Jan 16, 2009

The Pagemaster

LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow rolls in his grave concerning this film. That is, hypothetically assuming that he is already dead. Kunta Kinte would be very disappointed to take note the average effects of The Pagemaster, considering I'm well past being an adult and the general synopsis of this magical tale has me biting my nails wanting to skedaddle over to the nearest library and immerse myself into classic literature. I'll admit The Pagemaster's animation is severely dated and doesn't retain the classic feel of such classics as Watership Down and The Plague Dogs (Both of these animated styles have an intimidating gritty and vintage aesthetic), but this is more than a Disney feature brimming with racism and vapid morals.

Macaulay Culkin stars as a sheltered child who is terrified of absolutely everything. Irony aside, he would later grow up to be busted on several drug charges and traffic violations. These incidents would later mark his role in The Pagemaster to be an exercise in masterful acting seeing as how statistics had no role in his later arrests and fall from fame and his subsequent rise into indie stardom with his cult "orgiastic" hit Party Monster, which I admit is almost a great film. With only few live-action roles with the most recognizable being Christopher Lloyd, The Pagemaster focuses more on the landscape of colorful and diverse genres as Adventure, Fantasy, and Horror.

The few instances of CGI are proudly and fluidly brought to life due to an amazing team. At the time, the scenes of a rotunda melting and eventually creating a tidal wave of pastels could even rival the majesty of the effects of What Dreams May Come. Boasting many excerpts from literature classics as Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Gulliver's Travels, The Pagemaster does many of these tale cinematic justice with literary translations. Most notably is the enthusiastic and menacing performance of Captain Ahab in Melville's Moby Dick.

A bit of nostalgia never hurt anyone. My favorite childhood viewing activities revolved around frequent viewings of The Rescuers Down Under, All Dogs Go To Heaven, We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story, and The Pagemaster. After viewing this film after the years, It still lives up in ways to the standard that it has survived with. There's no real depth here other than a massive reading propaganda video. I'd expect courageous adventure from a film telling your children with complexes to venture outside more but sadly the farthest this goes is an underused dragon battle.

The Pagemaster represents a huge part of childhood development and also manages to rehabilitate many children into enjoying reading. If it worked on me, then in all theory it should work on many. Those especially who can still manage to stomach a children's film or even an animated film. The future of Hollywood has a storm brewing. Director Joe Johnston who has created simple tales of The Pagemaster and Jumanji has moved onto The Wolfman (2009) and The First Avenger: Captain America. May god bless these projects with the age old meaning of quality over quantity.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i used to watch this movie all the time.