13 February 2018
This is one of those unique films I’ve watched as a child under the age of 10 in the 80’s and as a grown man in my late 30’s. I grew up abroad so further to the unique factors I can add that I’ve seen the film in English and in German – so I have seen both the major versions (although there aren’t many differences truth be told). If you’d have asked me as a child what I thought of this I’d have been full of positives and compliments. It had good guys, bad guys, warriors, monsters and even a furry flying dragon/dog thing. It showed how a bullied bookworm dealt with his problems and became a hero in his own world. I’d have probably given this about 8 out of 10 (beaten of course by Transformers and He-Man movies). As a 35+ year old I can see all the flaws that I never saw as a child. For example, the bullied child steals a book from an old man, he cuts class to avoid a maths test, and then he breaks into a forbidden part of the school before emerging himself in a fantasy world – he’s a psychologist’s dream case!! OK, aside from the bad lifestyle choices this is still an enjoyable film; it got a surprising pace to it for a film of its era, almost constantly on the move. The film follows a young child reading a book but living the adventure that he’s reading until he becomes part of the adventure. He learns a lot about himself on the fantastical journey that he is witness to, either vicariously through the book or in the world that is created as a result of the story. I remember the CGI at the time was unparalleled; looking back it’s terrible and dated. My girlfriend has read the book and as a purist when it comes to entertainment media, when we re-watched this film as adults she remarked how the film was different from the book a few times. Reading trivia about the film I can see why and where too but let’s face it, not everybody is going to know what or where. If I stop being an adult for a minute I can actually still appreciate that this film is ok, even begrudgingly by today’s standards. I’d probably give the film 7 out of 10 nowadays so all in all when you roll that up with the 8 out of 10 I’d have given it as a child, this film scores alright still. Suspend your disbelief or put your child in front of this film and there’s still enjoyment to be had. As I can’t award half stars I’m going to make a stand and award this 7 out of 10.