I I hate to say it but 'The Pagemaster' isn't as good as I remember


Richard Tyler is a pessimistic 10 year old who lives his life based on statistics. He's afraid to do anything remotely adventurous due to the probability that he could fail or get hurt. While running an errand for his parents he gets caught in a storm and ends up at a library where he gets turned into an animated illustration and goes on an amazing adventure.

On this adventure, he learns how to be more courageous and makes some friends along the way.
The story is one that we’ve have heard countless times where the cowardly boy earns courage and faces his fears, but this story is executed in such a creative way. It’s a live-action animation hybrid and having both in the film sets it apart from other animated movies at the time.


Macaulay Culkin is the focus of the movie, we follow his journey and see the film through his eyes. He’s not as charming and likeable as he is in Home Alone but he delivers a convincing performance. If someone was going to play a character like Richard it would be him.
The voice acting in this movie is done by some incredibly talented people, like Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart and they do a passable job, at no point was I unconvinced which a testament to their talents. A lot of the other actors with the exception of Christopher Lloyd and Leonard Nimoy are largely unknown actors who don’t have a lot of notable process of work and they all do heuristic jobs adequately.
Nothing here blew me away but I wasn’t really expecting that in this movie.


The story as mentioned earlier is on the generic side. The story of the boy overcoming an obstacle. In Richard’s case, it’s cowardice, he’s afraid of everything and at of the story he does things he wouldn’t be caught dead doing at the beginning of the movie.
Despite the fact that the moral of the story is one that is applicable to people of all ages, the sorry feels very hollow.

Animation/Set Design 

This movie was released in 1994 and can’t compare to some of its animated counters parts that were released around this time. It looks more like a Saturday morning cartoon than an animated film with a wide cinema release.
After doing some research I found that this film cost $27 million, just over half of the budget of ‘The Lion King’ which was released 5 months prior.  The difference in two films animation styles is very evident and as an animation snob it’s not something I can ignore.
Not to say that the animation is bad, but it’s not as good as I remember when I was little and is very reflective of be budget
There is a correlation between good animation and a good movie but the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
With a bigger animation budget, the movie as a whole could have been a lot better.


The score was done by James Horner who is a musical genius but it like this movie is largely forgettable. The score reminds me of the Rainbow Monkey song from ‘Codename Kids Next Door’ and incense you hear it, that’s all will remind you of. I guarantee it.
The song in the middle was cute but didn’t have the impact I expected it to have.

 Overall Thoughts

I said to my brother as I wrote this “ The movie always get like there was more going on” and he said that was always down to nostalgia and I agree. That doesn’t mean that the movie is bad but I felt that there was something missing. Looking at it objectively ‘The Pagemaster is a good movie but it’s also a boring movie. This is one of those movies you love as a kid but find more boring as an adult. I’ve previously said this film was underrated and having watched it I think I was looking at it through rose tinted glasses.
With such an original premise, this film should be better than it is.