Posted by: Mad Ness Monster | 06/29/2009

“The Pagemaster” review

(9/20/06)

In this I-don’t-know-what-you-call-animation-book-ended-by-live-action film, Macaulay Culkin learns that he is able to have a magical adventure just by sitting on a couch and reading a book. Seems a bit counterintuitive but never mind that.

This line of thinking didn’t bother me much during “Neverending Story” and it isn’t going to bother me here. (And I *am* going to eventually do one of these reviews for “Neverending Story” and other 80’s fantasy movies I love, I promise. Eventually.)
“Pagemaster” got a lot of bad reviews when it came out but, really, it’s actually pretty good. Even just from a technical standpoint, there really is some damn fine animation in here. So watch it, and then ignore your books and have adventures…
No, I mean stay inside all day reading…
Wait…

The Best Parts:
Before the movie begins (I am watching this on video) – Oh, man, the “Power Rangers” movie.
25 seconds in – “A long, long time ago, in a Galaxy far, far away…” (Shut up, it will always be funny!)
1 minute in – Somebody likes their Don Bluth.
4 minutes in – Aw, look at Mac! This has to be life before “The Good Son”.
6 minutes in – Actually, lightning, falling trees, and exploding things are the kinds of things you CAN justifiably be afraid of.
9 minutes in – And you may add old guys who have been desperate to talk to another person for hours and hours to the above list.
12 minutes in – Coooooooooool. Though I call shenanigans on a library being utterly deserted, especially on a rainy day.
14 minutes in – If you are standing near a huge painting and this happens… just go with it. Really.
You thought I was going to say, “F-ing RUN” right? If you did that, you wouldn’t get to go on the magical adventure, would you now? 🙂
14 minutes, 42 seconds in – BADLY DRAWN CULKIN!
15 minutes in – And what about a GIRL’S imagination? 😦
17 minutes in – Arr, happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, Captain.
22 minutes in – So, OK, what happens if they start reading The Andromeda Strain?
24 minutes in – Aww, it’s Ralph Bakshi’s version of Sam!
26 minutes in – “STAR TREK” CONVENTION!!!
27 minutes in – That is f-ing scary, but raise your hand if you think it’d be more interesting for our heroes to face Alan Moore’s version of Mr. Hyde… (shudder)
33 minutes in – Read Moby Dick kids, you’ll love it! Psy-yi-yi... duck?
38 minutes in – So did anybody really *enjoy* reading Treasure Island in high school?
40 minutes in – You know, I’m pretty sure they’ll just issue him a new library card. Heck, maybe they’ll really go crazy and give him a plastic card like the ones my library uses. You really ought to upgrade to the plastic card, Mac. You get your own member code number and you can use it online and reserve books you want and even borrow books from libraries in other cities, they are AWESOME!
I’m a nerd. 😦
42 minutes in – Still more entertaining than “Treasure Planet”.
47 minutes in – But is Gulliver’s Travels really a fantasy? Why yes, I AM going to start nitpicking now.
49 minutes in – Somebody likes their “Fantasia”. A lot.
51 minutes in – “Oh sh**, it’s Smaug the Golden!
“Actually, because the people who currently own the film rights to The Hobbit are being so incredibly ridiculous about future film adaptations, we can’t really say that this badass dragon IS Smaug.”
“Still, we should run, cause this badass dragon is basically Smaug. In fact, let’s go ahead and say it. He is the BEST. SMAUG. EVER!!!
“Even though, for legal reasons, he isn’t Smaug.”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
53 minutes in – Ann Rand sight gag!!! Psy-yi-yi... duck?
56 minutes in – Gazerbeam?!
57 minutes in – Matthew McConaughey unavailable for comment.
58 minutes in – Clean colon IS secret to better health.
1 hour, 1 minutes in – Well, I guess if Smaug respects Mac, then I have to too. Maybe.
1 hour, 3 minutes in – I call shenanigans on this too. I’ve been able to check out up to 10-15 books at once.
Old Colony Library Network and their wondrous plastic cards Mac, seriously.
1 hour, 5 minutes in – Oh, do let’s make our child sleep outside in a tree right after the Storm of Crap-Your-Pants!
1 hour, 7 minutes in – Aww, Horror got his happy ending! Cue the Disney-Style Oscar Bait End Credits Ballad!

Classic Lines of Dialogue:
“Contains nothing that would offend parents for viewing by children” – Amusing MPAA content descriptor.
“It’s kind of a mix between ‘Wizard of OZ’… ‘Star Wars’…” – Kimberly the Pink Ranger
“It’s the ‘Wizard of OZ’ for the 90’s.” – Amusing box blurb by Garth Bishop. Dammit, everybody stop hating on “OZ”!
“Anyone care for a drink?” – Dr. Jekyll
“Sometimes, you gotta fight to make a wish come true!” – Fantasy
“How would you like to -uh huh- curl up with a good book…?” – Adventure

Things I Learned from this Movie/Book/Whatever:
* – Libraries are AWESOME! Unless they haven’t really gotten with the program and are still using paper library cards and limiting kids to two books at a time.
* – Fear of being fangoriously devoured by large squids trumps even the most deep-seated fear of heights.
* – Smaug (though it isn’t officially him) is a BADASSSSS.

Things That Can Save Any Movie:
Cool Creatures?
SMAUG (though it isn’t officially him)!!! Also, talking books.
Good Soundtrack? Um, it’s very early-90’s-animated-movie-that’s-trying-to-compete-with-Disney.
Hot Guys? No.
Pretty Scenery? Yes. Nice Wyeth references in the Adventure sequence.
Nifty Animation/Special Effects/Illustrations? Actually, yes. It’s excellent.

Drinking Game Potential? Drink when Mac says, “This is NOT good” or wonders aloud if something is safe.

Head Movie Potential? Sure. Like I said, the animators like their Don Bluth and their “Fantasia”.

Rating: Donnie rating (4)
Donnie. I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to.
Credits
A 20th Century Fox Film made in 1994. David Kirschner was the producer and head writer. Joe Johnston and Maurice Hunt both directed.
Cast
Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewert, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, Leonard Nimoy, Ed Begley Jr., Mel Harris, Robert Picardo, Phil Hartman, and Jim Cummings.
Related Links
IMDB page
Nostalgia Critic review

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