Barney's Great Adventure
Rating -

Children’s (US); 1998; Rated G; 75 Minutes

David Joyner: Barney
George Hearn: Grandpa
Shirley Douglas: Grandma
Trevor Morgan: Cody
Renee Madeline Le Guerrier: Mildred Goldfinch
Jeff Ayres: Baby Bop

Produced by Martha Chang, Dennis DeShazer, Sheryl Leach, Ben Myron and Jim Rowley; Directed by Steve Gorner; Screenwritten by Stephen White, Sheryl Leach, Dennis DeShazer and Stephen White

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Written by DAVID KEYES

Was there any hope for this movie whatsoever during the course of its production? Assuredly not, especially after attending it, which was regrettably one of the most stupidest decisions I have ever made. Taking a young friend to see it (his parents couldn’t take him), I walked in expecting to see an innocent children’s story, like an old-fashioned Disney cartoon. What I got was nightmares, watching the disturbed purple dinosaur spend the entire movie jumping up and down, laughing, and saying lines that that are so cheerful and so joyful it made me sick. He is indeed the worst child creation of the 1990s, and that is so fluently demonstrated here, in a movie that doesn’t need to be seen in theaters. It is a television episode three times longer, but with more songs.

Why couldn’t they just do this for TV? I had much better things to do with my time instead of going to this mess. After all, the movie DID open on the day I was supposed to go see Dark City (a great movie, by the way). I had to delay the arrangement time to take a preschooler here, who would have been just fine if the film came on TV during its regular syndicated time slot. Placing it in theaters is like stretching an episode of Oddities to the length of two hours, without changing any part of the story, the action, or the characters. No wait--there is a difference. The movie doesn’t begin with those pathetic opening numbers that plagued the series. This time, we start with the story setup.

It’s basically about three children, who go to their grandparents’ farm for the summer. The two girls, being fans of Barney and all, one day dream him up, although the boy (Cody) doesn’t believe in these things. When Barney miraculously appears, he takes the children on a long, intense adventure to find a mysterious, enchanted rainbow egg, which is lost and must be found.

See what I mean? The plot is like one from the show he has--not real big, not real involved, but what did you expect? It’s Barney, and any child over four or five hates this dude. Children under that age, I imagine, will like the movie very much, but then again, wouldn’t you think they’d be happier watching it on TV?

The theater is no place for this type of movie, especially when I’m forced to put up with it. The story and characters (to me) are so unappealing that it’s almost frightening. Barney himself could be a horror film villain with his constantly-cheerful attitude and his freaky smile. The music he sings is bad, too--he rips off the medley and rhythm of much popular children’s songs for new ones, like "This Old Man" for "I Love You."

This really gets annoying and really gets freaky. A movie this cheerful is destined to be awful to audiences over ten years of age, because by that time, we have probably experienced darkness and pain in the movies. By this age, one would have seen a typical Disney movie, which almost always has a moment that frightens younger audiences. Barney’s Great Adventure is simply too cheerful, even for children, and it gets to the point where I had nightmares after seeing it.

We as the moviegoers can at least tolerate this on TV. After all, that’s where children spend most of their time watching things. Next time, leave it thier--bring it into the theaters again, and I will scream.

© 1998, David Keyes, Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
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