Will we ever get a good adaptation of The Secret Garden, the classic early 20th Century children’s story by Frances Hodgson Burnett? The 1993 film definitely missed the mark by about a mile, stripping the story of any sense of whimsy: but it came closer to the spirit of the original novel than this new film, which appears (at least from the first trailer) to be heavy on whimsical CGI, and light on charm.
Somehow, the filmmakers behind this upcoming family-movie have decided that the secret garden itself is an endlessly unfolding Mary Poppins purse of adventure, a seemingly limitless wardrobe to Narnia, or a portal to some Hogwarts-esque theme-park filled with ruined temples, jungle fauna, literal magic…basically, Mary Poppins, Narnia and Harry Potter entangled in some boring rip-off of all three that manages to be both offensive to the source material and thoroughly uninteresting as a movie in its own right.
The trailer does showcase Colin Firth and Julie Walters, thankfully, because they’re basically the only things going for this film – which comes from David Heyman, the producer of Harry Potter (coincidence? I think not – no, really, I think not) and Paddington – and future producer of an adaptation based on a story very dear to my childhood heart, the Warriors Cats series from British author(s) Erin Hunter. This trailer honestly fills me with dread at what Heyman will want to do to that tale: fill it with CGI cats living in a magical jungle? Perhaps throw some fairies into the mix while he’s at it?
And what on earth is this horrendous block-letter title-font? It looks like something straight out of Jumanji, or the recent logo for Dora And The Lost City Of Gold. The thought that anyone could take a simple story about two kids playing in a garden and turn it into what looks like a high-stakes adventure movie with special effects wizardry is truly discouraging.
But tell me what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Trailer Rating: 2/10