The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) Hal Scardino, Litefoot, Lindsay Crouse, Richard Jenkins Movie Review

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Rishi Bhat and Hal Scardino in The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

Childhood Without the Wow Factor

For his ninth birthday Omri (Hal Scardino) receives various gifts including an old cupboard from his older brother and a toy Indian from his best friend Patrick (Rishi Bhat). Having played with the toy Indian Omri locks him in his cupboard when he goes to bed only to discover on waking up that his toy Indian has magically come to life. Quickly discovering that this cupboard has the magic ability to turn his other plastic toys to life, Omri and Patrick decide to bring a Cowboy to life and after a rough start the Indian and Cowboy become friends.

I still remember a toy cowboy figure I had as a child and whilst I never imagined it coming to life it would have been the one I would have chosen if by some sort of magic that fantasy could have happened. I also remember the close friendship I had as a child and how with my best friend we would play make believe, keep secrets and use various things which we found as part of our games, allowing our imaginations to run wild. I mention all of this because that is what I am sure was the intention behind "The Indian in the Cupboard" was, to recreate the world of childhood, the world of innocence, friendships and imagination where in the fantasy world important life lessons are learned.

Litefoot in The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

And technically "The Indian in the Cupboard" achieves what it sets out to as we have a storyline which not only sees young Omri's toys come to life but we see his imagination at work when it comes to dealing with problems, such as putting a Tommy medic toy in to the cupboard when the Indian is injured. We also get to see the importance of friendships as with Patrick they both enjoy this fantasy world where toys come to life. And I could go on because through these fantasies young Omri learns some important life lessons, such as when one of his figurines having brought him to life dies.

The thing is that whilst technically "The Indian in the Cupboard" recreates this childhood fantasy it ends up lacking something. That something is bringing the magic of the story and the fantasy to life and as such the movie plays out but never fully draws you in to what should be a magical experience. I suppose what I am saying is that at times this lacks the wow factor that a childhood fantasy deserves.

What this all boils down to is that "The Indian in the Cupboard" delivers what it intended to but never quite bringing the magic of the storyline to life. It is a case of being another movie which missed the opportunity to do something really memorable rather than just being good in the moment.