More old movies: The Indian In The Cupboard

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Cyanide Muffin, Jul 15, 2019.

  1. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    The Indian In The Cupboard

    A fun film.

    I enjoyed this movie a lot, I believe there was a book but never got around to reading it, but for the sake of these comments I am referring to the film alone. I really did enjoy it the very first time I watched it back in 1996 and to this day it's one of my favourite movies, but only recently I had another look at it and it really got me thinking.

    There's some huge implications for this simple story that are never really addressed in the movie but on watching it again it just made me think of them and simply put this thing brings stuff to life via magic. It's not temporary. Whatever is put into the cupboard is brought to life for however long they are left in that state till the door is closed on them again and the key locks it one more time. The next time the door opens whatever is inside the cupboard is back to its original form.

    There's a really fun short scene near the start of the movie when Omri, the film's main character puts all his action figures into the cupboard and turns the key, where he opens the door and they all have come to life doing the things they do from their own universes. For example there's Darth Vader waving his light saber around and Robocop moving about. Yet from those two fictional universes the cupboard has managed to bring the figures to life and it's only a very brief scene but it's a fun scene. Omri quickly closes the door again so anything too wild doesn't happen. One can only imagine what would happen with a 7 inch tall Darth Vader running around with force powers, which we never got to find out thank goodness, or even Robocop with his gun and ammo. Eek!!!

    That's the heart of my thoughts there. When he was given the wooden cupboard and key he was also given this little plastic Indian who he puts into the cupboard and he comes to life. He is called Little Bear and somehow the cupboard pulled into our world a native American Indian that looks just like the little figure he had and brings him to life. The implications of this to me are that somewhere in the past this guy existed and lived a life and suddenly he's pulled out of his world and brought into this other world where a giant boy can pick him up and carry him about like he's some kind of plaything. It did make me wonder if it wasn't the past of our world that there was some other Earth where this guy and his family lived and somehow he's pulled into our world for the amusement of a little boy, but that's not the point of the film, this is a sort of growing up film and the boy and Little Bear form a friendship that carries across the film.

    There's also a soldier figure the boy brings to life and he's from World War 1 by the look of him and he seems to acclimate to his odd situation rather well I thought. I just wanted to comment on that aspect of the film and it struck me as a rather risky gift to give to an impressionable little child. Children can be bitterly cruel, but thankfully in this case we have a fairly decent little child who didn't misuse the power he was given.

    I have no idea what I'd do with such an item. If it only animates figures of people or living things or can it bring other things to life, if you put in a Star Trek phaser would the item become real once you turn the key and open the door again? Just to think about what one could get away with kind of scares me a bit.

    Anyway this was a delightful film and I gave it a 7.5/10
     
  2. Gaith

    Gaith Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I read the book and saw the movie theatrically as a kid, and that's the only particular moment I remember:



    Insert dark Barbie joke here...
     
  3. Janeway’s Girl

    Janeway’s Girl Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I remember this movie. Only saw it a few times though.
     
  4. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    I read the novel many years ago and from memory the movie was fairly true to it, although the book did go into a lot more depth about how the relationship with the "Indian" (which is a term that's not really acceptable these days) helped the boy to learn and grow. If I remember correctly, there was a whole series of books (The Secret of the Cupboard?) but I never read any of those.

    That' the downside of children's movies, they're often delightful to watch but aren't able to really dig into those deeper questions. It's possible that the sequel novels did explore some of those possibilities. If not, it would certainly be an interesting fan fiction concept to explore.
     
  5. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    Yeah had Omri been a teenage boy maybe. Oops. 30 cm woman kept in a box what could possibly go wrong?

    I just read there's a series of 5 books and he figures out that it was the key that is magic not the cupboard and he uses that to visit Little Bear's world and is a bit of an ass in the books because he takes back modern guns.

    I still think it's a delightful movie but reading about it today people seem hellbent into inserting "racist" into it with his relationship with Little Bear. FFS people it's a fantasy story.
     
  6. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    It does come across a little bit "white saviour" / "magic native" in places. Like the title, you have to take it with the times it was written / made. If it were remade today, there would have to be a lot of changes.
     
  7. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    Oh for sure. Present day sensibilities and all that. I don't think a remake would even capture the feel of the original.
     
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  8. Gavin70

    Gavin70 Commander Red Shirt

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    Well very few remakes ever do. But I think this one is a movie of its time and probably needs to stay there. Unfortunately, as soon as someone decides there's a profit to be made the remake will be on its way.
     
  9. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    True..
     
  10. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I remember that I've seen the movie, and maybe read at least some of the book, but I have no specific memories of either.
     
  11. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    I remember liking the books when I was younger. I never did see the movie.

    Kor
     
  12. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    You should watch the movie just to see how it compares to its book counterpart.

    I'm at the other end of that now with people telling me the books are good so I'm interested in getting the books.
     
  13. Leroy

    Leroy Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    To people more familiar with the books/movie, does the magic extend to fantasy technology? I mean if a kid put an Ant-Man figure in there would they then have access to working Pym Particles?
     
  14. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

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    When I was younger, I was so focused on Vader and Robo that I didn't even notice there were Trek toys too. :)
     
  15. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

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    OK that scene I posted should answer that. Darth Vader and his light saber became real as did Robocop and his gun and both are fantasy items.
     
  16. BeatleJWOL

    BeatleJWOL Commodore Commodore

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    One of the books featured an attempt to create a magical car key to attempt the transfer the other way; the toy come to life did so but the key was so small it was unusable.