the fresh films reviews

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The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)

Directed by:
Stephen Sommers
Huck Finns eventyr
103 minutes
Produced by:
Laurence Mark
Written by:
Stephen Sommers
Mark Twain (from his book)

Cast includes:

Huck Finn Elijah Wood
Jim Courtney B. Vance
The Duke Robbie Coltrane
The King Jason Robards
Pap Finn Ron Perlman
Widow Douglas Dana Ivey
Mary Jane Wilks Anne Heche
Susan Wilks Laura Bundy



Stephen Sommers' rendition of Mark Twain's classic is a high-spirited, well-crafted little film. It works well, not only as a children's adventure but also as a highly competent dramatic story. The latter achievement is largely due to the acting which is amazingly inspired by an impressive ensemble. Ron Perlman's Pap Finn is brilliant (you'd want him to be further explored, even though you realize it couldn't have been done in this film), Courtney B. Vance's has depth as Jim, and the skilful duo of Jason Robards and Robbie Coltrane are having great fun as The Duke and The King.

However, a film about Huck Finn is always largely down to the actor in the title role, and few have done it better than young Elijah Wood does here. The film was his first leading role, and he hits all the right notes. Having done sensitive roles in films such as Paradise and Radio Flyer, you'd perhaps not expect him to fill the shoes of Huck Finn, but Wood has a captivating charm, abundances of energy, and even demonstrates something of a rough edge. It was a performance that established him as the hottest child actor of this period, surpassing his colleague from The Good Son, Macaulay Culkin.

The direction by Sommers is impressive. Not only does the movie look great through Sommers' vivid lens, but the young director also has a great command of the pace and atmosphere of the film. He changes the tone of the narrative smoothly and poignantly and even has a few creative camera positions (i.e. when Jim wakes up), making The Adventures of Huck Finn one of the most vibrant versions of the Mark Twain classic (even though this is exclusively about Huck and Jim; Tom Sawyer isn't even mentioned).

Re-reviewed: Copyright 26.12.2004 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: Copyright 22
.04.1996 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang