Huckleberry Finn is a young boy in the 1840s, who runs away from home, and floats down the Mississippi River. He meets a run away slave named Jim and the two undertake a series of ... See full summary »
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Jean Marie Barnwell
Huckleberry Finn is a young boy in the 1840s, who runs away from home, and floats down the Mississippi River. He meets a run away slave named Jim and the two undertake a series of adventures based on the Picaresque novel by Mark Twain. As the story progresses the duo exploit an array of episodic enterprises, while Huckleberry slowly changes his views of bigotry. Along the way, Huck and Jim meet the King and Duke, who ultimately send the protagonists towards a different route on their journey. As Huck begins to have a change of heart, he gradually begins to distinguish between right and wrong, and conclusively, Huck is faced with the moral dilemma between the world's prejudice, of which he's grown up with, and the lessons Jim has taught him throughout the story about the evils of racism. Written by
One of the best live-action version of a classic children's story.
I consider this film to be one of the top five best versions of a classic children's story. In some film adaptations, you get the impression the writer has put the characters on pedestals, and the actors are playing them like they're afraid of falling off. This film isn't like that at all.
When I was going to see this film, I thought "I bet they chicken out of the feud scene, and I bet they have Huck say something at the end like 'Y'know, I sorta had a funny feeling my whole life slavery's actually a very bad thing' (or something equally corny)". I'm happy to say I was wrong on both accounts. The feud scene is handled very intelligently for a family movie, capturing the emotion without resorting to SAVING PRIVATE RYAN-style blood & guts (which I don't think would suit a world-famous children's story). And the slavery issue is dealt with head-on, being one of the prime dramatic themes of the story. One of my favorite moments is when Huck is asked by some river folk whether the companion on his raft is black or white. Huch thinks for a moment, and then replies "He's white!" That scene makes up for the famous letter writing scene in the novel, which other versions have included.
Elijah Wood really makes his character shine with impish personality and a casual chatting delivery (and this is still my all-time favorite role of his). He is ably supported by Ron Perlman as Pa, as well as Jason Robards & Robbie Coltrane as the rascally King & Duke. Heck, even Anne Heche looks classy. I am very impressed with a film when it does a scene which I'd actually forgotten about, in this case it was the "Missy Finn" bit. My only disappointment was that Tom Sawyer got reduced to a one-line cameo at the beginning (and it doesn't handle any revivalist preaching satire).
FYI, I haven't seen the Mickey Rooney, Jackie Coogan or Jeff East versions yet, but this one is going to be hard to beat. The only other films that I've seen which come close to this are the Ted Turner & Disney versions of TREASURE ISLAND, and David Lean's OLIVER TWIST. Also the later PETER PAN (2003) is right on par with this in excellent classic storytelling.
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