The legends of American nations come to life.
A century-old storyteller and his grandson, a troubled 17-year-old boy, embark on a cross-country journey toward self-discovery. Like Old Pete's wise tales themselves, DREAMKEEPER is important and illuminating storytelling for the entire family.
While it doesn't hold together as a three-hour TV drama, Dreamkeeper
should prove enthralling to anyone interested in Native American myths and legends. A variety of tribal folklore provides the episodic thrust of this typical Hallmark production, which relies too heavily on digital effects--and the plodding direction of Hallmark regular Steve Barron--in telling the story of a resentful Lakota teenager (Eddie Spears) who reluctantly agrees to drive his wise old grandfather (August Schellenberg) from their South Dakota "rez" to an All-Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Along the way, the tradition-bound elder serves as tribal "dreamkeeper" for his initially resistant grandson, who gradually realizes that his grandfather's stories--visualized through effects-laden reenactments involving all manner of magic and mystery--are essential in preserving the fading cultures of the Lakota and the several other tribes whose folklore depends on unbroken generations of oral tradition. While some of the lavishly dramatized tales can stand alone as authentic Native American myth-making, Dreamkeeper
lacks the overall structure that could've given the stories a cumulative magical impact. Still, it's an admirable attempt to introduce neglected cultures into the television mainstream. --Jeff Shannon