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The Pagemaster
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The Pagemaster More at IMDbPro »

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49 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

From the twilight of a legend gone too soon....

Author: pirate1_power from New York City
22 February 2002

Many of the titles featured in this Internet Movie Database represent films that for various reasons are welcomed with scorn regardless of the good intentions of their creators. One such film is David Kirschner's "The Pagemaster," created by him as a means to share with his two daughters, Alexis and Jessica (both of whom, by the way, have cameos in the film), the wonder of reading. The story was born out of a clandestine visit by David, Lexie and Jess Kirschner to the New York Public Library's Center for the Humanities (the Headquarters Branch). Both Kirschner girls were little back then, and Dad ran Hanna-Barbera at the time. But what those two chldren took out of that visit was a spectacular sense of wonder --- and, consequently, that's how their father developed the idea for "The Pagemaster."

Some 3 1/2 years later, the result of David's concept stands as a spectacularly imaginative adventure where the joy of reading is made manifest within the simple space of 75 minutes. What a lot of people grumble about, as far as this film is concerned, is the fact that this was Macaulay Culkin's penultimate appearance as a child actor. There were many in and out of Hollywood who wanted to see his career implode; and part of that, as we all know by now, was due to the bitter divorce and custdy battles between his parents. That, more than anything, was the lynchpin of the disgust most of us had for this kid.

And what of the film itself? Well, the story of Richard Tyler still enchants me, if it doesn't anyone else. Who wouldn't want to have adventures with three delightful book characters representing their namesake genres --- Adventure (Patrick Stewart), Fantasy (Whoopi Goldberg) and Horror (Frank Welker)? Not only that, encountering both Jekyll and Hyde (Leonard Nimoy), Captain Ahab (George Hearn), Long John Silver (Jim Cummings) .... and a fire-breathing dragon --- and taking them on any way you can is perfect fodder for an 11-year-old constantly fearing the world around him.

One particularly funny line in the film comes in the live-action prologue, co-starring Ed Begley, Jr. and Mel Harris as Richard's parents. Alan, the father (Begley), recalls to his wife Claire (Harris) the day he signed his son up for Little League Baseball: "...he drove everybody crazy with statistics about how you can get a blood clot just by being hit on the head with a ball. 'Did you know that shin-splints can lead to blood clots in the legs?' Claire, he brought in a medical journal! Nobody wanted to play after that! And now, I'm building him a treehouse in a tree he refuses to climb!" Looking back, it's not how Begley utters that line, but rather, it is the way he delivers it that makes me laugh.

And then, there's James Horner's delightful score, punctuated by the central theme tune --- recorded as a single by Capitol recording artist Wendy Moten. Entitled "Whatever You Imagine," the song, with lyrics by the indefatigable Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was even nominated for a Grammy, which, alas, it didn't win. But the tune was eventually embraced by yours truly; and has since been adopted as Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's personal song.

These are just some of the special memories I have about "The Pagemaster." But of course, it is the Pagemaster himself, voiced and spoken by Christopher Lloyd, who drives home the story's central point. It is he, more than anyone else, who gives Richard Tyler the strength he needs to confront his own fears, regardless of the world around him. The result, of course, is that, by the time our tale ends, Richard becomes a stronger and better person --- all thanks to the magic of books. I sincerely believe that, given the current popularity of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books, the wisdom of the Pagemaster is paying off, long after the film has been forgotten. After all, without books, we couldn't take on the imagination in our own way fearlessly. And that, I think, is as much reward as a young person needs in this world. 'Nuff said.

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32 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

I'M THE ONLY ONE WHO LOVES THIS MOVIE

Author: indiewastelander from West Virginia
14 January 2004

Okay, in 1994 I was obsessed with Macaulay Culkin. When I saw a trailer for this film, I couldn't wait to see it. When I went to see it though, my family and I were the only ones in the theatre! The same thing happened to my aunt and my cousins. I remember loving the film. I wanted that awesome bike he had. I got the videogame, and I got my copy on video. AND JAMES HORNER'S SCORE WAS AMAZING! I thought it was a good movie that had all the genres, even cooler that it was live action/animation. It's sad about it's bomb at the box office. It's quite a forgettable film, but I love it and I still do. Don't forget that Joe Johnston who is now quite acclaimed directed the live action scenes. Great for him.

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19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

I honestly don't understand the 4.8 rating, for I thought this movie was terrific!

