So basically, tonight I got a massive craving for nostalgia and watched The Pagemaster. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Christopher Lloyd, and the voices of Whoopi Goldberg and Patrick Stewart, this 1994 half live-action half cartoon movie is about a boy who runs into a library during a storm, and quite literally gets lost inside the world of books.
This was one of my absolute favourite films as a kid. I'd always loved books, but I think the first time I went to a library was after I'd seen this film. I had it on cassette tape (remember those?) and I must have been about six years old.I was enchanted. The books come alive and literally become his friends.
But really, how many of us have felt like that in our lives? Like finishing a good book feels like making a new friend, or opening an old favourite feeling like opening the door to someone we love that hasn't visited for a while?
The main character, Rich, overcomes his fears with the help of the books. Now that hits me in the heart muscles. How often have books helped us readers overcome things? By helping us escape, teaching us lessons, or just being a welcome distraction from stress?
I feel like this film also really illustrates the importance of libraries. The books are so desperate to leave the library, to be checked out and read and appreciated. The adventure and excitement in this movie had me pumped to visit the library as a kid, and gods know we need kids to feel that these days.
And really, who of us doesn't identify with the librarian at the start? Getting all passionate and rambling about book recommendations and then getting seriously disappointed when he gets shot down. Come on, every time I say "Oh you'd love this book!" to someone and then they tell me they're not a reader, I want to cry. Actual tears want to leave my eyes.
Plus this movie is a great introduction for children to some really great classic stories. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, Moby Dick, Gulliver's Travels (which I read when I was 10 because I recognised it from this movie), Mother Goose fairy tales, Arabian Nights, Alice in Wonderland, Grimm's Fairy Tales and a thousand other small references are found written on the spines of the cartoon books.
All in all, The Pagemaster is a brilliant film (with a gorgeous soundtrack btw), that only brought me closer to the world of books as a kid. Every reader will love it.