Revolting Rhymes (film)

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Revolting Rhymes
Based onRevolting Rhymes
by Roald Dahl
Directed byJakob Schuh
Jan Lachauer
Theme music composerBen Locket
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes2
Producer(s)Martin Pope
Michael Rose
Running time56 minutes
Production company(s)Magic Light Pictures Triggerfish Animation Studios
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release26 December (2016-12-26) –
27 December 2016 (2016-12-27)

Revolting Rhymes is a 2016 British-German computer animated TV film based on the book of the same name written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Retelling and intertwining five of the six poems from the book, the two-part film was produced by Magic Light Pictures and is narrated by Dominic West. The films were created in Berlin (Magic Light Pictures Berlin) and Cape Town (Triggerfish Animation Studios).[1] It aired on PBS in the United States.

The first part was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards.[2]


Part 1[edit]

An elderly woman, Miss Hunt, sits in a booth at an empty restaurant. Soon after, a wolf in a trench coat enters and asks if he can join her. She allows him, and then asks what he is doing in town. The wolf says he is waiting for an old friend, while Miss Hunt reveals she is waiting to babysit the children in the house across the street. Upon noticing Miss Hunt's book of fairy tales, the wolf expresses disdain for Red Riding Hood and states that Snow White is actually a blonde. He then reveals that he once had two nephews, Rolf and Rex, and begins to tell the story of what happened to them.

Some years earlier, a young Red Riding Hood attempts to sell flowers on the street. She is unsuccessful until she sees the sorrowful young princess, Snow White, who buys a sprig of mistletoe at Red's encouragement. Snow drops the mistletoe into the grave of her recently deceased mother; and Red soon joins her, dropping her own remaining flowers in the grave and comforting Snow. The two girls quickly become friends.

Snow's father, the king, soon finds a new queen, the nasty Miss Maclahose. She brings with her to the castle a magic mirror that always gives an accurate answer to any question asked of it. The mirror constantly tells Miss Maclahose that she is the fairest in the land, until Snow grows up and the mirror declares her the fairest. Outraged, Miss Maclahose orders the Huntsman to kill Snow and bring back her heart.

Meanwhile, the adult Red now runs her own flower stall, keeping her savings in a piggy bank at Porkley's Bank. In the forest, she gives Snow another sprig of mistletoe; but the Huntsman appears and kidnaps Snow. As Snow calls out to her friend for help, the Huntsman drops a pistol on the ground. Red picks up the pistol, but is unable to save Snow before she and her kidnapper disappear.

Rolf, seeking a meal for himself, visits Red's grandmother and eats her. Red returns to their home to find Rolf wearing her grandmother's clothes and, after briefly confusing him, shoots him dead with the pistol. In the forest, Snow begs the Huntsman for her life; and he relents, telling her to flee. He then buys a cow heart at a butcher shop and presents it to Miss Maclahose, who eagerly devours it. Meanwhile, Snow flees into the city and becomes a maid and cook for seven short men, all former jockeys.

As Red mourns Snow in the forest, thinking her friend was dead, the wolf appears; but Red points out the fur coat she has made from Rolf's skin, and he retreats. Red then visits Porkley's Bank and asks to withdraw her savings, intent on leaving for the city. However, the pig in charge of the bank tells her that the bank is broke due to a bad economy. In reality, he has invested Red's and others' money in a construction project run by two other pigs, who plan to build houses of straw and sticks.

As the two pigs erect a billboard for their new venture, Rex appears and fastly them both. Rex later finds the banker pig, intending to eat him as well; but the pig secures himself behind his thick teller window. Rex decides to blow the bank up with dynamite; and the banker pig, seeing a newspaper article about Red killing Rolf, calls her for help. Red arrives just as Rex lights the fuse for his dynamite, shooting him dead and extinguishing the fuse. The banker pig takes her into a hidden back room, intending to thank her with a romantic gesture; but Red sees that the bank actually has plenty of money and finds her broken piggy bank, so she shoots the pig dead for that as well.

Meanwhile, the seven dwarfs have been unsuccessfully betting all their money on horse races. Snow decides to remedy this by sneaking back into her father's castle and taking the magic mirror. The mirror tells the dwarfs that a horse called Mistletoe will win the upcoming race. The mention of mistletoe saddens Snow, and the mirror shows her Red on a bus en route to the city. Snow meets her at the bus station, and the two friends happily reunite. At the race, the dwarfs bet what little they have; and Red adds a large sum of money she took from Porkley's Bank. As everyone watches the race, Red gives Snow a fur coat made from Rex's skin and reveals a pigskin traveling case, which was made from the pig. With the aid of the magic mirror, Red, Snow, and the dwarfs win big at the races and become millionaires.

Back at the restaurant, the wolf has tied up and gagged Miss Hunt in a closet and is now wearing her clothes to get revenge on Red. Snow arrives at the house across the street to meet Red, who lives there with her two children. Despite concerns that their babysitter has not come, Red's daughter persuades Red to leave her and her brother alone until Miss Hunt arrives. Red and Snow leave together, and the wolf enters the house in the guise of Miss Hunt.

