Friday, November 27, 2009

Pagemaster suffers on the small screen

I'm watching Pagemaster (1994) on the Encore Channel. This animated movie features the voice talents of McCauley Culkin, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, Leonard Nimoy and Christopher Lloyd.

I don't think I saw this in the theaters, but my nephew had a DVD of it which I quite enjoyed. The opening, live scenes were a bit... uh...McCauley Culkin seemed a bit too old to be such a wimp ...but the animated story was wonderful, I thought.

Patrick Stewart plays Adventure, Frank Welker plays Horror, and Whoopi Goldberg pays Fantasy. Culkin plays Richard Tyler, a timid boy who doesn't have the courage to ride his bike off a ramp (hey, maybe he's just got common sense, instead!) All the neighborhood kids laugh at him. Then, a storm hits, which forces him into a library. Soon, he finds himself transported into a variety of fictional worlds by the Pagemaster.

He has all kinds of adventures, aided by Horror, Adventure and Fantasy (thank god no love story! - although Adventure and Fantasy get a little something going.) (Adventure: How would you like to curl up with a good book?
[Fantasy wallops him]
Adventure: Ow, me binding!
Fantasy: In your dreams! )

and when he leaves the library it's to have the courage to take on that bike ramp.

It's a paeon to get kids reading, of course. Of letting them know of the joy to be found in books. Whether it actually resulted in a kid sitting down to read a book, I do not know.

The problem is that the version ENcore is showing is terribly blurry and faded...not something you'd expect of a movie that's only 14 years old. YOu'd think they'd have been able to pull a DVD off the shelf and play that! This version will unfortunately not gain the movie any fans, I dont' think.

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