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"BARNEY'S GREAT ADVENTURE"
(1998) (Barney, Trevor Morgan) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Minor *Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None *Minor None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
None None None Minor None


QUICK TAKE:
Children's: Barney, the purple dinosaur, and several kids try to find a colorful, oversized egg before it hatches.
PLOT:
A mom and dad drop off their kids, Cody (TREVOR MORGAN) and Abby (DIANA RICE), along with the latter's friend, Marcella (KYLA PRATT), with the grandparents (GEORGE HEARN & SHIRLEY DOUGLAS). Cody is anything but thrilled to be on their farm, and hates that Abby and Marcella playfully taunt him with their purple dinosaur doll, Barney. Then quite suddenly, the doll turns into the real Barney (voice of BOB WEST) who wants the kids to have fun and fully use their imaginations.

Cody is reluctant to do that, however, until a wished-upon "star" crashes to Earth in the form of an oversized egg. After visiting the neighbor and egg expert, Mildred Goldfinch (RENEE MADELEINE LE GUERRIER), they learn that it's a wish fulfillment egg that will crack open once its five rings become fully colored. Just as soon as Barney and the kids learn this, they lose the egg in various "comical" mishaps. From that point on, Barney and the kids race to recover the egg before it hatches.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're young enough to like the TV show or videos they will. Otherwise, you probably couldn't pay older kids to sit through this.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Other than TREVOR MORGAN who plays a grumpy, dissatisfied kid (who eventually changes his ways), everyone else is an okay role model, including Barney who wants everyone to be happy, have fun, and fulfill their dreams.
CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


OUR TAKE: 5 out of 10
Depending on whether you have kids or not, Barney is either the scourge of Western civilization, or a benevolent character that keeps the kids calm and transfixed for short periods of time whenever the big purple dinosaur is on TV. Assuming that few non-parents will be interested in this feature, we'll proceed from the "good Barney" standpoint. That said, "Barney's Great Adventure" completely achieves its goal of entertaining the pre-school set. How it will fare at the box office is uncertain (since matinees seem to be it's only possible attraction), but it should take off once on video.

It's just too bad that the film doesn't even try to entertain the many parents who will "willingly" see the movie with their kids. Unlike animated features that can play to all age groups, this one's got an extremely limited range, and anyone over six or seven will probably find it too immature for them. Anyone even older than that, and without kids, will probably find it close to being an unbearable, if not sadistic means of torture. The bare bones plot -- Barney and the kids have to find an egg -- might keep kids transfixed, but there's not much there to hold an adult's attention span between the moments spent repeatedly looking at one's watch. Even at the mercifully short running time of 75 minutes, it still feels about an hour and a half too long.

Of course if you don't mind big screen renditions of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Old McDonald Had A Farm," and "If You're Happy And You Know It, Clap Your Hands," then you might be able to stomach the rest of the material, although the "I Love You, You Love Me" song is about as entertaining as nails down a blackboard. There are also several other more "animated" musical numbers, but while they'll entertain the kids, they aren't the stuff of Disney cartoon lore.

Likewise, there are many moments that kids will giggle over, but parents won't find remotely amusing (Cody falling off a railing into some bushes when he's surprised to see Barney, Barney dressed up like a farm hand, etc...). Even so, there is a fun and imaginative "Willy Wonka" inspired set in Goldfinch's home that should mesmerize most tykes and at least prove interesting for adults to watch.

Despite some restless moments (nearly anytime Barney isn't on the screen for more than a minute or two), there are enough "cameos" from other Barney regulars such as "Baby Bop" that will keep the kids entertained. In addition, the filmmakers have included some moments where the dino characters interact with the kids in the audience (like on the TV show) that elicited the best responses from our audience.

Giving this movie a rating is nearly pointless and difficult to do since its aim is so young and low, and that it doesn't even make the pretense of trying to connect with nearly anyone who's already mastered the skills of multiplying and dividing. Essentially a critic-proof movie, since the target audience is mostly too young to read and couldn't care less what anyone has to say about Barney and his pals, the film succeeds at what it's supposed to do. Young kids will probably rate it a 10 while adults will probably give it a 0 or 1 (not taking into account if they're parents and that it makes their kids happy). Thus we give "Barney's Great Adventure" a diplomatic 5 out of 10 as a balance of entertaining its goal audience mixed with being a near intolerable movie for anyone without kids.

OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
Beyond a few moments that may be just a tiny bit tense to the youngest in the crowd that wants to see this film, there's nothing else that parents will find objectionable.

ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some people drink wine in a restaurant.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Cody has just a little bit at the beginning as he's not happy to be "trapped" at his grandparents with his sister and her friend.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • All of the following may or may not be just a tiny bit suspenseful to the youngest of kids:
  • A wished-upon shooting star comes down to Earth like a comet and lands in the barn.
  • Cody and the others cautiously approach an upside down, metal bucket that's obviously sitting on top of something "alive" underneath it (it's the oversized egg and just a little bit of suspenseful music makes the scene suspenseful).
  • Barney and the kids briefly go through a thick, mysterious forest on their way to Goldfinch's farm.
  • Cody accidentally hits the egg and it rolls out onto, and then precariously balances on, a board. After that, there as several scenes that are playfully tense as Barney and the kids try to retrieve the egg.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrase: "Dufus."
  • Abby and Marcella hold out their hands (raised in a "stop" gesture) and tell Cody, "Talk to the hand..."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's just a minor bit of suspenseful music (sometimes done in a playful manner) in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • None.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Using one's imagination, and striving to fulfill one's own dreams.
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed March 28, 1998

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