Friday, March 27, 2009

The Man Who Walked between the Towers DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: DVD Features Animated Account of the Daring Exploits of Philippe Petit

On the morning of August 7, 1974, a street performer named Philippe Petit sucked the collective breaths out of the world’s stomach when he performed a death-defying, high-wire act between the roofs of the Twin Towers. The daring achievement was almost as impressive as the construction of the magnificent World Trade Center itself, given that because it was not only illegal, but had to be pulled off in absolutely secrecy.
Earlier this year, Man on Wire, a riveting biopic revisiting the events surrounding Philippe historic walk, won the Academy Award in the Best Documentary category. Now, an animated version of his story has arrived on DVD, narrated by actor Jake Gyllenhaal. Designed with grade school students in mind, this kid-friendly cartoon eliminates the dangerous aspects of the accurate account in favor of spinning a magical escapist fantasy unconcerned with factual accuracy.
Based on the Andrew Carnegie Medal-winning children best seller of the same name by Mordicai Gerstein, Petit’s feat has been distilled down to its essential elements most likely to capture the imagination of the tykes for whom it is intended. Besides, his inspiring flight of fancy, the DVD includes equally-beautifully illustrated adaptations of three other tales.These include Snowflake Butterfly by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Miss Ruphius by Barbara Cooney and The Pot That Juan Built by Nancy Andrews-Goebel, featuring distinctive voiceovers by thespians Sean Astin, Claire Danes and Alfred Molina, respectively.
An exhilarating animated adventure offering an enlightening peek inside the mind of an extraordinary individual.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 72 minutes
Studio: Scholastic Video Collection
DVD Extrras: 2 bonus stories, a read along, and more.

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