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The Pagemaster The Pagemaster

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The Pagemaster

ages 6+ | 80 % Say It's Worth Your Time

The Pagemaster is a 1994 adventure fantasy film starring Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, Patrick Stewart, Whoopi Goldberg, Frank Welker, and Leonard Nimoy. The film was produced by Turner Pictures and released by 20th Century Fox on November 23, 1994. The film was written for the screen by David Casci, based on a 6-page pitch by writer Charles Pogue entitled "Library Days," presented to Casci by producer David Kirschner. The film was directed by Joe Johnston (live action) and Maurice "Pixote" Hunt and Glenn Chaika (animation), and produced by David Kirschner and Paul Gertz. Ten-year-old pessimist Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin) lives his life based on statistics and fears practically everything. His exasperated parents (Ed Begley, Jr. and Mel Harris) have tried multiple ways to build up the courage of their son, but to little success. Richard is sent by his father to buy a bag of nails so that he can build a treehouse. However, Richard gets caught in a harsh thunderstorm and takes shelter in a library. Here, he is met by Mr. Dewey (Christopher Lloyd), an eccentric librarian who tries to find a book for Richard and gives him a library card. However, Richard does not want any


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Genre: Adventure

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Rated G

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  • (Male) Chicago Sun-Times Critic

    No Maturity Rating | Not Worth Your Time

    Why is the gift of reading so often treated like a pill that needs to be sugarcoated? Reading is the fun, not the treatment. And the way to experience the joy of reading is to pick up a book, open it and lose yourself in its pages. "The Pagemaster," a sad and dreary film, doesn't seem to understand that. Its message seems to be that books can be almost as much fun as TV cartoons and video arcade games.

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  • (Male) Reel Views

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    This clever, often engaging, and always fast-paced motion picture uses the visual medium to encourage its viewers to reach out with their imagination.

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  • ParentPreviews.com

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    Some children may be frightened by The Pagemaster. Pirates, flame throwing dragons, and Mr. Hyde's are all found in a dark and dreary animated world. There is no sexual content, and the language is clean, yet I would still recommend that parents view this movie before showing it to very young children. As for older children, parents may want to question if all smart kids wear glasses and are afraid to ride bicycles. It seems that in the movies, if you want to be smart, you have to be a wimp.

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  • Dove Foundation

    No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    The frightening transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde, Moby Dick swallowing Rich, fierce storms on the high seas and a fire-eating dragon create excitement and a sense of adventure. Ghostly figures float out of the horror section and an occasional skeleton is shown lying around. Through his sometimes harrowing trip into the world of books, Rich learns to take chances and experiences self-confidence. When he returns safely to his real home, his parents find him sleeping soundly in the treehouse he had been afraid to climb into. Alongside him are his newest and only friends, Adventure, Fantasy and Horror, whose wish to leave the library came true. There is no sexual content and no foul language, although Long John Silver refers to a “son of a sea biscuit,” and the expression “bloody” is heard once. THE PAGEMASTER could encourage youngsters to discover the magical world of books that seems to have been replaced by TV’s “Power Rangers,” mindless cartoons and NINJA TURTLES films. One word of caution – the scary fictional characters and settings may upset young children not familiar with the stories represented.

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  • No Maturity Rating | Worth Your Time

    Parents need to know that there's lots of cartoon action in this film but no one gets seriously hurt. Characters fall from great heights and immediately come back to fall again just moments later. The hero and others are captured, then escape and immediately come back to get captured again. With a mix of animation and live-action, there are swashbuckling pirates, threatening sharks, scary hounds, unhinged authority figures, and a fire-breathing dragon with ghostly accomplices. Ominous music and spooky colors and sound effects heighten the suspense, but except for the youngest or most sensitive kids there's no real sense of jeopardy.

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  • (Male) Deseret News Critic

    No Maturity Rating |

    That's because "The Pagemaster" is largely an animated feature, and feature-length cartoons take about three years to produce. So, Culkin's live-action scenes were filmed about three years ago. The second thing that may strike you, as the film becomes a cartoon in earnest, is that the animation is lovely, quite fluid and classical, right down to Culkin's character, which would be at home in a "Home Alone" cartoon series. And finally, and perhaps most significantly, you will notice that despite all the elaborate trappings, "The Pagemaster" just isn't clever or funny enough to fulfill its ambitions. If all you want is a movie that promotes books and reading, go rent "The NeverEnding Story." If you're looking for a new big-screen animated feature for family viewing over the holidays, go see "The Swan Princess." "The Pagemaster's" problems can be easily traced back to the screenplay, which simply lacks anything remotely resembling wit. The film begins in live-action form, as Culkin's character, Richard Tyler, is shown to be an egghead fraidy-cat. And his parents (Ed Begley Jr., Mel Harris) are concerned about him. Dad is building a treehouse, which Richard refuses to climb, quoting statistics on the number of accidents that involve ladders. Then, when his father sends him to the local hardware store for some nails, Richard runs into a heavy rainstorm and seeks shelter in the local library. There, he meets spooky Mr. Dewey (Christopher Lloyd), who tries to explain that books hold the key to all the excitement one could imagine. But Richard, of course, doesn't want excitement - he just wants to go home. On his way toward the exit, however, Richard slips and falls, knocks himself unconscious, and the film becomes a cartoon as an animated Richard is sent on a journey by a wizard of sorts, "The Pagemaster" (also Christopher Lloyd). In this "dream state," Richard finds himself joined by three companions, talking books that represent different genres - "Ad-ven-ture" (voiced by Patrick Stewart as a stereotypical pirate), "Fantasy" (Whoopi Goldberg as a "Blue Fairy" variation) and "Horror" (a scary-looking character who is actually more frightened than frightening, voiced by Frank Welker). Together, they take a "Wizard of Oz"-like trek, looking for the exit and running into literary characters along the way - "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (Leonard Nimoy), Capt. Ahab and "Moby Dick," Long John Silver on "Treasure Island," etc. Though cleverly animated, these sequences lack any dramatic or comic point. Aside from a few lame attempts at humor by Goldberg, Stewart and Welker - attempts that sound like ad libs - the filmmakers seem satisfied simply to have re-created moments from classic books. But that's simply not enough to make a movie interesting for kids or parents. And the film drags on for what seems like hours . . . though it is actually just a scant 75 minutes. The players - and especially the voice actors - seem to be having fun, but that sense of fun does not translate to the audience. "The Pagemaster" is rated G, but does have some scary moments that may frighten little ones.

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Okfor ages12+