Synopsis by Mark Deming
George Orwell's political fable about corruption and betrayal in post-revolutionary Russia gets a new look in this version that employs a cast of real animals alongside digitally manipulated critters and lifelike beasts crafted by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. At the Manor Farm, the alcoholic master Mr. Jones (Pete Postlethwaite) is cruel to his animals and has horribly mismanaged the property. One night, the wise but elderly pig Old Major (voice of Peter Ustinov) gathers the animals and speaks of a remarkable dream, in which the animals throw off their tyrannical human masters and learn to reap the fruits of their own labors. After Old Major's death, two other pigs, Snowball (voice of Kelsey Grammer) and Napoleon (voice of Patrick Stewart) lead a revolution that drives Jones from his land and leaves the animals in charge of their own destiny. After their revolt, Snowball and Napoleon rule side by side, but Napoleon soon becomes drunk with power and squeezes Snowball out of authority, eventually turning the other animals against him. With Boxer (voice of Paul Scofield), a simple-minded but loyal and physically powerful horse, as a role model, Napoleon leads the animals on a campaign of self-denial and hard work that will bring them security and freedom; however, it soon becomes obvious that Napoleon is growing fat while the other animals are starving, and he is quickly becoming the sort of creature he once waged war against. Animal Farm received its American premiere on the TNT cable TV network in October 1999; it opened as a theatrical release in several other countries shortly afterward.
farm-animals, revolution, power-struggle, animal, horse, pig, dog