Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Penelope

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
7 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Christina Ricci as Penelope
James McAvoy as Max
Catherine O'Hara as Jessica Wilhern
Reese Witherspoon as Annie
Peter Dinklage as Lemon
Richard E. Grant as Franklin Wilhern
Simon Woods as Edward Humphrey Vanderman III
Ronni Ancona as Wanda

Special Features:
The Making of a Modern-Day Tale
"Twilight" Sneak Peek

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1) and Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 90 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official synopsis of the film:

"Christina Ricci ('Speed Racer') stars as Penelope, a lonely heiress who has spent her entire life trying to break a strange family curse that left her with the nose of a pig. When she meets a charming aristocrat (James McAvoy, 'Wanted') who seems to see beyond her physical appearance, Penelope begins to learn that loving herself is more important than breaking the curse. Also starring Reese Witherspoon ('Legally Blonde') and Catherine O'Hara ('Best in Show'), 'Penelope' is a delightful modern-day fairy tale for the entire family."

"Penelope" is rated PG for thematic elements, some innuendo, and language.

Mini-Review:
"Penelope" is one of those pleasant little surprises that sneak up every once in a while. It's a movie I never would have gone out of my way to see, but when I finally did see it, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Despite a general lack of publicity, it could potentially become a cult favorite on DVD.

"Penelope" is a fairy tale told in a modern setting, much in the spirit of "Edward Scissorhands," "Enchanted," or "Big Fish." We're introduced to our heroine who, thanks to an old family curse, was born with a pig nose. The only way she can break the curse is to marry a blue blood despite her disturbing appearance. Unfortunately, most of her suitors end up jumping out the window as her mother lines up another victim…er, bachelor. It's an amusing twist on "Beauty and the Beast" or "Cyrano de Bergerac." The story ends up having a great message for young girls or anyone that feels uncomfortable with their looks. And it's nice, for a change, to have the damsel in distress rescued by someone other than Prince Charming.

The cast of this film is perfect and filled with some of my favorite actors and actresses. Leading them is Christina Ricci as Penelope. She's charming, funny, and beautiful…even with a snout. It's easy to fall in love with her and cheer for her as she breaks out of her confinement. Rising star James McAvoy is also impressive as Max. He ditches his thick Scottish accent for a rather convincing American accent. He's a charming rogue that, despite all his obvious flaws, is also easy to root for. Rounding out the cast is the hilarious Catherine O'Hara as Jessica Wilhern, Penelope's frantic mother, producer Reese Witherspoon as Annie, Peter Dinklage as Lemon, and "Shaun of the Dead's" Nick Frost in a cameo role.

If you're looking for a light comedy that is entertaining both for the young and old, you'll enjoy "Penelope." My whole family sat down and watched it and fell in love with it. Fans of Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, and Catherine O'Hara will also want to add this DVD to their collections.

This DVD is rather light on the bonus features. All you'll find is a brief "making of" featurette. But more noteworthy for many viewers will be the first look at "Twilight," a new teen vampire flick based on the insanely popular novels. Considering the following of these books, this featurette alone may make "Penelope" worth picking up for many fans. You see some interviews and a short scene from the film.

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