Patrick Stewart: 5 Awesome Performances And 5 That Sucked
4. Adventure - The Pagemaster (1994)
When famous actors are recruited for animated children's films, they often use it either as an opportunity to showboat or an excuse to kick back and enjoy the paycheck. Long before Dreamworks made a habit of casting celebrities to pastiche themselves in the likes of Shark Tale, Ted Turner tried the same trick in a bid to educate American children. The result was The Pagemaster, a dull and dreary offering which really hasn't stood the test of time.
The Pagemaster stars Macaulay Culkin as Richard Tyler, a pessimistic pantophobe (he's afraid of everything) who bases all his behaviour upon statistics. Forced to shelter in a library during a thunderstorm, he meets an eccentric librarian (Christopher Lloyd) and ends up in a strange imaginary world with the title character. He is told to search for the exit, accompanied by three anthropomorphised books: Adventure (Stewart as a pirate), Fantasy (Whoopi Goldberg as a fairy) and Horror (Frank Welker as a 'hunch-book', geddit?).
Looking at The Pagemaster now, it's not hard to see why it bombed at the box office. Even with allowances for changing standards in animation, the story is preachy, thinly-written and makes the very least of its basic premise. Most of the jokes feel like cast-offs from Abbot and Costello movies, and Stewart again makes far too little of his character: it's just another stereotypical pirate with no real presence or memorable value. Put it this way: his brief and inconsequential appearance as a 19th-century ship's captain on the Star Trek holodeck was much more impressive.
Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.