Monday, May 4, 2009

Movie Review: Animal Farm (1954 Edition)

Animal Farm
Unrated
3 Slimes
Copyright Halas and Batchelor 1954

THE CHARACTERS

Napoleon: He is the representation of Joseph Stalin. He is one of the pig leaders that helped run Animal Farm. The problem is that he throws out Snowball with his dogs, makes the animals live in their own personal heck that is somehow even worse than Jones’ rule, and becomes the ruler of Animal Farm. He is overthrown and killed by the animals after deciding to overthrow his government.

Squealer: He is the representation of propaganda made by the dictatorial government. He is basically Napoleon’s crony who does whatever he says and will do anything to promote his image. He is mostly like killed by the animals in the end of the film.

Snowball: He is the representation of Leon Trotsky. He is one of the pig leaders that helped run Animal Farm. He does a very good job of it as well too, without any corruption in him. Problem is that Napoleon runs him out with his dogs. He is never seen again once he escapes from the farm.

Benjamin the Donkey: He is the representation of the older generation of Russia. He is an older animal who is good friends with Boxer. He is quite intelligent, but doesn’t let it on that he is smart for his own reasons. At the end of the movie, he leads the resistance against the pigs after he finds out about their plans.

Boxer: He is a representation of Russia’s working class. He is good friends with Benjamin and is a huge inspiration to all of the animals since he is such a hard worker. He is injured in the battle of the windmill and is sold off to the glue factory by Napoleon when he is no longer able to work.

Dogs: They are the representation of KGB. They were puppies that Napoleon raised up to be his own personal bodyguards that would do anything he said. They are unable to protect Napoleon in the end of the film when they end up getting drunk.

Old Major: He is the representation of Karl Marx. He is a large pig that gives every animal the inspiration to revolt against Mr. Jones. After he makes his speech, he promptly dies, which is most likely due to a heart attack considering his size.

Mr. Jones: He is the representation of Tsar Nicholas II. He is a farmer who turned to drinking when his farm went south and he treats his animals extremely poorly. They eventually have enough of this loser and run him out of his farm. He might have been killed when he blew up the windmill.

LESSONS LEARNED
+ Animals will lead revolutions against their own farms and pigs will be their leaders!
+ Pigs can design windmills.
+ Pigs have fangs.
+ Over 25 farm animals can fit inside a single shed.
+ Animals are very good at forming their own militia and making strategies.
+ Dogs can drive cars.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR
13 min – Whoa! Vampire pigs and red eyed animals!
24 min – That’s pretty sick if you think about it.
26 min – Greedy pigs… guess that isn’t much of an insult since they are pigs.
36 min – Well… that wasn’t very pleasant…
42 min – Pigs sure love their jam.
54 min – It’s Day of the Animals, but only 22 years earlier!
62 min – Must not cry…
69 min – RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A STONE WALL!

NOTABLE QUOTES
Laws of Animal Farm: No animal shall drink alcohol. No animal shall sleep in a bed. Four legs good, two legs bad. No animal shall kill another animal. All animals are equal.

Later Rule: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

THE PLOT

It is not often that I get around to reviewing a movie that actually has deep meaning behind it. It is sometimes good for me to watch a more serious film every now and then, even if it is an animated movie. The movie is an adaption of the popular book, Animal Farm which is a representation of events that led up to and what happens during the reign of Stalin, but it’s done with animals instead. That’s a whole another area for someone else to talk about, because it would take too much time for me to explain every little detail and allusion of the story, so I’ll just bring up the most important things as the story goes on. Without further ado, I’ll now jump into the movie.

The movie begins with us coming to Mr. Jones’ farm that has seen better days. Mr. Jones is a heavy drinker and he treats his animal extremely poorly. One of the pigs, Old Major, calls everyone into the barn to have a talk with them. We are also introduced to the characters, Snowball, Napoleon, Boxer, and Benjamin, who will be important later on. Old Major speaks about their poor condition and that they do not get anything from all their hard work on the farm. He tells them revolt against Mr. Jones and take the farm for themselves, since it is because of their work that the farm manages to stay afloat. Before he passes away, he warns them not to adopt Jones’ vices, to treat all animals equally, and sings their new anthem, Beasts of England.

