Indian In The Cupboard: 20th
(1995, 2005, 1995/Sony Blu-rays)
B+ Sound: B+ Extras: B Films: B/C+/B-
the anticipated new young adult adaptation of the beloved children's
horror/fantasy series Goosebumps coming to the big screen,
Sony has released these three other young adult fantasy films that
have been upgraded and reissued for the Blu-ray format. Growing up
with Jumanji and The Indian in the Cupboard, I am
surprised at how well they hold up after all these years. I would
definitely suggest these for young audiences or maybe even adults,
like me, that like to get nostalgic with films from their youth.
20th Anniversary Edition
is a high concept film that was really revolutionary when it came out
in terms of computer generated effects and features strong direction
from Joe Johnston (Captain America: First Avenger) and its
stars Robin Williams, (a very young) Kirsten Dunst, and Bradley
Pierce (The Borrowers). Centering around a mystical board
game that has the abilities to transport players into its beautiful
yet deadly world whilst at the same time, has the ability to bring
creatures (some familiar like elephants and monkeys to more and
fantastical exotic deadly plants) from its world into ours. There
were whispers recently that Sony has been considering rebooting this
film and I hope, for our sakes, that is still a ways off from
happening, especially in the recent wake of Williams' passing.
those not familiar, the story centers on 12-year-old
Alan Parrish (Williams), who becomes trapped in a board game while
playing with his best friend Sarah Whittle in 1969. Twenty-six years
later, siblings Judy (Dunst) and Peter Shepherd find the game and
begin playing and then unwittingly release the now-adult Alan. After
tracking down Sarah, the quartet resolve to finish the game in order
to undo all of the destruction it has caused while a Big Game Hunter
from the board game crosses into modern day and is hot on their
trail, upping the stakes and forcing them to do whatever it takes to
finish the game before it destroys everything they've known.
are many charming characters in the film, including the Monkeys that
often end up hijacking a cop car and firing off a gun, Elephants and
Rhinos that stampede through the town, and many great set pieces
including the Parrish House eventually splitting in two under the
pressure of the game.
film is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect
ratio of 1.85:1 and a spectacular DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that
amplifies the original sound track and brings the action right into
your home. There are also several other foreign language tracks on
the disc in Dolby Digital 5.1 including Japanese, Portuguese, French,
and Spanish. While it appears to be the same transfer and sound mix
from a previous release, if you haven't purchased the film on Blu-ray
yet then this is the edition to get as it has some great bonus
material not available before.
the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and
Reflection on Jumanji
animated storybook excerpts from Jumanji (the book), narrated by
author Chris Van Allsburg
episodes of the 1996 Jumanji: The Animated Series TV show
Effects Crew Commentary
extras from an earlier release including a Making-of Documentary,
Production Design Documentary, SFX Featurette, and Storyboard
Indian In The Cupboard: 20th Anniversary Edition
remember falling in love with this book as a child as it was always a
fascinating concept of a child's toys coming to life. I even
remember owning the clamshell VHS release where the reversible
slipcase acted as the cupboard and you were given a plastic key and a
toy Indian to put inside to recreate the iconic scene from the
film... what fond movie marketing memories!
coming out the same year as Disney/Pixar's Toy Story, the two
have similar themes and definitely drink from the same Kool-Aid.
Directed by Yoda himself, Frank Oz, and starring Hal Scardino,
Litefoot, Steve Coogan, and Richard Jenkins the film has never looked
better than it does here on the Blu-ray format. It was also
interestingly adapted from the original story by Melissa Matheson,
the famed screenwriter of E.T. , which makes me wish more than
ever than Spielberg would have directed this one.
given an old cupboard for his birthday, Omri soon discovers that it
holds within it the special ability to bring his plastic toys to
life. Befriending a small Indian named Little Bear (played by
Litefoot), he soon helps him in building his own tent and helping him
face many obstacles that a man of his size would face in our world.
When Omri takes Little Bear outside, he is injured by a Pigeon and
soon Omri must bring a First World War British Army
medic named Tommy Atkins (Steve Coogan), to treat Little Bear's
wound. For Star Wars fans, there is also a great cameo
by Darth Vader too!
telling his friend and bringing to life a few other characters, he
soon discovers that his cupboard is gone and missing the key he
originally had to open it. Will he be able to help Little Bear on his
quest and return him to his magical world?
almost seems like this is a forgotten film in many ways when you
compare it to Jumanji or Zathura as young adult fare. There were even
other books in the series that followed but were never made into
films. I find it interesting that with a great story like this that
it hasn't been remade or re-imagined with a new cast. While still
slightly dated, the film does hold up and really does look great on
film is presented in 1080p high definition and looks crystal clear on
Blu-ray with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a DTS-HD Master
Audio 5.1 track. There's also a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track on
the disc as well. As I mentioned before, this film has never looked
better than it does here.
Features on the disc include
the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and a Reflection on The
Indian in the Cupboard
Bear: A Return to The Indian in the Cupboard Featurette: Litefoot who
famously played Little Bear looks back at this iconic role.
features include commentary from Director Frank Oz
10th Anniversary Edition
as a sort-of sequel to Jumanji, the Jon Favreau directed space
adventure lands on Blu-ray. While coming out in 2005, ten years
after Jumanji, the film holds up with breathtaking special
effects. Now this one doesn't quite hold the same nostalgic
qualities to me as the former, I still think Zathura is a fun
watch and certainly a great family film.
(Jonah Bobo of Crazy
and Walter (Josh Hutcherson of The
are two brothers who barely get along with each other or their family
including their older sister (Kristen Stewart) who tries to ignore
them. Despite their squabbling, the brothers manage cooperate enough
to play an old mechanical board game named Zathura.
after their first move, they find that the game has apparently flung
them, their sister, and their entire house into outer space.
Furthermore, the brothers surmise the only way to return home is to
finish the game. However, with almost every move, new dangers arise
as the siblings find themselves learning to cooperate in ways they
never expected as they realize what they mean to each other as they
face off against Astronauts, Robots, and strange Aliens.
in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and
a powerful DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, the film has never looked
or sounded better than it does here as well.
the cast of Goosebumps: Goosebumps Sneak Peek and a Reflection on
animated storybook version of Zathura (the book), narrated by author
Chris Van Allsburg
with Jon Favreau and Peter Billingsley
Making of Zathura
Cast of Zathura
Robots and Frozen Lisa
and the World of Zathura
World of Chris van Allsburg
in all, these three Sony releases are definitely worth the Blu-ray
upgrade if you don't have them yet or if you are yearning for more
supplemental material. They are all three fun films and are full of
great special effects, great acting, and high end directing that will
be sure to please both young adults and adults as well. One can only
hope that the upcoming Goosebumps film can capture the same
sense of awe and wonder that these films did upon their release,
while still staying true to its source material. Time will tell but
at least we will always have Jumanji.
James Harland Lockhart V