Young Omri (Scardino) gets more than he bargained for on his ninth birthday – one gift, a small cupboard, turns out to be magic, and when Omri places a small plastic toy Indian inside, it comes alive. Unfortunately, when Omri’s pal Patrick discovers the secret, he pops a cowboy doll (David Keith) in the cupboard, which probably isn’t the best idea.
The idea of toys or games coming to life is always an interesting one – be it in the noisy, special-effects heavy Jumanji or the slightly subtler Small Soldiers. Here it is delivered in a quiet and perhaps even creepy way (it’s upsetting to see the tiny Indian, obviously frightened by his transformation and the giant-sized boy in front of him), which may not enthral younger children, while older ones may find the ultimate message of being good to others a bit preachy. A shame, because the film has its heart in the right place and features two great performances from Keith and Litefoot (a former rap artist) as the mini-men.
Is The Indian In The Cupboard suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...