Making the Grades
The Pagemaster is a fantasy revolving around Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin), a young boy who is afraid of anything and everything. This typecast tyke with glasses cut from the bottom of pop bottles, has a hard time coping with tree houses, bicycles, and night. One day, dad sends him on a short errand to the hardware store. However, the local brats down the street are waiting for him causing him to look for what seems to be an around the world detour.
Soon, he winds up in a thunderstorm, forcing him to find refuge in an old library, where he meets none other than the Pagemaster (Christopher Lloyd). While looking for a telephone, Richard slips on the wet floor and is surrounded by an animated world, where books come alive, and classic stories are moulded into Saturday morning cartoon plots.
Richard soon finds three escorts that are little animated books named Fantasy, Adventure, and Horror. They take him to a classic story that is representative of each of their three genres. This is where I think the movie was trying to get kids excited about reading. Instead, it portrays the main characters of these stories as violent menaces, with no motivation for their actions. For instance, Dr. Jekyll wanders around drinking solutions that turn him into a raving monster, yet the reason for him doing so is never discussed.
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.