April 16, 2009


Thank you for sending me an angel (Rachel Cooke, 16 April 2009, New Statesman)

When you’re a child, you can creep into books and hide there. When you’re an adult, your shopping list keeps inviting itself in – or the row you had with that woman on the bus. This is why I loved Skellig (19 April, 3.55pm), adapted from the children’s novel by David Almond. It wasn’t exactly that I got wholly lost in it, but it did remind me very strongly of what it feels like when that happens. So, I can only assume that, for any child, it must have been bliss.

It was so beautifully done. Skellig, a strange, ossified man with wings whom a little boy called Michael finds in a derelict shed, is an angel, although this is never actually spelled out. He can fly and perform miracles. Making this kind of stuff work in a child’s head is relatively easy if you are a good writer, and Almond is a very good writer. But making it work on screen is bloody difficult unless you’ve an awful lot of cash to splash: creaky CGI, and your audience will just titter (the awfulness of a distant BBC production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe haunts me still; Aslan looked like he’d walked straight out of the Hamleys soft toy department).

Happily, Sky is investing heavily in original drama for its high-definition channel, so Skellig’s wings were a marvel – not attached, so much as grown. The scene in which Michael and his friend Mina washed his mangy old feathers with soapy water was so vividly real, that when he finally flew, something good happened to the pit of your stomach: mine flipped over.

It's up at The Box

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2009 7:35 AM
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