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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Lassie

Starring: Thomas Gury, Helen Slater
Director: Daniel Petrie
Rated: PG
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: July 1994
Genres: Family, Kids

*Also starring: Frederic Forrest, Richard Farnsworth

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

We saw LASSIE at the 7pm show on the local monster screen theater. With us were a dozen other people. Guess that Hollywood is right. Spending $60 million and producing a cartoon gets people a lot more interested that having a low budget classic picture with real actors and a heartwarming story.

If I have had been at home and seeing this Lassie movie on TV, I would have given up during the first 10 minutes. The initial plot setup and acting were too trite for me. At first, we are shown the angry and cynical 13 year old boy along with his angry and cynical father. His sister and his stepmother, on the other hand, are happy and full of hope. The boy claims he wants to die, because a long power outage means no MTV. And then Lassie shows up. What a caricature I thought.

Well, hang in there. The boy and the father wake up quickly and become just as energetic as the females in the family. Lassie is, of course, Lassie and is therefore a joy to behold.

The plot stays simple and predictable through out the entire movie, but you never mind because it is so life affirming. The villain family (a Dad and 2 boys) are great too - you really hate them. The bad boys do things like smoke for example. It is a simple fable, well told. There is even an extremely sweet subplot of a romance between the boy and a beautiful and slightly taller girl from his class.

The scenes of Lassie running up the hill, fording the stream, and bringing in the sheep are all so beautiful. The characters are simple without much depth, but this is a fairy tale not Shakespeare. The acting by the dad (Jon Tenney), stepmom (Helen Slater), son (Thomas Guiry), daughter (Brittany Boyd), and grandfather (Richard Farnsworth) are all good but nothing special with perhaps the exception of Thomas Guiry plus the villain father (Frederic Forrest) and the sweetness of the girlfriend (Michelle Williams).

LASSIE runs 1:35 and is rated PG. My 5 year old boy was quite scared (much more than in The Lion King) several times during the show as Lassie would get in serious trouble and would appear to be a goner. In the end, he loved it and wants to go back many times to see it. I recommend it with the warning that it could frighten little ones during the Lassie in danger scenes or during the fist fight scene. I give it *** which is the same rating I gave THE LION KING. If I had to choose between the two, I would choose LASSIE every time.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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