For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Animated Sci-Fi/Fantasy (Non-Disney/PIXAR) Movies, here’s a review of The Pagemaster (1994) by Steven of Past Present Future TV and Film
Thanks again to S.G. Liput of Rhyme and Reason for choosing this month’s genre.
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Kim of Tranquil Dreams. We will be reviewing our favorite teenage/high school romance movies. Please get me your submissions by 25th June by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Kim!
Let’s see what Steven thought of this movie:
On Second Thought: “The Pagemaster”
Films you loved as a kid hold very special places in your heart, which makes sense. However, as a lot of time has gone by, the thoughts of how and why may start entering into your thinking. You liked them a lot as a kid, probably so much so that you watched it almost every day, why wouldn’t you like the film now? Well, whatever the answer, you probably won’t like the film now.
The 20th Century Fox film “The Pagemaster”, is a magical journey with classic characters in literature, that any lover of reading would want to take, but as an aging kids film, it’s difficult to get excited about.
This film stars Macaulay Culkin (“Robot Chicken”, “Kings”), Christopher Lloyd (“Granite Falls”, “Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys”), and features the voice talents of Whoopi Goldberg (“A Day Late and a Dollar Short”, “Once Upon a Time in Wonderland”), Patrick Stewart (“Blunt Talk”, “American Dad!”), Frank Welker (“The Adventures of Puss in Boots”, “Transformers: Age of Extinction”) and Leonard Nimoy (“Star Trek Into Darkness”, “Fringe”). The film also stars Ed Begley Jr. (“Portlandia”, “You’re Not You”) and Mel Harris (“Law & Order: SVU”, “Imagine That”).
Try as I may, try as I might, this film just doesn’t sit right. I know, I know. I more needed something to finish that little rhyme. It’s not so much that this film doesn’t sit right, it’s that this story is actually not that exciting. It should be, but for me, it’s not.
While I may not be completely blown over by the overall plot, I am still amazed by the way the writers incorporated so many well known characters from classic literature. While they each come about in a some what random way, it’s fun to see this kid and his books interact with them. For me, the best incorporation of a classic bit of literature, is towards the end. They’re escaping the dragon and end up crashing into a bunch of books. We next see Culkin’s animated self lifting a copy of “Atlas Shrugged” off of himself in the style that Atlas holds up the world. This is also funny because I’ve actually read the referenced book. It’s one lengthy and interesting read.
When you’re not going on some A to B type adventure, with little actual danger, you’re having to suffer through uninteresting character moments. Okay, all of this has character moments (whatever those are), but none are more excruciating than the ones involving Culkin, Horror, Fantasy, and Adventure, or just Culkin. First off, and this really made me hate this film, even though this is half of the lesson to takeaway from this film, is his whiney nature. Every little thing scares him. He’s a whiney baby. An annoying little shit. Should’ve just left him by himself. Fortunately, Horror, Fantasy, and Adventure were there to make things a little better, but not by much. They each had cute moments, but those lasted mere seconds.
Before I forget, the animation. It was surprisingly crisp looking. I was amazed by how it still held up today. The level of color this entire film took on actually added to this. I never once thought that this animation looked weird, even if it was still different than what one would be used to then or now.
There’s also the voice actors. Mainly Goldberg, Nimoy, and Stewart. Oh! and a little bit of Lloyd. As with most voice actors, they’re good. They created the perfect kinds of voices for the characters that we’d have to watch go on this magical adventure.
If I’ve learned one thing from this, it’s that my childhood has now been ruined. For the better and the worse. However, I will take comfort in the fact that I’ve figured out the true purpose of this film. It’s to encourage children to read! Crazy thought, right? There were multiple instances, usually involving Culkin’s character, where it seemed he’d never read a book before. I don’t even think he knew what one was, or what a library was, before the rainstorm forced him into one. For that reason alone I wanted to bop him on the head.
Trailer for a very long reason to read: