1 October 2004 | BadWebDiver
My LEAST fav film version of this story
This is my least favorite film adaptation of this classic story (except for some very cheesy family TV series which had nothing in connection with the story except the title and the names of some of the characters!)
I think it is way stodgy, and over-patronizing. It's almost like a high-school English essay version of the novel written by a B-grade student who doesn't follow the language very well. Either that or an early reader version written for lower grade-school kids. Either way, the pacing is very slow and self-conscious. It is almost too obvious that this is a famous story, even the characters know it! And much as I like and respect Ron Howard as a child actor, he is way too old, gushy and patronizing in this.
My only real favorite moments were with Jack Elam as the "King", but that character virtually plays itself in nearly every version. (It's hard to imagine anyone not being fun in that - except for a very lame production indeed!) Ron's father Rance does moderately well as Pa, if a bit too quiet and self-consciously "literary" in the role.
OK, this is not supposed to be a docudrama, and most people (or at least most film reviewers) seem to prefer versions of classic stories that sound "classical" and have themes that stick out like a sore thumb. But even so, I still like both the previous Sherman Brothers' musical version; and both the Elijah Wood Disney version and the Patrick Day tele-series that came afterward a whole heap better than this.
(There are a few other versions I haven't seen yet, and would **really** like to. The Mickey Rooney version in particular.)