The Adventures of Mark Twain
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Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher stow away with Mark Twain on his magical airship and take an incredible journey through time in search of Halley's Comet! Along the way they encounter a variety of Twain's storybook characters from The Diary of Adam and Eve, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Mysterious Stranger, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven.
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About halfway through the movie, I was very pleasantly stoned when something weird happened. The kids are in the elevator and find the Mysterious Stranger. I was confused - I had never seen this part before. The stranger quickly identifies himself as Satan and it goes downhill from there. He had the kids make clay people and then kills them (clay people, not the kids) in horrible ways - sending an earthquake to suck them down into the earth as they screamed and clawed at the ground.
By that time I was absolutely freaked out and unable to move. Thanks to the codeine, I knew there was only possible reason I was seeing this scene: obviously I was dead and Satan had just announced he was coming for me through the magic of Claymation. I have never been more petrified. My conviction was only strengthened when he announcec, “It is true, that which I have revealed to you; there is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a dream—a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And you are but a thought—a vagrant thought, a useless thought, a homeless thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities.”
Well long story short, I wasn’t dead. It was that Disney had redacted that part because it would be too scary for its target audience. Sure, ha ha, funny now, but they should know I will not forgive them for the scariest 30-45 minutes of my life where I sat there waiting for Satan to show up.
The claymation is novel and a reminder of the time period in which it was made.
It may be a bit over the head of younger kids
As for the film itself, this is "old-school" Claymation. I would say 99% of what is mis-en-scene is actually clay. It must have taken years to complete this project! In comparison to stop-animation features, such as the Wallace and Gromit series or Nightmare Before Christmas, the animation is not quite as "glossy" or perfect, but that is what gives this film it's charm.
Overall, the film does a fine job at presenting some of Mark Twain's more popular stories. The primary story-line, however, focuses on Mark Twain's attempt to meet up with Halley's Comet, through the use of a unique flying contraption (basically, it's a blimp). Mark Twain's literary subjects Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher are introduced to us as stowaways on Twain's vessel, and thus begins the film's introduction of additional, lessor known stories. One of which, "The Diaries of Adam and Eve", is woven throughout most of the film. It's a great and poignant look at relations between men and women. My only complaint is the screeching/scratchy sounding voice of the actress who played Eve. Holy cow! What were they thinking?!?! It's really annoying and I found myself wanting to clear my throat every 30 seconds. Sorry...had to mention that.
For me personally, I really enjoy the scene involving "The Mysterious Stranger". Extremely well done!
Overall, this is a classic film! However, I fear that most people who watch this film expecting the typical "happy, fun for all ages" movie, might be a bit disappointed. This film unfolds a bit slowly, but is well worth the wait. You just need to be patient. And knowing how kids (and adults) are today, if you're not dealing with 3 second MTV edits, forget about it. However, for those of you who appreciate the works of Mark Twain and have a creative bone in your body, then I'm sure you will enjoy this outstanding effort!