Omri, a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, receives an odd variety of presents for his birthday: a wooden cabinet from his older brother, a set of antique keys from his mother and a tiny plastic model of an Indian from his best friend Patrick.
Omri (Hal Scardino), a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, receives an odd variety of presents for his birthday: a wooden cabinet from his older brother, a set of antique keys from his mother Jane (Linsday Crouse), and a tiny plastic model of an Indian from his best friend Patrick (Rishi Bhat). Putting them all together, Omri locks the Indian inside the cabinet, only to be awoken by a strange sound in the middle of the night. Omri opens the cabinet to discover that the tiny Indian has come to life; it seems that he's called Little Bear (Litefoot), and he claims to have learned English from settlers in 1761. Omri hides this remarkable discovery from his mother but shares it with Patrick; as an experiment, Patrick locks a toy cowboy into the cupboard, and soon Little Bear has a companion, Boone (David Keith), though predictably, the cowboy and the Indian don't get along well at first. Omri comes to the realizations that his living and breathing playthings are also people with lives of ...
by Litefoot and Big Will
Performed by Litefoot
Courtesy of Red Vinyl Records
A division of Litefoot Entertainment, Inc. See more »
Sentimental, Charming and Nostalgic
I might be coming from a bit of a biased angle here but I remember seeing this film countless times growing up. It was recorded from TV on a blank VHS tape by my grandmother and I will never forget those days watching it over at her house. The point is, if I seem a bit too positive about this film, it's because I will always associate it with those childhood memories.
With that said, The Indian in the Cupboard is a perfectly fine film. As someone who likes films that are on a smaller scale, I do enjoy this, more or less, slice-of-life style and it is actually quite refreshing with its slower pace and more relaxed cinematography when compared to many of the big blockbuster films that come out today.
One thing I really have to commend this film for are its visual effects. Bringing to life the idea of tiny people and big people interacting and existing in the same frame, as well as the environments the little people are in have aged surprisingly well. I will admit, when revisiting this film, I was a little apprehensive about whether or not the special effects would hold up, as even some of the big blockbusters from years later that rely heavily on special effects don't hold up over time. 25 years later, however, this film still looks as good as it did to me back when I was a kid. I was pleasantly surprised as, by no means did I ever think that anything in this film looked too artificial or bad in any way.
The soundtrack, I remember, was one of my favorite aspects of this film back when I was a kid, and it too, stands the test of time. Not only does it help sell the sentimental direction of the film, but it also helps to serve as something of a time capsule of what the 90s were kind of like.
I can't help but feel like this film is a genuine product of the 1990s, but not the obnoxious side of it that is constantly celebrated across the internet. I think it captures the 90s in more of a down-to-earth sense. It's difficult to explain but the side of the 90s it captures is that good-feeling and a sense of innocence that I believe many people are nostalgic for. For me personally, while watching this it seemed only natural that after it was over, I would go and play a Super Nintendo game or something. This film really does a good job at taking one back to the simpler times, I think.
For the most part, the acting in this film is fine. The only real note about it I have is that sometimes Omri's reaction shots look less like reactions and more like blank stares, and since they hold those particular shots for long periods of time, they kind of alternate between funny and unsettling. But it isn't fair to criticize child actors too much, and other than that, the kids in this film do an excellent job at portraying kids. Sometimes films that use child actors have the tendency to have child actors act like the adult director's approximation of how a kid would act and as a result, it comes off as very silly- this film does not have that problem and I'm happy that that's the case.
I think the thing that keeps this film from crossing into a higher score, for me, is that, while I greatly enjoyed it, I'm not sure if it would be considered something necessarily special by someone who does not have a history with it like I do. With that said, I do highly recommend it as I think it is a film worth seeing for a number of reasons. I was sure this was more of a Hallmark-type of film, but it got a theatrical release and, perhaps, it's of higher quality as a result? I highly recommend it and I can't do so enough.
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