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A New Twist But Enjoyable As Drama
on August 18, 2003
Anne Of Green Gables were several movies directed by Kevin Sullivan. These movies were originally made for television (the Disney Channel) back in the late 80's and early 90's. The movies were drawn from the Lucy Maud Montgomery books and starred Megan Follows as the title heroine Anne Shirley. Kevin Sullivan was also responsible for directing the Avonlea series, a tv series set in Avonlea Prince Edward Island following the lives of its many young and old dwellers.
The Anne of Green Gables movies were sentimental, romantic and family-oriented, well written and enjoyable. The last film concerning Anne was released in 2000 (but could have been made earlier) and again starred Megan Followas as a now much older Anne Shirely. Anne has been engaged to Gilbert in New York but World War 1 breaks out and Gilbert is drafted. Anne takes a position as nurse. The terrible and grim reality of war sets in and makes this film a more PG-13 type of film, with some mature content involving war themes and death. The point was that Anne could stand up to life's harsh cruelty just as well as she could escape it through her writing. She successfully nurtures orphaned children and survives the bloody war to be blissfully united with her true love Gilbert Blythe.
The film is still enjoyable as drama, poignant in its tragic tone, very worth watching. But don't expect to see any of the old sentimental romanticism of Prince Edward Island from the original films. Far from the dreamy island, the film is mostly taking place in the war zone of Europe at the outbreak of World War 1. To fans of the novels, this is a major disappointment. Although Anne is still her old spirited and strong willed self, readers of the novels complain that it lacks the old magic and has unnecessary scenes of violence. Also it is inaccurate to the original novels of Montgomery. Anne's childhood and growing up into a woman days were in the late 19th century 1880's and 1890's. But Kevin Sullivan had Anne growing up in the early 1900's so that when World War 1 erupted in 1914 Anne was in her twenties as is convincing in this film. It is not suited for younger children, perhaps more for children who grew up watching Anne of Green Gables are now older. It is more for pre-teens. I still liked this film and found it to be necessary. Even Anne said once, (in Anne of Avonlea) "Everyone's life has their book of Revelations". Life can be both beautiful like a dream and as vicious as a nightmare. War is never a good thing but hopefully with war films, one can learn a lesson.. a lesson of a call for peace and unity. So I think this film should be seen by old fans of the show who are now mature enough to watch a film like this one.