Spinning an apt satire of Stalinist Russia, "Animal Farm" tells of a revolt by the animals of Manor Farm against their human masters. Led by the pigs Napoleon (who represents Joseph Stalin) and Old Major (ditto for Lenin), the animals try to create a utopian society. Soon, however, Napoleon hungers for power, drives out Snowball, and establishes a totalitarian regime at least as brutal and corrupt as any human society. Manor Farm becomes a world in which all animals are equal, but some are "more equal" than others.
In this powerful, direct allegory to the rise of Communism in the U.S.S.R., the film smoothly combines Orwell's parable with animatronics and voice characterizations by well-known actors. Following a speech by venerable Old Major, the animals of Manor Farm base their successful revolution on their own philosophy of "Animalism" (which represents Communism). Snowball (who represents Trotsky) tries to implement Old Major's ideas to the letter, but his idealism fails him; he's exiled by the more ambitious Napoleon, who seizes power over the entire farm after merely hungering for it, at first. He proceeds to reshape Old Major's ideas as he sees fit, and thus takes the animals into a darker existence than they had even dreamed.
The animal inhibitants of the quaint English farm, spurred on by dreams of dominating the entire earth and ruling together equally, find at first that all is well. But after Napolean grabs all power and ousts his former comrade, Snowball, the farm becomes corrupt society. Assuring the animals that everything is fine, the viewer knows that, in fact, is most certainly not true.
Alan James and Martyn Burke, based on the novel by George Orwell
Kelsey Grammar, Ian Holm, Julia Ormond, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss
Animal Farm; George Orwell; communism; Russia
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