Eight-Year-Old Brandon Finds A Magical STORYBOOK That Leads Him To A Doorway In His Attic To The Enchanted Storyland. There He Meets Woody The Woodsman , Pouch The Boxing Kangaroo & Hoot ...
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Eight-Year-Old Brandon Finds A Magical STORYBOOK That Leads Him To A Doorway In His Attic To The Enchanted Storyland. There He Meets Woody The Woodsman , Pouch The Boxing Kangaroo & Hoot The Wise Owl. And They Set Out To Restore A Kingdom Taken From Prince Arthur By An Evil Queen Named Evilia And Her Pet Snake Named,Hiss . Written by
"Oh, for Satan's sake, did you put out the cheese?!"
As far as I can tell, STORYBOOK is the only fantasy film produced by the now-extinct PM Entertainment Group, which tended to crank out action B-movies. I wouldn't have minded seeing more of this type of film from them, if only because it would have been an opportunity to build on this one. STORYBOOK shows instances of potential but overall has limited appeal to anyone outside of the nostalgia crowd. Part of my disappointment comes of my wrong expectations, but by and large, the movie could stand to have been a lot better all around.
The story: In the midst of his troubling real-world life, young Brandon (Sean Fitzgerald) enters a fantasyland through his uncle's attic. Once there, he and his gathered friends will need to dispose of the usurping queen (Swoosie Kurtz) and enthrone the imprisoned prince (William McNamara) if Brandon is to ever go home again.
Plot-wise, this one ends up lifting a couple elements from bigger and better fantasy tales like THE NEVERENDING STORY, THE WIZARD OF OZ, and THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, but it's not offensive enough to make the movie seem like an outright copycat of anything. However, I'd have loved it if STORYBOOK had transplanted some of their weightiness, because my main complaint about this one is the lack of seriousness with which it treats its plot. The lead villainess is the main problem here: Swoosie Kurtz intentionally overacts the role, and the character's most devious acts include imposing a tickle torture on the prince. I know there was a G rating to adhere to, but coupled with the poor jokes in the script and the increasingly jokey characters Brandon & co. come across (particular Milton Berle as the wizard), it feels like a very milquetoast adventure with a very limited range of age appeal.
Of course, I don't mind all of the characters, but the ones that grew on me tended to be the non-human ones. Pouch the boxing kangaroo, Hoot the wise old owl, and Hiss the serpent sorcerer adhered to my affinity for puppets and costumed characters, and surprisingly, I think they're among the better-written ones. With that said, the puppetry has its ups and down. The special effects company had and would go on to work on major Hollywood productions to this day, but here it seems like their work was limited by budget: it's generally better than SESAME STREET but far from most of the aforementioned fantasy films. In addition, there's surprisingly little action here for a sword & sorcery outing, regardless of the rating: no swordfights, magic duels, or anything besides a couple comedic skirmishes. Plainly, it's a bit boring.
The end of the credits list teases a sequel, but as far as I know, that one never came to fruition and probably never will. Like I said before, I wouldn't have minded PM taking a second stab at fantasy, but seeing as there are far superior films of this variety out there, I don't consider it a huge loss. People who enjoyed it years ago will probably still like it, but I can't see it making many new fans.
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