Come Away review – an indigestible lump of kid-lit stodge | Film

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The second word in the title should perhaps be replaced with “off it”. Or maybe replace the first word with “go”. This is a muddled, leaden fantasy adventure for Christmas which feels as if someone put all the Quality Streets in a saucepan and melted them together, with the wrappers still on. It’s an indigestible lump of star turns, superstar cameos and references to classic children’s literature: namely JM Barrie’s Peter Pan and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with maybe a bit of Dickens on the side.

The movie sort-of creates an alternative-reality “origin myth” for Peter Pan and Alice Liddell, imagining them as siblings, stricken with grief when a third sibling dies. And yet, bafflingly, the plot as it pans out doesn’t mesh with the well-established fictional stories of Peter and Alice, and neither with the real-world situations of how the authors came to create their legendary characters. David Oyelowo and Angelina Jolie play Jack and Rose, a Victorian married couple with three children who are supposed to live in shabby genteel poverty in the countryside, subsisting on Jack’s quaint woodworking skills (they have what appears to be a spectacular Elizabethan manor house). Mean Aunt Eleanor (Anna Chancellor) is always telling the little girl to be a lady.

Then a tragedy occurs, a drowning connected to some great imaginings about a made-up pirate ship. Devastated Jack goes into London, supposedly on business but really to abandon himself in despair to his gambling vice, and it is in this teeming CGI London that we are to encounter Michael Caine, Clarke Peters, Derek Jacobi and others. But the children go there as well and have adventures that are quite as far-fetched as their supposed fantasy, yet somehow just as dull.

• Come Away is in cinemas from 18 December.

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Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Come Away review – an indigestible lump of kid-lit stodge | Film

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