The Phoenix And The Magic Carpet Director’s Cut (1995) comes direct from the land of rainy-Sunday afternoon TV, and cozy childhood memories.
Many of us will be familiar with the book, by E Nesbit (author of The Railway Children), which was first published in 1904. However, few of us may realise that Phoenix was actually the second in a trilogy of tales that begins with Five Children And It (1902) and concludes with The Story Of The Amulet (1906). In fact, the stories have tended to be adapted as stand-alone films—including at least four different film versions and a much-admired BBC TV adaptation.
The Phoenix And The Magic Carpet Director’s Cut is Fabulous Films’ latest addition to buy on DVD.
Directed by Zoran Perisic, the renowned special effects consultant, used his own patented Zoptic process to film the flying-carpet sequences. The process was based on a technique that he developed while working on the visual effects for Superman: The Movie (1978) and which ultimately won him three Oscars.
In this take on the tale, the action moves to ‘90s England where three American children discover a golden egg amongst old junk in their grandfather’s cottage. When the egg accidentally falls into the bonfire, a golden bird rises out of the flames and the Phoenix is reborn. So begins an amazing adventure as the Phoenix takes the children on a magic carpet ride to a land of enchantment and fantasy.
Starring a wonderfully narcissistic Sir Peter Ustinov (Poirot), as the titular Phoenix, Dee Wallace (E.T-The Extra Terrestrial) and Ewen Bremner, The Phoenix And The Magic Carpet Director’s Cut has charm aplenty. For modern audiences, the action is slow and the SFX shaky, but fans of cult TV—or just those looking to indulge in a warm-slice of nostalgia—will be pleased to finally be able to own this ground-breaking production.