10/10
Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
31 August 2009

The Pagemaster in my opinion, was a wonderful film, and I do think the 4.8 rating is too low. I have seen much worse movies, that are rated higher than that. Sure it's not Disney, but it is a good family film that I guarantee if you give it a chance that the whole family will love. The animation is not so bad, perhaps a little dated and rushed, but I've seen worse, and the dragon was excellent. The music by James Horner was beautiful, very fitting with what was going on on screen, very reminiscent of Land Before Time and Once Upon a Forest, and Whatever You imagine was amazing. The story tells of a young boy named Richard, who is serious and fearful of everything, until an unexpected visit to the library changes his life forever. I loved the story and the clever and diverse references to the literary giants, like Treasure Island, Jekyll and Hyde and Moby Dick, and the message of the film about facing your fears that doesn't preach. Macaulay Culkin is excellent here as is Christopher Lloyd, and Patrick Stewart (rousing and witty), Whoopi Goldberg (sugar and starch) and Frank Welker (in a fine Igor impression) expertly bring the snappy screenplay to life. I loved the witty banter between Adventure and Fantasy, and the librarian's rant about the different literary genres. And I don't think it is Macaulay Culkin or Christopher Lloyd's worst film, Culkin's was Richie Rich, Lloyd's was My Favourite Martian. All in all, a terrific film, with a 10/10. Bethany Cox

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25 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

This movie deserves a place in your collection!

Author: Fairy_Godmoose from U.S.
31 August 2004

It's a great movie. This kid, Richard Tyler, played by young Macaulay Culkin, is really paranoid, and always talks about injury-related statistics. During a frightening storm, he takes temporary refuge from the rain in a library, run by the eerie Mr. Dewey, played by Christopher Lloyd. Richard is instructed to find a pay phone so he can tell his parents where he is.

In the middle of the library, there's a huge ceiling painting of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Long John Silver and his crew from Treasure Island, Captain Aham and Moby Dick, a fierce dragon, and in the center, an old man with a long white beard and nobleman clothes holding a scroll. The ceiling starts dripping paint, and the globs are transformed into a huge dragon, which transforms everything it touches into animation. Richard, now a cartoon, meets the old man, the Pagemaster, who tells him that to get out of the library and return to normal, he must past three tests, described only as adventure, horror, and fantasy.

Soon, he also meets three hilarious talking books. The first, Adventure, played by Patrick Stewart, is probably the funniest guy in the movie. The second, Fantasy, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is also funny, but it's because of her attitude. The third, Horror, played by Frank Welker, is a brain-dead coward who looks like Frankenstein's Monster. With his three new friends, Richard has to pass the tests to get his normal form back, admittance to the exit, and most of all...the courage he never thought he had.

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23 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Peters Out Quickly

4/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
1 July 2006

The beginning of this movie is excellent with tremendous sound and some nice humor, but once the film changes into animation it quickly loses its appeal.

One of the reasons that was so, at least for me, was that the colors in much of the animation are too muted, with too little contrast. It doesn't look good, at least on VHS. Once in a while it breaks out and looks great, but not often Also, the characters come and go too quickly. For example, I would have liked to have seen more of "Moby Dick." When the film starts to drag, however, it picks up again with the entrance of the dragon and then the film finishes strong.

Overall, just not memorable enough or able to compete with the great animated films of the last dozen years.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

J'adore!

10/10
Author: Fanny from Sweden
10 June 2010

- It's in the middle, by the waterfall! - No, it's East.. by some broccoli.

I'm sorry. But I absolutely love this movie! I remember it so well from when I was a kid, how I watched it over and over again, never getting tired of it. For years I have been wanting to see it again, but I couldn't remember what it was called. And when I Finally found it, I was a bit scared to actually see it. I mean, whenever you have had so high expectations on a movie (especially one that you've seen and loved as a child) you always in some way get more or less disappointed. But this time I have to say I didn't!

Sure, the colors and contrast isn't as powerful as it could be and the part where he gets chased by the color isn't half as realistic as I remembered it too be, but for a 4-yearold (which I was at the time this came out) it's more than enough to get the engines running! This movie is partially responsible for my massive interest and collection of fantasy-books and movies at home, as well as my ridiculous fear of thunder. I mean, come on, it's really nicely put together! It's got it all! Plus, even if they are only in there for a short period of time, you build up an interest for all the stories you come across throughout the story, like Moby Dick and Dr Jekyll. And that was the intention of the maker of this move, right? To get the children into reading. At least I remember asking my mum to read all those stories to me after seeing this!

Okey, maybe I'm letting myself get a bit carried away.. I'll be honest, If I hadn't seen this as a kid or had kids myself, I probably wouldn't think that much of it. It's a bit dated which we all can tell and with todays technology you could make this 10 times better . But setting that aside, this is a timeless story! And I hope that when I have kids myself, this movie will help them get their lazy asses away from the computer and into the library.

