I love Elijah Wood. In fact, he is one of my favorite actors. His performances in "The Good Son", "Happy Feet" and "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy" were all spectacular. I also like Alan Arkin. He's not one of my favorites, but I like him. He did a pretty good job in every movie I've seen him in apart from "The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause". So when I heard of this movie, I thought it might actually be pretty good. Until I read Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert's review. Quote: "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."-Roger Ebert. He. Was too. Nice.
First of all, this movies acting is down right awful. Elijah Wood, who plays North, does a downright awful job. It's probably one of the hardest thing's I've ever had to say in a review, but it is truly awful. Wood overacts and underacts, playing one of the most uninteresting and annoying characters I've ever seen. However, he was hardly the worst thing about the movie. That would be Matthew McCurley as Winchell, an evil 10 year old CEO with a diabolical plan to kill North. He shows about as much emotion as Matthew Broderick in Inspector Gadget and is about as menacing as "Turl" from "Battlefield Earth". I've seen more energetic acting from the Olsen Twins on "Full House".
This movie can also be extremely racist and stereotypical at times. For example, there is one VERY controversial scene in which North is visiting an Eskimo family, who banishes their grandfather to death because he can no longer help the tribe. It sounds like a really emotional scene, but if you see the movie, it was definitely intended to be a joke. #1: Eskimos only did that in times of FAMINE and when they did, it was a very heartbreaking and emotional scene. #2: To joke about something like that is incredibly insensitive, especially considering this is a kids film.
Speaking of jokes, this film is the farthest thing from funny there is. There is not ONE funny joke in this movie. Most of the time, they;re not even trying. It's like they read the script without any jokes, and then thought of a joke in like 2 seconds without looking it over. When they ARE trying, they try to hard, and the audience is confused over how it's supposed to be funny.
This movie also has absolutely no logic. Kids can;t just divorce their parents. Divorce is a very long and complicated process. It takes months, and North probably would have been caught by then. Also, this movie makes parents look really bad. Parent's are the authority figures, they're out to protect you, they;re not just uncool and mean jerks. Basically, the lesson of this movie is "Parents suck, and treat them with as little respect as possible"
This movie may be one of the absolute worst of the 90's. It's definitely in the top 10. No child should have to go through this kind of punishment. I'd rather watch "The Gameplan" and I absolutely HATED "The Gameplan".