at her school to claim her, a sad group of girls bids her a tearful farewell. 'Uncle' Horst says he is taking her to a more suitable school in Vienna, but he is really an imposter carrying out a sinister plot to force her to work in a child sweatshop making lace. Of course, he plans to collect her monthly inheritance check as well.
Madeline, who always says "Pooh-pooh!" to the lion in the zoo, summoned her brains and bravery to foil the plot and save herself and the other children from their captors. Her school friends and their neighbor, Pepito, lend their assistance to the success of the escape. After the escape, Madeline uses her reward money to fund a school for the orphans she helped to save from the lace factory.
Though there is a darkness to the kidnapping and slave labor plot, it is not dark and scary like many a Disney movie I have endured. There must always be a villain and an obstacle to overcome, and this one was aptly G rated, in my opinion.
The best parts of this movie lie in the bravery shown by Madeline in the face of adversity, the steadfastness of the friends in helping her to escape, and her giving heart in using her own money to ensure that the other orphans had a permanent home. It shows that family comes in many forms, and that family relationships and close friendships are to be cherished.
I enjoyed watching the movie, as I have always enjoyed the Madeline short videos and the books. I had not seen this movie yet, however, and it did not disappoint. We have a Madeline in our family, so we are familiar with most of the stories. . Amilia loves it and has now watched it about six times. She knows the songs and sings along.
Screen legends Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) and Lauren Bacall(The Big Sleep) lend their voices in this animated feature, and Jason Alexander is the voice of the plotting uncle Horst. The movie features five "fantastique" new songs and runs 75 minutes in length. In stores April 13, 2010 from Shout! Factory. Retails for $14.99. You can pre-order now if you wish at Barnes and Noble.com.
I received a copy of this movie
for purposes of this review. The
opinions expressed are my own
and are not influenced by receipt
of the movie.