Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Obscure Movie Review of the Day: Durango Kids

I can forgive a lot in kids movies.

I don't like to. I honestly feel that kids care more about the internal consistency of movies than adults do. It's kids, not adults, who want to live in the worlds they watch on TV, and get obsessive about which heros were born where and which weapons do what. For kids, movies are like religions, and each is a fully immersive experience. It's adults who sit back and say, "Oh, it's just a movie."

But I still do. The fact that the movies are being made for little people who don't always need to understand how the grown-up world works means we can make allowances for gaps in logic here and there.

But there was a scene in this movie that was so unbelievably ridiculous I couldn't stop laughing. My wife had to tell me to calm down after a while. It was just such a howler . . .

See, the movie is about a bunch of kids who are led back in time by the ghost of a guard who was killed in an old frontier town robbery. Their goal is to save his life and stop the late night robbery.

I'm sure it's no surprise that they manage to do this. In fact, they do it using dynamite, a walkie-talkie, and a baseball. However, the twist is that they then get accused of planning the robbery, and they're all thrown in jail.

Okay, all of that's fine.

But see, the next day, the other boy who came back in time with them, who had been more interested in hitting on the guard's daughter than foiling the robbery, is told what happened, and rushes over to the bank, where he finds, in the middle of the busiest street in town, with people bustling by all around, the get-away wagon, the baseball, and the walkie-talkie, all exactly where they were the night before.

Oh, man.

This film suffered from that much-misdiagnosed malady of having a script that needed "another pass." The dialogue is full of amateurish repetitiveness--Yes, we're talking about the gold again, but we're doing it in a new place now! That's what scenes are!--and there are glaring inconsistencies--Was it the tunnel that sent them back in time, or the ghost's fairy dust? If it was the dust, then how did the principal get back in time? If it was the tunnel, then what was up with the dust?

I'm glad I saw it. Some of the performers, particularly the fat kid, were fun to watch and obviously having a good time. And the scenery was lovely--did the budget for this come from the Colorado state tourism board?

But most of all, it gives me hope that just about any script has a shot at getting in front of the cameras, no matter how simple. And that gives me hope.

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