In the end I will not rate this movie from an adult living in our time's point of view, but from the heart of a little girl. And never the less, this adults heart still beats hard for this movie.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Get away from the computer and read a book, gosh darn it!

7/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
3 May 2006

"The Pagemaster" may have been the only really good movie that Macaulay Culkin ever did. Playing accident-obsessed youngster Richard Tyler, who goes to the library and gets transferred into a world of horror, fantasy and adventure, he makes the most of the role. Patrick Stewart (a pirate-like book named Adventure), Whoopi Goldberg (a fairy-like book named Fantasy) and Frank Welker (a maladroit book named Horror) show themselves to be as adept in these kinds of movies as they are in their normal roles, as does Christopher Lloyd (the librarian and the Pagemaster).

All in all, this movie really shows you how much there is to read. I think that my favorite scene was the whole Jekyll and Hyde sequence - although the dripping painting was also pretty impressive. A very well done movie. Also starring Ed Begley Jr., Mel Harris, and the voices of Leonard Nimoy, Dorian Harewood and Phil Hartman.

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

this movie only has a 4.8? this movie was like, 70% my childhood!

9/10
Author: dead_pool09 from United States
25 January 2010

I loved this movie as a kid, and hell, I STILL do. Some of the cgi doesn't holdup as well, but then again, this is 2010 and that was 1994, so I'll cut that some slack. Yeah, maybe from an adult's POV this movie isn't so incredible, but then again, this is a movie made for kids, and I liked it as a child. It was a lot of fun, and It's still, easily, my favorite animated (slash live-action) film of all-time. I knock it down from a 10 because of the running time (about 75 minutes) but other than that, I see nothing bad about this film. A fantastic ride from start to finish, this epic tale of a young boy who is way to afraid of everything who's path leads him to courage is one I'll never forget. A Truly underrated movie.

9/10

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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Part of my childhood

7/10
Author: Tommy Nelson from Long Beach, California
10 December 2007

Just because something is part of my childhood doesn't mean it's good, and this movie is really not a great animated film. It's got a nice message, and it looks good, but the premise of jumping from storybook to storybook gets tiring by the end.

Richard Tyler (McCaulay Culkin) is a scaredy cat who's always getting picked on. On a stormy night he gets stuck in a library, and ends up animated with several book friends. He meets Fantasy (Whoopie Goldberg), Adventure (Patrick Stewart) and Horror (Frank Welker), and he goes through many famous books. The plot is very slim, and kind of just jumps around from book to book, but it actually works very well. This also has a great musical score and it manages to make the movie sad at times. Unlike many animated films, you actually come to like the characters by the end, and that's hard to do.

"The Pagemaster" is a very underrated, good animated movie that will appeal to kids and will amuse adults.

My rating: *** out of ****. 70 mins. Rated G

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

People have lost too much imagination over the years!!!

9/10
Author: Amsomnia Studios (lerkim@gmail.com) from Denmark
22 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I only review the movies I really adore, some will slip that I don't adore but this one isn't one of them, it seems that over the years people have lost a lot of imagination, it seems as we go through the future we realize what cannot be true is so phony, but as I see it people will return to it one time, I am still a really liker of imagination, but people today don't wanna believe the things that no one can believe, so because of that this movie haven't got a lot of good reviews, I want to do this movie justice...

The pagemaster is made for kids and adults who still dreams, it isn't the most serious movie at all but it does have some spots that has deemed it serious, mostly it is a movie that should be taken lightly.

This movie wants us to be taught something like many others of its nature, in this movie we are taught two major things first 1. to take choices and not be afraid, to do things we normally would be a afraid of as a child, second 2. it teaches us the main thing, to believe, simply just to believe, we all know none of this is real but why do we have to disband these movies, they are imagination, fantasy something many today could need a whole lot more of.

This movie is also done very good by the actors, they chose the right actors for every voice in the movie, but my favorite is of course Christopher Loyd as the Pagemaster, the one who granted a single wish for a kid who were afraid of everything.

The music is perfect in this movie, as it is a fantasy music like this is needed, this is something people and companies have at least kept forever and haven't still forgot, now if only they would do the same for fantasy, for imagination, we all have a child in us, why grow up so fast, we get to be mature but that doesn't mean we have to let go the things that made us into what we are today, many of these movies have been forgotten but they will always stay inside us, so now it is time to say that this movie is all that it is a classic, a classic people just forgot.

As I said above I only do reviews of movies I like, not movies I don't like so of course this is one of my favorite, I grew up watching movies like this, enjoy it, and for do yourself a favor and watch it again, slowly fall inside imagination, just one more time, it is worth it...

"Shh I have a talent for guessing what people need"

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