Thursday, September 29, 2011

Movie Review: The Secret of Moonacre

The cover made me think that this was a rip-off of The Chronicles of Narnia, since it featured a fantasy-type white lion. (It wasn't really.) The movie is based on the book The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Gouge and which Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling has acknowledged as her favorite children's book.[1] The star is the same little girl who appeared in The Golden Compass, during which I fell asleep. The setting was supposed to be the 1840s, but I felt like it was the 2000s only with historical costumes. The basic storyline is that of a young orphan caught up in the drama of her extended family—with some fantasy elements.

My verdict: The beginning of the film seemed rushed. They could've taken a little longer to show Maria's grief over the death of her father. And the flatulence of the governess throughout the film was completely unnecessary. The first Moon Princess, Loveday, who originally casts the curse, eventually turns out to be a simpering, silly, spineless person. I was at a loss why the filmmakers (or perhaps the author is to be blamed) would think that this character merited the blessing of the Moon. And the little girl is frequently disobedient.[2] This wasn't a terrible film, it just wasn't a very good one, either.


[1] See (scroll down).

[2] Children are always disobedient in movies and rightly so. I mean this in two ways. First,  children's film scripts are written so that disobedient children always turn out to be right and their actions fix things rather than making them worse. Second, adults in most children's movies are usually idiots and the children are not, so they should be disobedient. However, I don't think most children are actually perceptive enough to distinguish between an adult who is an idiot and an adult who wisely sets rules that the child dislikes, but which are good for him or her.


  1. I saw this on T.V. recently. I recall three moonprincesses: 1) the original curse-giver, 2) the penultimate, who ran off to live in the woods, and 3) the final curse-breaker. I honestly didn't know what to make of the movie. I felt it lacked several significant elements and was resolved far too easily.

  2. You are right. I incorrectly arrived at that conclusion by dividing 5000 by 365, which yields 13.7 (roughly the little girl's age). This assumed that each moonrise was one of the 5000 moons. But in the movie they divide 5000 by 13, which yields 384 years. This is based on the number of full moons per year (roughly). There is also a line where someone tells the little girl that a certain painting shows up in the manor whenever a new Moon Princess arrives—implying that there have been many, all failures.