It’s Impossible to Find This ’90s Classic Perfect for Book Lovers

By Nina Phillips | Updated

the pagemaster

At some point in their life, every reader has wished they could be a part of their favorite novel. The Pagemaster brings that wish to the big screen when a scared little boy has to fight several storybook enemies. Unfortunately, this cute and classic movie is nearly impossible to find.

Richard Tyler

The Pagemaster follows the story of Richard Tyler, played by Macaulay Culkin (Home Alone). Richard has memorized many statistics about the danger of everyday items, including biking and climbing trees. Because of this, he ends up avoiding most even slightly dangerous adventures. 

The Library

One day while heading back home, Richard ends up stuck in a storm. Trying to escape the weather, he takes shelter inside a library. There, he meets a librarian played by Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) and ends up wrapped up in several storylines alongside a few books—Adventure (Patrick Stewart), Fantasy (Whoopi Goldberg), and Horror (Frank Welker)—in the library as he tries to escape and return home. 

Along the way, Richard has to brave several dangerous scenarios and enemies. When he finally manages to escape, he comes back out braver than when he started, much to the surprise of his parents. 

An Introvert’s Fantasy

the pagemaster

I loved The Pagemaster growing up and found a lot in the story I could relate to. I wasn’t necessarily a cowardly child when I was little, but I was introverted and sometimes talked myself out of doing anything new.

Books were often my escape, and my favorite characters and storylines helped me out during difficult times. 

So when a movie came out that brought to life how books made me feel, I was instantly hooked.

There’s a lot to like about The Pagemaster. It mixes animation and live-action to differentiate between the story world and the real world, the characters are adorable and fun, and the story is interesting.

Callbacks To Classics

I will admit that the animation wasn’t always the best, throughout the film, but the story was exciting, especially for a bookworm like me.

I also enjoyed the references to many popular and classic tales like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Wizard of Oz, and Moby Dick. Several fantasy characters and creatures are also present like dragons, pirates, and fairies. 

Unfortunately, The Pagemaster wasn’t a story many enjoyed. It was a failure based on the box office performance and initial critic reviews. Even now on Rotten Tomatoes, the score was a dismally low 19 percent.

The average audience member had a better time with the movie, giving it an average score of 49 percent. 

Unfortunately, It’s Tough To Find


In fact, Turner Animation, the studio behind The Pagemaster, shut down shortly after the film’s release.

While the closure of this film studio couldn’t solely be blamed on The Pagemaster, between this film and Cats Don’t Dance, the studio was doing so poorly that the shutdown didn’t really come as a surprise.

Because it was such a failure, and there’s not really a cult following for The Pagemaster, it’s hard to find online or included in any streaming services.

The Pagemaster isn’t included on any streaming platform except for Apple TV, and that’s only for an additional fee. So you might struggle to try and watch this film.