(9/23/03 This version is slightly streamlined.)
(AKA “The Enchanted Attic”) I was away for the summer of ’03 but found a video store that, for a two dollar donation, would let you rent kids’ movies for free. I was able to watch all the fascinating/stupid kids movies I could within that summer; it would henceforth be known as the Summer of the Disturbing Fantasy Children’s Movies! Almost all of the older children’s fantasy film reviews either were written over this summer or after that store finally upgraded to DVD and sold all their videos.
And I kicked this summer off with “Storybook”. It’s about a heroic dog and his annoying little kid who journey to a Magical Land just in time to save the king. They team up with a kindly hunter named Woody and a talking kangaroo not named Jack. Woody the Woodsman has the brains of a very clever paramecium. Storyland is largely populated with crappy puppets that Woody gets to fight. It is worth looking for this movie just to watch that.
Also, the kid’s short-term memory is so bad, he should be armed with an instant camera, and should look like the Illustrated Man by the time he hits sixth grade. His mom says, “Stay here. Don’t move.” and he immediately starts walking around after she leaves. “You stay out of the attic!” says his uncle, so of course he goes up to explore the attic in the next scene, thus going through the magical time warp to Storyland and stuff.
And then you have the talking kangaroo. Let me just say that if your talking kangaroo doesn’t know Kung-fu and it isn’t Ice-T in the furry suit, don’t bother. The dog is a more accomplished actor than any of the humans.
This movie sucks a great deal and yet it is awesomely hilarious for that. It’d make a hell of a college drug movie.
By the way, Woody the Woodsman?
The Best Parts:
30 seconds in – “They’re hee-ere!” 😦
3 minutes in – The kid is in denial that his dad is MIA. Great theme for a kid’s movie.
4 minutes in – “Search your heart! / The mirror of your DREEE-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eams! / Dream a…”
6 minutes in – The ADHD Scene!!!
11 minutes in – Chastise your son for having faith in the face of traumatizing news. What a caring mother!
14 minutes in – Wait, wasn’t this the set-up for a damn terrifying “Twilight Zone” episode?
15 minutes in – Get in that time warp and get the damn plot started already!!! ARGH!
22 minutes in – RELEASE THE CRAPPY PUPPETS!!!
23 minutes in – Woody battles a pack of vicious stuffed opossums!
25 minutes in – So we have Queen Evilian, and Queen Benevolence and King Love-All. Ah, subtlety.
29 minutes in – So is the princess chopped liver or what?
30 minutes in – Well, if the kid is the One, let’s see if he can manipulate time or fly. Better yet, let’s see if he can dodge bullets…
32 minutes in – Wow, that’s way scarier than the Count Ruger’s Machine.
34 minutes in – RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!!
39 minutes in – RELEASE THE RAZOR FISH!!!
40 minutes in – I wrote this review way back in 2003, and this scene remains one of the greatest bad scenes I have ever seen. If you can watch this scene without laughing hysterically, you are not human.
42 minutes in – Queen Evilian’s dogs eat a crappy puppet!
46 minutes in – Anybody got a Holy Hand Grenade?
47 minutes in – Seriously, this would be over ten times more entertaining if it was Ice-T in the kangaroo suit.
57 minutes in – Gee wiz, I wonder who it is that will pull the sword out of the stone???
Now throw it at his head, see if he can dodge it…
1 hour, 1 minute in – “We don’t need another HEEEE-ROW!!!!!”
1 hour, 5 minutes in – Queen Evilian is so happy to have stolen the magical sword that she dances with it!
1 hour, 12 minutes in – She is STILL DANCING WITH THE SWORD. (This is pretty great, but I think Sol and Luna’s Fire Dance still wins.)
1 hour, 14 minutes in – Ooh. That is evil.
1 hour, 15 minutes in – The Giant Disembodied Oracular Snake Head gallantly sacrifices himself! Or itself… whatever.
1 hour, 17 minutes in – Who’s getting tortured here? Evilian or us?
1 hour, 20 minute in – You know, I think, after having an adventure like that, that I’d have to hit anyone who told me what the King just said.
1 hour, 22 minutes in – In your face, non-believer!
1 hour, 30 minutes in (end title card) – “Coming soon: ‘Storybook: the Next Chapter!'”
Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Oh, I wouldn’t say (the house is) haunted. I’d rather say, enchanted!” – Uncle Barney (James Doohan, please note)
“Before Evilian, we didn’t have any bad people!” – Woody
“Idiot! Numbskull! Saliva from a baboon’s tongue!!!” – Evilian being evil
“Oh, I’ll kill them (the heroes) later! Right now, I wanna play with my sword!” – Evilian begins her sword dance!
“I’ll miss you, small friend.” – Woody (somebody else can tackle this one)
Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Thunderstorms can last twenty years.
* – Former “Star Trek” actors have no shame. 😦
* – I am currently debating whether giant disembodied oracular snake heads are better spies than psychic chicken-cyclops thingies. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, just you wait until Christmastime… >:)
* – If you can’t read, you’re STUPID!!!
* – If your mean sister offers you a drink in a metal glass that is fizzing and smoking, you probably shouldn’t partake.
* – Dobermans are wikkid intimidated by Papillions.
* – The best rafts ever are made out of the trunks of fake plastic trees.
* – Owls can teleport.
* – If you live in a cave, make sure all gigantic boulders are well supported before company comes over.
* – Evil people will yank out your teeth if you aggrivate them.
* – Evidently little dogs can teleport as well (watch for a continuity error as the kid goes back through the time warp).
Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures? I repeat. (ahem) RELEASE THE CRAPPY PUPPETS!!!. Also, there is a Giant Disembodied Oracular Snake Head and a talking kangaroo.
Good Soundtrack? No.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? No.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects? I repeat, once again, RELEASE THE CRAPPY PUPPETS!!!
Drinking Game Potential? Oh yeah. Drink anytime Evilian changes her hair color. Drink anytime Woody battles valiantly with a crappy puppet. Drink anytime Hiss insults Evilian. And so on…
Head Movie Potential? Totally.
I’m not pretending that this movie is any good, but I gotta give it a Donnie for it’s amusement value. And I’d say that I got three dollars worth of entertainment out of this, but it was FREE!!! Yah!
A Lorenzo Doumani film made in 1995. Released in the United States by Republic Entertainment Inc. a unit of Spelling Entertainment Group Inc. Written and directed by Lorenzo Doumani.
Sean Fitzgerald, Swoosie Kurtz, Milton Berle, Richard Moll, Ed Begely Jr., James Doohan, a whole lot of people who look like they’d rather be in other movies, and also Kangaroo Jack and the Great Prophet Zarquon.