The Indian in the Cupboard
directed by Frank Oz
(Paramount, 1995)

The Indian in the Cupboard is a family movie that all ages can enjoy. Although billed as family adventure, I felt it was more along the fantasy line. The plot is an excellent one: 9-year-old Omri (Hal Scardino) is given an old cupboard for his birthday by his brothers. He places an Indian figurine into the cupboard and it comes to life. He discovers that whatever he places inside the cupboard comes to life, including a man-eating Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Omri becomes friends with the Indian, Little Bear (played by Litefoot) and begins an adventure of discovery into the ways of Indian life. His first lesson is that not all Indians lived in teepees. Little Bear lived in a longhouse and desires to build one for himself, instead of living in the teepee that Omri has provided. But when Omri takes him outside he is attacked by a bird and seriously wounded. How will Omri provide medical treatment for him? Will he live or die? You have to see this movie!

Hal Scardino did an excellent job of portraying a 9-year-old's reactions to a discovery like this. He is wonderfully "huggable" in the part and you have to root for him to find all the answers in time to avert the catastrophes that his youthful curiosity has created.

There are whimsical moments and outright funny ones, too. Some of Omri's "experiments" will crack you up. Only a 9-year-old would think of putting such a wide array of humans and creatures from different periods of time into the cupboard at the same time. By the way, Robocop does put in an appearance here. He is just too cool! But there are also some serious and somber moments, so prepare for a film that engages all your emotions. It is solid entertainment and provides all the elements of a good movie.

My least favorite character was Boo-Hoo Boone, the cowboy (played by David Keith). I had no tolerance for this character and wanted to slap him and scream: "Shut up!" Therefore, he must have been doing an outstanding job as his character in order to elicit such strong emotion.

I feel I would ruin the movie if I told you about my favorite character -- the true hero of this movie in my opinion. It would be a definite spoiler. So I will simply ask you to get a copy of the movie and spend the two hours enjoying it with your family. You will definitely not be disappointed, especially not by my hero, who must remain nameless in an effort to not sabotage your viewing experience. Enjoy.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 17 May 2003

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