"Indian in the Cupboard" on DVD
Toy Story, too.
Though it sports a now-politically incorrect title (Shouldn't it be "The
Aboriginal in the Cupboard?"), this is an entertaining fantasy from director
Frank Oz and screenwriter Melissa Mathison.
Omri is turning nine years of age and for his birthday receives a rather
strange gift of an old wooden cupboard. It turns out, however, that this
is no ordinary cupboard because toys you put into it come to life when
the key is turned in its lock.
Well, doesn't Omri get keyed up here! Another gift is a plastic aboriginal,
er, Indian given to him by a friend of Indian (real Indian, not aboriginal)
descent (hey, we didn't start this politically correct claptrap!) which
when the cupboard's magic is worked on it becomes a miniature real life
Iroquois warrior called Little Bear (played by Litefoot). Neither little
Little Bear or big little kid Omri really know what's going on, but they
become friends anyway.
Then Omri's Indian-American friend Patrick, who gave him the plastic
American Indian in the first place, gets into the act and brings to life
a rootin' tootin' six gun wielding cowboy (David Keith). Well doesn't
that turn their little game of cowboys and Indians on its tiny little
The Indian in the Cupboard isn't a really great movie, especially considering
the talent behind the camera: Frank Oz has directed some very entertaining
movies, including "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Bowfinger" while Mathison
is famed for having written Steven Spielberg's "ET the Extraterrestrial"
and producers Kennedy and Marshall (the latter of whom is also a director)
worked for many years with Speilberg. Still it's entertaining enough,
and suitable for adults and children alike. There's only mild violence,
and the subject matter can encourage kids to think about such heavy topics
as the plight of Native Americans, the differences between reality and
fantasy, friendship, bullies and the like.
Hal Scardino is good as Omri. He has an "everykid" look and doesn't seem
too precious for his own good. The other performances are also quite believable,
even the little people. The film's special effects, where live people
are made to look small - while other live people are made to look gigantic
(depending on the perspective of the character) are very well done.
The DVD is digitally mastered, with anamorphic widescreen video on one
side and Pan&Scan on the other. Video quality is very good. Audio
is offered in Dolby Surround (not 5.1), and the sound is also very good.
Extras include a director's commentary track, photo gallery, talent files,
bonus trailers, and production notes.
The Indian in the Cupboard, from Columbia Tristar Home Video
96 min, anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 TV compatible/Pan&Scan,
Starring Hal Scardino, Litefoot, Lindsay Crouse, Richard Jenkins, Rishi
Bhat, and David Keith
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Jane Startz
Written by Melissa Mathison, Directed by Frank Oz
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think