Review of: The Tale of the Wishing Box 

reviewed by wopdom on 04/20/2011
Credited Review
wopdom
Great Feel Credited Review
THE TALE OF THE WISHING BOX is a fun children’s story. The opening is a great setup, and the writing is tight and clean throughout. At 90 pages, the screenplay flows nicely and is a refreshingly fast read.

The atmosphere is consistent and fun. The writer uses mystery and creepiness to great effect, rather than relying on gore or overt horror. The restraint shown that is necessary to keep it for children is a great strength. The characters are endearing and the story is one that is worth telling.

In the interest of being helpful, some minor notes/thoughts are below:

Page 24 – one of the thugs yells “They burn.” This is sort of like the witch in THE WIZARD OF OZ yelling “melting.” It’s unnecessary because we are seeing it happen.

Page 26 – again “Snake eyes” dialogue is a little on-the-nose. We are seeing it.

Page 30 – “My own room?” This line is unnecessary . A smile on Jeff’s face and a cut to the room would be more effective.

Page 31 – “Hey, I didn’t put that there.” Again, a look could accomplish that more naturally.

Page 32 – Very cool dream sequence. In fact, all of them are excellent.

Page 48 – Could the need for the inhaler be established earlier?

Page 52 – Is Julie’s last name Green or Goodman?

Page 54 – When Julie said she sold the box almost a year ago, this was jarring. There aren’t many clues that so much time has passed.

Page 60 – “Who has the box?” is a great button to end this scene.

Page 71 PIZZARIA should be PIZZERIA

Page 79 – now that Julie and Jeff have been reunited, they hang out again. It could be clearer why she ran off and they couldn’t hang out after she got the box.

Page 82 – The “please” line is a good moment.

I was also a little confused that in the opening scene. Jeff seems to be trying to sell the box for three cents, but later we see that Walt has already gotten it beyond that point. The ending is a bit deflating because it is both open-ended and a low-stakes resolution. First, we don’t really get to the “end” because the box could still be sold again. Second, the lessons that Jeff learns and his actions don’t actually have anything to do with the resolution. He doesn’t have to pass a test or use his intelligence, and this is a bit passive for such a great adventure.

Overall, this really could be a children’s film that is worth watching. It has many strong elements and a great magical setting.

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