Reviewed by: W.J. Kimble
Starring: George Hearn, Shirley Douglas, Trevor Morgan, Kyla Pratt, Dianna Rice / Director: Steve Gomer / Released by: Polygram Entertainment
Barney, the big, lovable, ever-grinning, purple dinosaur of PBS fame, has finally made his big screen debut. Children, especially the wee-ones, will be delighted beyond all measure when they see their huggable, furry friend come to life and sing the songs they’ve all come to enjoy. I know; because I took my niece, Amanda, to see “Barney’s Great Adventure”, and she sat spellbound as the magical journey of imagination began. Many of Barney’s familiar TV show antics are retained; but, thanks to director Steve Gomer, this soft, huggable creature has a greater appeal and charm than ever before.
“Barney’s Great Adventure” begins with Cody (Trevor Morgan), Abby (Dianna Rice), and a baby boy, by the name of Fig, arriving at their grandparents farm with a friend, Marcella (Kyla Pratt, “Mad City”), for a week of fun and adventure. Cody, older and more mature than the others, no longer enjoys the simple things in life and begins to express his displeasure by moping around and complaining that his grandparents do not have cable TV. Barney appears and tells Cody to wish upon a star and that he should let his imagination free; and say whatever his heart desires. Cody asks for an adventure that he will never forget.
This magical, mystical star turns into a mysterious egg with fantastic stripes that glow brilliantly and change the colors of the egg, right before their eyes. This is done throughout the movie and heightens the adventure for all the children who attend. In an attempt to discover the secrets of the egg, the three children trot off to Mrs. Goldfish’s (Renee Madeline “Le Guerrier”) magical gingerbread home. There in her incredible library, the children discover the power of the egg and decide to return it to the place where it was found. Through a mishap, Mr. Millet drives away with the egg and the adventure is on.
The children, along with Barney, find themselves visiting the Merrivale Apple Day Festival and parade; only to end up in a fancy restaurant, by the name of “Chez Snobbe” (pronounced “shay snob”). Later their escapades bring them to a circus, which by the way is performed by none other than Cirque du Soleil. Finally, with the help of the audience, in an interactive role play, the adventurers soar high in a plane through a multitude of hot air balloons.
While adults may find the movie boring, your children will love it. When Barney sang, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…,” every child in the place clapped their hands, on time and in rhythm. When the children began to fly, my niece yelled, “Wow!” and her eyes grew to enormous proportions. When Baby Bop asked the audience where her blankee was every child began yelling to her and telling her just where to find it. By the time Twinkin appeared the whole auditorium had sprung to life with excitement. And the moral of the story was very apparent, “it’s okay to be a kid and have a vivid imagination! And there is plenty of time to grow up.”