Submitted by Tornado Dragon
One day, the five children’s mother shows up at Albert’s mansion, but she has some bad news for them: Their father’s plane went down behind enemy lines several days ago and he is now missing. The next day, their cousin, Horace, finds the Psammead (a.k.a. both the titular “It” and the “Sand Fairy”) and brings him back to his laboratory to dissect him, but Robert intervenes and convinces him to have the Psammead grant him a wish instead. However, the Psammead tries to use Horace’s wish to do him harm, so Robert and his siblings step in and stop him, and Horace faints from shock. After entrusting the care of Horace to their mother, the five kids get the Psammead back into its shell at the beach and wish for him to bring their father to them safely. Their father shows up on the beach in his plane, but since sunset is just minutes away (the Psammead’s wishes end every sunset), they quickly give him his compass before he disappears so he will know where to find them.
The next day, the kids learn from their mother that they will be going home to London soon, and they also make peace with Horace and agree to share the secret of the Psammead’s existence with him. Then, the five children and Horace all pay the Psammead one last visit, where they throw him a party for his birthday (he had mentioned to the children the day before that his birthday was today) and spend the whole day with him before saying goodbye. The day after that, the father shows up at the mansion alive and well, and the five children and their mother all have a happy reunion with him.
Robert narrates a message to the Psammead promising that he will never forget him or the adventures they’ve had, and we see that the beach that the Psammead lives on is not in another world, but at the bottom of the cliffs behind Albert’s mansion.
One day, the children’s mother (Tara Fitzgerald) shows up at Uncle Albert’s (Kenneth Branagh) mansion, but she tells them that she has some bad news: Their father’s (Alex Jennings) plane went down behind enemy lines several days ago and he is now missing. Robert (Freddie Highmore) gets very upset after hearing this and goes looking for his father’s compass, but he discovers that it has mysteriously disappeared. He then goes to see the Psammead (a.k.a. both the titular “It” and the “Sand Fairy”) and asks him to grant a wish he wants to make that will help his father, but the Psammead informs him that, since it is presently nighttime, he can only grant his wish in the morning. Robert sleeps alongside him that night so he’ll be able to grant him his wish the second that morning comes, but as they sleep, Horace (Alexander Pownall) – having followed Robert there – kidnaps the Psammead and takes him to his laboratory.
Robert awakens to find the Psammead missing, and suspecting Horace of being responsible for this, he heads to his laboratory. He arrives to find Horace getting ready to dissect the Psammead, but when he tries to stop him, Horace shows him that he is in possession of the compass, which he took in order to ensure that Robert would not interfere. Robert brings up the Psammead’s wish-granting capabilities and suggests to Horace that he make a wish rather than cut the creature open, and after some prompting from the Psammead, Horace wishes for his Tyrannosaurus egg to hatch. As Robert runs off to get help from his siblings, a Tyrannosaurus comes out of the egg, but the Psammead magically grows it to full size with the intention of having it harm Horace.
Robert then returns with his siblings, and Jane (Poppy Rogers) eventually decides to save Horace by playing her violin for the dinosaur because “music soothes the savage beast.” She plays the instrument badly, but it causes the Psammead to weaken and make the dinosaur disappear. Horace goes into shock, and Robert soon tells Cyril (Jonathan Bailey) to help the others get the Psammead back to the beach so it can regain its strength and grant their wish to see their father while he sees to Horace. He also hands Cyril his compass and tells him to give it to their father so he’ll know where to find them.
Cyril and the others get the Psammead back into its shell, and he initially tells them that Horace made the wish for today and that they will have to make theirs tomorrow, which – he mentions – is his birthday. However, after Anthea (Jessica Claridge) tells him that they can’t wait for tomorrow because it might be too late (for their father) by then, he consults his wish rulebook and finds out that, because Horace’s wish hasn’t lasted the full day, they still have some wish allowance left over. They thus wish for their father to come home safely, and sure enough, he shows up on the beach in his plane, and they hug him. However, they realize that he will disappear very soon because sunset is just minutes away (the Psammead’s wishes end every sunset), so with that in mind, Cyril hands his father the compass. Moments later, Robert – who has entrusted the care of Horace to his mother – shows up on the beach, and he and his father see each other just moments before his father vanishes.
The next morning, the five children check up on Horace, and they make peace with him by agreeing to share the secret of the Psammead’s existence with him. Their mother then informs them that the newspapers say that it is now safe to return to London, so they will be going home soon. The children and Horace decide to pay the Psammead one last visit, where they throw a birthday party for him and spend the entire day with him before saying their goodbyes.
The day after, Albert has trouble getting the car to start so he can take the five children and their mother to the train station, so the children all agree to a game of hide-and-seek to pass the time, with Robert agreeing to be “it.” As he finishes counting to 20, his father arrives and says the last number, and Robert joyfully hugs him. The other children and their mother then appear and do likewise, and the father returns the compass to Robert and thanks him.
Robert narrates his last message to the Psammead, promising him that he will never forget about him and that he will someday tell his own children all about the adventures he and his siblings had with him. As the camera zooms out from the Psammead, we find out that the beach he lives on is not in another world, but at the bottom of the cliffs behind Albert’s mansion.