The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
September 20, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“”The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” is a fun, fantasy-adventure film for the entire family and a classic family film that I recommend!
Image courtesy of © 1995 Paramount Pictures Corporation and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition
FILM RELEASE: 1995
DURATION: 96 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Surround, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG (Mild Language and Brief Video Images of Violence and Sexy Dancing)
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Based on the book by Lynn Reid Banks
Directed by Frank Oz
Screenplay by Melissa Mathison
Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Jane Startz
Executive Producer: Robert Harris, Marty Keltz, Bernard Williams, Deborah Forte
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography by Russell Carpenter
Edited by Ian Crafford
Casting by Kate Kennedy, Margery Simkin
Production Design by Leslie McDonald
Art Direction by Tony Fanning
Costume Design by Deborah Lynn Scott
Hal Scardino as Omri
Litefoot as Little Bear
Lindsay Crouse as Jane
Richard Jenkins as Victor
Rishi Bhat as Patrick
Steve Coogan as Tommy
David Keith as Boone
Sakina Jaffrey as Lucy
Vincent Kartheiser as Gillon
Nestor Serrano as Teacher
Celebrate the 20th anniversary of this enchanted classic, now for the first time on Blu-ray! On his ninth birthday, Omri is presented with many gifts – the most unusual being a cupboard. But this is no ordinary wooden box. It is endowed with magical power that transforms Omri’s plastic toy figurines into living creatures. The first miniature to be animated is a 19th Century Iroquois warrior named Little Bear, who is terrified at first by his alien surroundings but soon bonds with hisgigantic playmate. But when Omri’s friend, Patrick, gets in on the act and brings a six-shooting cowboy (David Keith, U-571) to life, their fantastic secret is in danger of being revealed. The Indian in the Cupboard is terrific family entertainment from director Frank Oz (Bowfinger) and Melissa Mathison, the writer of E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial.
Frank Oz will be known as an actor who did the voice of “Yoda” for the “Star Wars” films and animated series, the voice of “Sesame Street” characters Bert, Grover, Cookie Monster and “Muppets” Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Sam the Eagle to name a few. As a director, Oz will be known for films such as “The Dark Crystal”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, “What About Bob?”, “Death at a Funeral”, to name a few.
But one fantasy film that families and children will remember is his 1995 fantasy-adventure film “The Indian in the Cupboard”, an adaptation of Lynn Reid Banks children’s novel.
The film would star Hal Scardino (“Marvin’s Room”, “Searching for Bobby Fischer”), Litefoot (“Mortal Kombat: Annihilation”, “Adaptation”, “Kull the Conqueror”), Lindsay Crouse (“The Insider”, “House of Games”, “Mr. Brooks”), Richard Jenkins (“Jack Reacher”, “The Cabin in the Woods”, “Step Brothers”), Steve Coogan (“Philomena”, “Alan Partrtidge”), David Keith (“An Officer and a Gentleman”, “Behind Enemy Lines”, “U-571”) and Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”, “Alpha Dog”, “In Time”).
And now, with the 20th anniversary of the film, “The Indian in the Cupboard” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in Sept. 2015.
“The Indian in the Cupboard” revolves around a boy named Omri (portrayed by Hal Scardino). On his ninth birthday, he receives an old cupboard from his brother Gillon (portrayed by Vincent Kartheiser) and he also receives a little plastic Indian figure from his best friend Patrick (portrayed by Rishi Bhat).
Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a key to lock up the cupboard but his mother Jane (portrayed by Lindsay Crouse) has a collection of keys that she has kept overtime.
One day, as Omri goes through his mother’s box of old keys, he finds a gold colored key which has a red ribbon tied on it, trying it, he is able to open the cupboard. He puts his Indian figure inside the cupboard and locks it up overnight.
The following morning, when he goes to open the cupboard, the Indian figure has turned into a real being.
At first, the Indian is frightened by Omri’s huge height, but considers him a great spirit in child’s form. And overtime, he finds out that the Indian is an 18th-century Iroquois Indian named Little Bear (portrayed by Litefoot). He also learns that Little Bear was fighting in the French and Indian War for the British and that his wife is dead.
As the two become very good friends, he takes Little Bear outside but he gets hurt by a pigeon. Needing quick thinking to help his little friend, Omri uses his brother’s First World War British Army medic figure, Tommy Atkins (portrayed by Steve Coogan) and puts him in the cupboard to make him real and to help Little Bear’s injuries.
Learning more about Little Bear, Omri tries to surprise him by creating a friend by putting an Indian Chieftain figure in the cupboard. But as Little Bear is surprised by how Omri tried to bring the Chieftain to life, the Chieftain suffers a heart attack due to fear and Omri is frightened to see it die.
At first Little Bear is confused as why Omri would be scared but then learns that Omri is a child. Little Bear explains that before he disappeared, he was helping his nephew through the woods to become a man, before he was taken away. And explaining to Omri that he shouldn’t tamper with magic that he doesn’t understand.
But being a child, what happens when Omri is given a cowboy and horse figure by his friend Patrick and tries to turn them both alive? And what happens when Omri tells Patrick about how he can make toys turn alive?
“The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality is fantastic as detail on close-up of faces show detail. Skin tones are natural and black levels are nice and deep and shoes no color fluctuations considering the film’s age. Grain is visible and for the most part, this film looks very good on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French 5.1 Dolby Digital. The lossless soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue and music. There are moments that have action sequences that utilize the surround channels but for the most part, this is dialogue and music driven soundtrack.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH and French.
“The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Frank Oz.
- Little Bear: A Return to the Indian in the Cupboard – (13:10) An interview with actor Litefoot.
- Archival Theatrical Making-Of Featurette – (3:19) The original making-of featurette.
- Goosebumps Sneak Peek (12:51) A sneak peek at the 2015 film “Goosebumps”.
- The Cast of Goosebumps Reflects on the Indian in the Cupboard – (5:19) Dylan Minette and Ryan Lee of the “Goosebumps” 2015 talks about their favorite moments from “Indian in the Cupboard”.
- Original Theatrical Trailer 1
- Original Theatrical Trailer 2
“The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover.
It’s been a long time since I last watched “The Indian in the Cupboard” and as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are currently releasing their popular adventure fantasy films celebrating anniversaries such as “The Indian in the Cupboard”, “Jumanji” and “Zathura: A Space Adventure”, what better time than to share this film that many have grown up with, with their own family.
Sure, we have been spoiled with the animated “Toy Story” films but back then, with the release of “The Indian in the Cupboard”, this was a fantasy film that captivated children of a magical key that works with a cupboard that turns a young boy’s Indian figure to a real (albeit a miniature-sized) being.
But what I enjoyed about the film is how the young boy Omri, grows from the experience but also learns about the Indians and learning from Little Bear and the cowboy Boone, how these two enemies can actually become friends. And perhaps they can learn from each other.
It was also a positive family film featuring a Native American actor who helps Omri grow from his experience and for the most part, the film is enjoyable from beginning to end and just grateful for the release of this film 20-years later, as I can now share it with my family.
As for the Blu-ray release, “The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” features solid picture quality (with grain intact) and colors not subdued by the film’s age. You also get a few new and classic special features included in this 20th Anniversary Blu-ray release, especially an interview with actor Litefoot on playing the character of “Little Bear”. It’s important to note that while “Zathura” and “Jumanji” comes with an UltraViolet code, this film does not.
Overall, “The Indian in the Cupboard: Anniversary Edition” is a fun, fantasy-adventure film for the entire family and a classic family film that I recommend!
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