Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital and available in Steelbook from director Danny DeVito and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the 1996 magical story of MATILDA.
Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) is a six-year-old who lives in a home being basically neglected by used car salesman dad Harry (Danny DeVito) and mother Zinnia (Rhea Perlman), as well as older brother Michael (Brian Levinson). Matilda finds comfort in book which drives her parents to distraction and brings things to a boil with Harry.
When he sells a car to the principal of Crunchem Hall Elementary, the deal is made to put Matilda in school. Thrilled to be going, it isn’t until she hears the other kids talk about Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris) that Matilda sees she is even more tyrannical. Her abuse includes locking kids in ‘the chokey’ and physically abusing the kids.
One teacher that Matilda enjoys is the very lovely Miss Jennifer Honey (Embeth Davidtz) who realizes what Matilda is capable of. She tries to tell the girls parents about her potential but they ignore it. Matilda decides it is time for Trunchbull to get a bit of her own when a punishment doesn’t go the way the adult bully intended.
When Trunchbull realizes that Harry sold her a lemon, she locks Matilda in the chokey for her father’s crime. The girl also knows her father is being watched by the FBI. The principal and Matilda are not giving up and it takes a newt to get her home. Miss Honey sees what Matilda is going through and is kind to her as they have a tea together and she shares with Matilda her life story.
Matilda begins to understand the connection between Miss Honey and Trunchbull and wants to help. That’s when they decide to go retrieve things that belong to Miss Honey. Matilda also explains the strange powers that she has allowing her to make things happen. But now, Trunchbull is on a mission to wreak havoc and cause as much destruction as possible and Matilda is in her line of sight.
Wilson as Matilda was, and is still, the most perfect casting for the role. Wilson is endearing, charming, cute and underneath all the ruffles is a girl who knows exactly what life is about. She is dealing with parents that can not be trusted and a school that can not be trusted, who she does trust is the lovely Miss Honey. The magical part of Matilda is always for the benefit of others and that makes her an even lovelier kid who deserves the best, that’s what Wilson gives us.
Davidtz as Miss Honey totally gets Matilda because she also came from a place of people abusing her delicate trust. Finding a kindred spirit in Matilda, she gets the chance to set things right in her own life and perhaps even find happiness being a part of the young girl’s life. My granddaughter loves Miss Honey and even though she isn’t magical, it doesn’t change how much she adores this character.
DeVito as Harry is just a slick and totally unlikeable human being who sees nothing wrong with being mean to his own child. The problem is, he unlikability sometimes causes giggles! That’s DeVito for you and a remarkable performance. Perlman as wife Zinnia is verbally abusing to Matilda having no problem referring to her as ‘weird’ but never stopping her nail filing for a second. These two are amazing together as actors.
Let’s talk about Ferris as Trunchbull! What a performance and one that has us consistently cheering for Matilda. The abusiveness of this principal is very disturbing so when Matilda discovers ways of turning the table, we are all about it. Ferris is stunning and an iconic character that even today, everyone knows the name Trunchbull.
Other cast include Paul Rubens and Tracey Walter as Bob and Bill, Kiami Davael as Lavender, Jimmy Karz as Bruce Bogtrotter, Kira Hesser as Hortensia, Jacqueline Steiger as Amanda Thripp, Jean Howard as Mrs. Phelps, Marion Dugan as Cookie and Jon Lovitz as Mickey.
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Special Features include on 4K HD Commentary with Director Danny DeVito and Theatrical Trailer. On Bluray Disc the Features include Afternoon Tea” A Very Magical MATILDA Reunion, MATILDA’s Movie Magic, A Children’s Guide to Good Manners, Escape to the Library and My Movie About Making MATILDA by Mara Wilson.
MATILDA is based on a novel of the same name by the beloved children’s writer Roald Dahl. It was written into a screenplay by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord. Directed by Danny DeVito, he has double duty as he also narrates the story.
This film is so iconic that I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with my grandkids. I remember when it came out in the theatres in 1996, my kids wanted to see it again. Once it came out at Blockbuster (google it kids), we rented and re-rented it so many times we could have owned it. Eventually we did and that poor VHS (google it again kids) just became stretched out just as the kids became young adults.
Seeing it again, those same young adults are now sharing it with their children and still laughing at all the same things they once did. That’s what makes MATILDA so iconic, the memories it brings up today now in a format that we don’t have to worry about stretching out. We get to visit again and again the lovely girl with a magic that is not only special but a magic in her personality.
Get the family together and make it an outdoor movie night with the one and only MATILDA.
In the end – see the world from a kid’s eye magical view!