The Pagemaster Reviews
There's nothing wrong with teaching kids the values of reading, but by skimming through each scene, by not giving two cares in the world about the books it is portraying, and to have the nerve to disguise all this mess underneath a costly fantasy animation. One must wonder what the 21 million dollar budget would've gone into instead of this dreck?
While much of the (ahem) expensive/big-name performances are bland to the bone, even annoying to some degree because of the direction and script, but Christopher Lloyd, in particular, comes across as straight-up creepy and frightening to younger audiences with his over-the-top performance.
To conclude, there exists video games, music, and other forms of art mediums that were out back in 1994 that properly taught the importance of literature to children and that list has only continued to grow over the years since. If you hate kids, then let them watch this film.
The acting is better than you'd expect. It feels like the actors were given this boring, cheesy, and pathetic script, but decided to put their all into their roles in order to make this movie as good as they can. They don't feel like they're phoning it in, it feels like they really are trying. Christopher Lloyd's performance as the librarian and The Pagemaster are good examples. Despite it being very over the top, you can tell he's trying his hardest to put something into these characters.
I also appreciate the character of Richard. I understand what the writers was trying to do and in the end they didn't do too bad, but it definitely could have been way better. The casting of Macaulay Culkin isn't too bad either. He definitely looks the part and his acting is ok (though pretty deadpan in the live action sequences). However, you can tell that he was mainly there to give the film some star power, and honestly I think they would have been better off with a newcomer.
Overall, the main problem of this film is it's script. It's preachy, corny, and pretentious. The lines and the dialogue are ok, but the way they handle this kind of story was pretty weak. However, it feels like the everyone else who worked on this project knew they had to try really hard to make it good and I appreciate there effort.