Rated: PG Reviewed by: Frank Release date: July 22, 1994 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
With a very weak and superficial script, the cast of Lassie is bland and lackluster. The story is predictable, much like a TV episode, and has little to challenge the audience. With all the above in mind, the kids in the theater had a good time and enjoyed the remake of a classic.
Matt Turner (Thomas Guiry) is forced to leave Baltimore with his family to live on the farm where his mother grew up. His biological mother has died and Laura (Helen Slater) has married Matt's father. The natural conflicts between Matt and his stepmother continue to arise both before the move and after. Matt's father (Jon Tenney) has decided to bring his kids up in the rural setting where his first wife lived. Jennifer (Brittany Boyd) balances out the proper family as the little sister. On the way to the old farm Lassie joins the family when his master is killed in a truck crash. Richard Farnsworth is a worth addition to the cast as the maternal Grandfather.
When the new family arrives they become involved in a conflict with the powerful Garland family who own the biggest sheep farm in that part of Virginia. It takes Lassie to outwit and outsmart the Garlands and force them into the learning syndrome which many of the "bad guys" went through in the TV series.
Early on in Baltimore, Jennifer is shown watching TV reruns of Lassie which gets in the old theme song which the older members of the audience began to hum. The only interesting new idea in the script is Matt's discovery of his mother's diary. As he reads, his mother appears on the screen as the child she was when she wrote the diary. Her secret ambition is revealed in the diary and that leads Matt and the entire family to their destination.
All turns out well as expected and Lassie barks the last line.