Picks and Pans Review: The Pagemaster
Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart
Thank heaven for Whoopi Goldberg Even just the voice of Whoopi Goldberg. She makes funny what is barely amusing, brisk what is tedious and tolerable what is tough to stomach. And too bad Culkin gives such a bland performance in this tale of a timorous boy who learns to shake off his abiding fear of life.
Culkin is the despair of his parents (Ed Begley Jr. and Mel Harris). His bedroom is filled with more safety equipment than a civil defense shelter; his head is filled with statistics about accidents. Taking shelter in the town library during a rainstorm, Culkin, through the offices of a super-librarian known as the Pagemaster (Lloyd), is catapulted into a world of books. There he finds friends—and courage.
The problem is that there's nothing dynamic about The Pagemaster, which combines live action and animation. And there's nothing witty in its renderings of Goldberg, Stewart and Nimoy as, respectively, fantasy, adventure and horror books.
It's hard to fault the pro-reading message, but parents and kids would do better to skip the movie and go to the library.(G)
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