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What's the story?
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS: A TALE OF TWO TOADS begins with Toad driving (and crashing) his boat, while drinking what is either wine or champagne. (Though this isn't emphasized, it does seem oddly placed in a movie for children, but remember that the original stories were written in a very different time.) After this brief introduction to Toad and his friends, the story shifts to a look-alike Toad who is in cahoots with the mean and nasty weasels. Together they plan to kidnap Toad and take his home, Toad Hall, for their own. The weasels kidnap Toad during the night by throwing a sack over his head and shoving him in the back of his car. Toad, Badger, Mole, and Rat work together to triumph over the weasels, and the quartet's strong friendship is the central theme of the story.
Is it any good?
Anyone looking for a respite from the droves of overproduced kid movies will find a breath of fresh air with The Wind in the Willows: A Tale of Two Toads. Most of the characters in this stop-motion animated movie speak intelligibly and politely, there are no references to contemporary pop culture, and there are no hip-hop/rap/rock-n-roll dance sequences. True to the story and characters created by Kenneth Grahame, the tale may seem a little quiet and slow when compared to the loud, raucous characters in many recent animated films, but its simplicity is no less engaging.
The kidnapping scene is a bit scary, as is a later scene in which the look-alike Toad, driving recklessly, nearly runs down a group of animal kids. The young ones are frightened and saddened, and there is some crying. Very minor negatives aside, this is, all in all, a fun romp through the English countryside. Good prevails over bad, and does so without being tasteless, sappy or maudlin.
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For kids who love animal stories
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