Rated: PG Reviewed by: Frank Release date: November 23, 1994 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Using a clever unique method to present the excitement of reading for kids, David Kirschner and David Casci tell the story of Young Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin) who sees danger everywhere until he is forced to live the adventures from books in a library.
Tyler sights statistics and concepts to protect himself from every possible danger. His bicycle is fortified for protection and he won't even attempt to jump from ramps with other kids. When his father (Ed Begley, Jr.) builds a tree house he is fearful of climbing up.
It takes the stories in books to change him. On a stormy night he takes shelter in an old library. The librarian, Mr. Dewey (Christopher Lloyd) becomes The Pagemaster as the film turns from live characters to animation. The voices of Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg and Leonard Nimoy are featured as characters as Richard is introduced to and participates in the stories of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Moby Dick and Treasure Island.
The idea is wonderful as it depicts what goes on in a kid's mind as he read great adventure stories. Culkin is perfect for the part as are all the actors' voices. The film might even get kids to think about reading.
The only problem with the film is the heavy competition from Disney and the use of standard animation without computer assistance.
This is a good one to see with your kids and talk about later.