Omri, a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, receives an odd variety of presents for his birthday: a wooden cabinet from his older brother, a set of antique keys from his mother and a tiny plastic model of an Indian from his best friend Patrick.
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Omri (Hal Scardino), a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, receives an odd variety of presents for his birthday: a wooden cabinet from his older brother, a set of antique keys from his mother Jane (Linsday Crouse), and a tiny plastic model of an Indian from his best friend Patrick (Rishi Bhat). Putting them all together, Omri locks the Indian inside the cabinet, only to be awoken by a strange sound in the middle of the night. Omri opens the cabinet to discover that the tiny Indian has come to life; it seems that he's called Little Bear (Litefoot), and he claims to have learned English from settlers in 1761. Omri hides this remarkable discovery from his mother but shares it with Patrick; as an experiment, Patrick locks a toy cowboy into the cupboard, and soon Little Bear has a companion, Boone (David Keith), though predictably, the cowboy and the Indian don't get along well at first. Omri comes to the realizations that his living and breathing playthings are also people with lives of ...
I'm a sucker for nice kids, not those snotty ones seen so often in films from the '60s to the present. In here is a wonderful neat-looking little kid, Hal Sardino, who is unusual in that this is the only movie he ever starred in. To his credit, Scardino went on to live a "normal" life after this film, eventually going to college as a regular student like you and me with no celebrity status.
The film is anything but "normal," a fantasy about a young boy who receives a cupboard that transforms little toy figurines - in this case, an Indian and then a cowboy. - into miniature real-life people. Each time he opens or closes the box with the figures in them, they change to either real or back to plastic.
Scardino, who plays Omri," is fun to watch, if for no other reason than the great expressions on his face. He has to be one of the most likable children I've ever seen on film. Meanwhile, his best friend "Patrick" is the only villain, so to speak, only because he's a bit "defiant," as his mother labels him and he almost spoils everything for "Omri."
It's a solid family film that is fun for both the parents and kids to watch at the same time. Both will get a lot of entertainment out of it. With just a bit of profanity early on and a bit of obvious political correctness, there is nothing in here which should offend viewers. Critics didn't seem to care for it, so you know it truly was a nice, wholesome film....and fun to watch.
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