When many people think of the child star Macaulay Culkin, they think of such blockbuster hits as "Home Alone", "Home Alone 2" "My Girl" "Richie Rich" or even "The Good Son". But for me "The Pagemaster" will be the epic classic that would change my childhood, and the way i look at films forever. This feel-good movie would be so timeless, so captivating, that it would influence my career as a artist. A story of friendship, courage, and just taking chances. Here is my tribute:
The original VHS.
It all began on a cold and rainy day in my suburban town of Sunshine. Being bored, i decided that 2 things would be appropriate in a situation like this: TV, or SNES. Being generally bored of the SNES, and ultimately passing Mega Man X3 one too many times, i decided that TV would be a more appropriate fit on this depressing Saturday afternoon. Flicking through the oh-so repetitive day time channels, and not wanting to even go near the cooking channels, i eagerly moved my way up to my favorite section, the movie channels. Watching the remaining 20 minutes of some romantic, mumbo jumbo, would prove to be rewarding. As i was sitting their watching the credits roll, i went to the kitchen to grab a quick refreshment of cordial, coming back to the room, i could see the "Coming up Next" logo. And their it was, like a messiah scripted to come into my life and forever alter the course of my existance. The Pagemaster coming up next.
Richard takes up the sword and shield to battle the dragon.
My eyes lit up, i quickly sat down and concreted myself on the couch, waiting for the commercials to go off. Being a big fan of "Who framed Roger Rabbit", this new movie/toon had all the elements that i loved, fantasy, horror, and adventure.
The story follows Richard Tyler (Macaulay Culkin) a fragile and over-cautious boy, who lives his life on facts and statistics, and his dad sends him on an errand to a local hardware store to pick up some nails, he gets caught in a storm. He escapes the monstrous thunder storm, by entering an old library, there he is greeted by the librarian Mr. Dewey (Christopher Lloyd). Searching for the phone, he stumbles in the center of the library, and slips on leaking water and hits his head, rendering him unconscious. Waking up he finds himself alone in the massive and antique library, staring in wonder at a painting on the sealing of dragons and wizards and pirates. Suddenly the paintings begins to drip its colour and before he can escape it engulfs his world in cartoon colour. Now Richard must fight his way through dragons, and pirates, and evil doctors, with the help of his 3 book friends, a stubborn and sometimes cocky Adventure (Patrick Stewart) a lovely and kind Fantasy (Whoopi Goldberg) and a shy and timid Horror (Frank Welker). With his new friends, he finds that he has got the strength that he thought he didn't, and that he can be brave and courageous in the eyes of death. He wakes up to find himself back in real life, feeling more confident then ever, upon returning home after the rain has stopped, he feels more complete and braver then before, understanding the true meaning of friendship.
Richard gets captured by Captain Long John Silver.
I got even more excited, where upon mere chance and coincidence, a few weeks later reading a game magazine, i learned that there was a Pagemaster video game for the SNES. And true to the story, you battled your way through the lands of Horror, Fantasy and Adventure, and you can call upon your friends for help, their was even a crazy river ride. All in all the game was good, and was fun to play.
The SNES box of the Pagemaster Game.
This story had very true and realistic moral values, friendship, courage, bravery, taking chances, and just being a good person to others is all it takes in life. I'm afraid movies or even cartoons like this don't exist today, its all about special effects and how cool the action scenes are, morals are forgotten it seems. But the drawing style of the characters was really well done, especially when he fights the dragon at the end to get home.
Screen shots from the SNES Game.
The choice of the actors was amazing, i really think Christopher Lloyd was sensational as the librarian in the real world, and as the Pagemaster in the world of the books. Whoopi Goldberg really was the perfect voice for fantasy, her smooth voice would make you feel relieved after some of the intense scenes. Frank Welker as the crazy Horror also was memorizing, his shy and often weird child-like behavior would make you actually feel sorry for him. But the voice actors award goes to Patrick Stewart as the always angry Adventure, he would at times make you angry at his stubbornness, make you laugh at his "Daring" and ruthless pirate like persona, and would make you feel sad when he realizes that he isn't so tough, but just needs friends to help him through.
After finishing watching this movie, i really was moved to emotions, don't ask me why, but i think it happens rarely with movies that the sheer power of the film can tingle all your emotions and wildest dreams. I still to this day own a VHS copy of this movie, and a DVD. But nothing makes me feel more nostalgic then watching it on VHS, especially since its the same tape i have been watching for more then 10 years now.
Hope you enjoyed reading this.