Part 2[edit]

Red's children instantly see through the wolf's disguise; and while her daughter is shocked by his appearance, her son is entertained by the wolf's jovial air. The wolf takes the boy into the kitchen and starts cooking a pot of vegetables, playfully saying he is going to eat up the boy. However, the girl deters him by announcing that it is story time; and the wolf begrudgingly sets a timer, following the children into the living room. The girl tells the wolf that he must read two stories, one for each child. The boy asks to hear Jack and the Beanstalk; but the wolf states that he cannot tell the story without also talking about Cinderella, a favorite story of Red's daughter. The wolf claims that the stories they know are an toned-down version of the "true" stories as the same one, which he starts to tell them.

Jack lives in a ramshackle house with his angry, abusive mother. He harbors a crush on his next door neighbor, Cinderella, who is also abused by her wicked stepsisters. One morning, Jack sees Cinderella bring out her stepsisters' breakfast and try to sneak away a jar of jam for herself. However, her short stepsister discovers the missing jar and sends her tall stepsister into the house to confront Cinderella. Jack attempts to warn Cinderella, but she dismisses him and is soon thrown in the basement by her stepsisters as punishment. Meanwhile, Jack's mother catches him spying on Cinderella and beats him with a vacuum cleaner handle, telling him to take their old cow into town to sell it. Jack comes across a magic shop and ends up trading the cow to its owner, a magic fairy, for a single bean. His mother berates him upon his return and throws the bean into a rubbish pile.

That night, the two stepsisters go to a disco at the nearby palace, leaving Cinderella in the basement. As the fairy passes by with her new cow, she hears Cinderella's cries for help and reluctantly enters the house. Cinderella asks her for a beautiful set of clothes and a coach so that she may attend the disco and win the prince's affection. The fairy grants her wish, but warns her that she must leave the palace by midnight. Cinderella instantly catches the eye of everyone at the disco, including the prince, with whom she shares a dance as her jealous stepsisters look on. As the clock strikes midnight, Cinderella attempts to flee; but the prince tries to stop her, tearing off her dress in the process. A humiliated Cinderella runs off in her underwear, losing one of her silver shoes on the palace stairs. The prince declares that whoever the shoe fits will become his bride; but he carelessly leaves the shoe on a beer keg, allowing the short stepsister to replace it with one of her own shoes.

The next morning, Jack discovers that the bean has sprouted into an enormous beanstalk during the night. His mother is unimpressed by this sight until Jack points out that the beanstalk's leaves are made of solid gold. Jack is immediately sent up the beanstalk to collect the leaves; but a menacing giant smells him out at the top, sending him falling back down. Jack's mother again berates him for not bathing enough; and he tells her to climb up the beanstalk herself, which she does. The giant smells her as well and eats her up.

In town, the prince lays out the short stepsister's shoe for different women to try on, but the shoe is too big to fit anyone. When the short stepsister tries it on, the prince is horrified to see that it fits her and attempts to get out of marrying her. However, the short stepsister reminds him of the vow he had made; and the prince chops off her head in response. Back at his home, Jack bathes and cleans himself up before ascending the beanstalk again; and with the giant unable to detect him, he takes several of the beanstalk's golden leaves while the giant sleeps.

The tall stepsister approaches the disgruntled prince, but he chops off her head as well. The awakened Cinderella hears her stepsister's severed head bouncing by and goes out to face the prince. Heartbroken by what she has discovered, Cinderella expresses disgust at the prince's penchant for chopping off heads for fun; but the prince, who does not recognize her, orders her head chopped off and chases her down with his guards. Meanwhile, Jack uses his newly acquired wealth to buy the magic shop from the fairy.

By this time, Red's son has fallen asleep; but her wide-eyed daughter asks the wolf about Cinderella's fate. He prepares to give her a sad ending, with Cinderella being cornered and near decapitation; but seeing the girl's troubled expression, he instead tells her that the magic fairy appears to help Cinderella. Cinderella tells the fairy that she is no longer interested in princes and money, but simply wishes to find a decent man. The fairy turns the prince and his guards into frogs and leaves Cinderella in front of her old magic shop. Cinderella enters the shop to find it is now a jam shop run by Jack, who presents her with a jar of "Cindy's Strawberry Jam". The two later marry and have two children, living happily ever after.

With both children now asleep, the wolf, having a change of heart and deciding not to get his revenge, hears the timer go off in the kitchen. Red returns home from her outing to find her sleeping children on the couch, along with Miss Hunt's book of fairy tales. She is then shocked to discover the wolf, who she recognizes from their earlier encounter; but the wolf simply wishes her good night and departs. Red sits at her kitchen table in disbelief, eating the stew the wolf had prepared; while the wolf exits a bus in the wilderness, sheds Miss Hunt's clothes, and returns to the woods.



Critical reception[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 85% based on 13 reviews.[3]


Year Presenter/Festival Award/Category Status
2018 Academy Awards Best Animated Short Film Nominated[4]
British Academy Children's Awards Best Animation Won

Home media[edit]

Revolting Rhymes was released on DVD on 6 February 2017.[5]


  1. ^ Lang, John Hopewell,Jamie (8 December 2017). "'My Life as a Zucchini,' 'Revolting Rhymes' Top European Animation Awards".
  2. ^ "90th Academy Award Animated Short Film Nominees". The Oscars 2018. Disney Enterprises, Inc. 23 January 2018. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Revolting Rhymes (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "90th Academy Award Animated Short Film Nominees". 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  5. ^ "Revolting Rhymes". 6 February 2017 – via Amazon.

External links[edit]