The next day, they decide to revolt after Mr. Jones does not feed them. They manage to make him flee the farm and even hold back the people he gets to retake the farm later. They reclaim the place as their own, calling it Animal Farm and destroying every symbol of their oppression that Mr. Jones used on them, like butcher knives and whips. While this is happening, Napoleon decides to take in the puppies of Jones’ dog, who was killed while defending the farm.

Snowball then sets up the rules for the farm that everyone should live by and they all agree to it. The rules are that no animal is to sleep in a bed; no animal is to drink alcohol; four legs good, two legs bad; no animal shall kill another animal; and all animals are equal. They also get a hang of running the farm for themselves without human interference. Things look very good for them, they spread their ideology to other farms, teach other animals to read and write, and Snowball even draws up plans for a windmill to supply the farm with energy.

However, Napoleon sends his dogs after him one day and they chase him out of the farm. I’m not sure if he is killed or not, but Snowball is never seen again. This would be similar to what happened in Russia when Trotsky was exiled. There’s more to it, but you’ll have to do the research on it. This is a movie review, not a school lesson.

Napoleon takes over the farm, declares Snowball is a traitor, and even steals his plan for the windmill. That jerk (Which is an understatement as the movie goes on)! Anyways, he starts to make all the decisions for the farm that mostly benefits him and the pigs, like shortening the rations for everyone, but increasing the food for himself and his kind.

Boxer and Benjamin then make a discovery one night that the pigs are sleeping in beds in Mr. Jones’ old house, which is against the rules that were set forth. However, someone mysteriously had added to the rule that “No Animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.” There is now also official trade with humans, which causes the chickens to revolt against this, since Squealer, Napoleon’s biggest supporter, told them they had to give up their eggs for trading.

The revolt is quieted quickly and Napoleon has the chickens brought before him, while the animals looking onward. He declares there are traitors among them, not just the chickens, and a couple of animals make fake confessions about being traitors. So, Napoleon has them killed by his dogs. This would be allusion of sorts to the Great Purge in Russia. Once again, I’ll not go into details. Anyways, the blood of the animals is use to edit the rule, “No Animal Shall Kill Another Animal Without Cause.”

Trade continues between the animals and humans, a couple of other farmers get jealous of this and decide to attack the farm. The animals manage to force back the humans again, but their windmill, which has been completed, is destroyed. Also, Boxer is injured and he eventually gets injured very badly during the work to rebuild the second windmill that stops him from doing anything. Then, Napoleon and Squealer sell Boxer to the glue factory for a box of whiskey since he cannot do anything else. With this turn of events, the animals realize that the pigs have betrayed them and everything they had fought for has faded away under Napoleon’s ruling.

Years pass on by and the animals’ farm have turned into basically a prison for them, while the pigs live lavishly and look and act more like humans. They dress in clothing and walk up right! Then, by Benjamin, it is learned that all their rules have taken away and replaced with the phrase, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” All the animals then come together and discover that the pigs are planning to make them work even harder, basically becoming slaves now. Under the leadership of Benjamin, they decide to overthrow the pigs, who are defenseless as the dogs are too drunk to help them. The movie then ends there as the animals move in on the pigs.

Now this is what I call an intelligent animated film. While it is criticized for having a different ending than the book, the ending still has a good message to it. The animation is nice for the 50s, giving a Disney feel and look to it. While not many people are voice acting in it, the voices are pretty good and give the correct feeling for each of the characters. The main problem with this film is the fact that it feels very rushed near the last 25 minutes. The movie is only an hour and 10 minutes and major plot points from the plot are rushed through in those minutes. It made me a bit disappointed. Either way, this is a great, but somehow forgotten, film that both kids and adults can enjoy.

5 comments:

  1. "Pigs have fangs."
    Tusks, my friend.
    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/blog/uploaded_images2008/ArchimedesGrin/ArchimedesTusks200801-7863w.jpg

    ReplyDelete
  2. In Reply to Laser Potato:

    I know pigs have tusks, but in the movie, these things were sharpen out to have fangs. The movie is up on YouTube so you can check.

    Anyways, thanks for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The tusks, or 'fangs' if you like, are razor sharp. As the boars rub their upper and lower jaws together they sharpen the tusks against their opposing teeth. Since they grow continuously they keep getting longer and curve around if they don't wear out through the sharpening, digging or break off in fights as sometimes happens. Don't wear shorts around strange boars. :}

    ReplyDelete
  4. What is your name? I'd like to cite your review.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete