The Adventures of Mark Twain

 
Dry humor and scary scenes abound in Twain overview.
  • Review Date: September 10, 2013
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1985
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This movie teaches an appreciation for the classic stories, characters, and quips from the writer Mark Twain.

Positive role models

Mark Twain's cynicism -- so often overlooked in other animated features about the man and his stories -- is on full display here. Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher never really get beyond two-dimensional cartoon characters.

Violence

Nightmarish imagery. Injun Joe makes a brief appearance, looking like a demon and wielding a knife.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

"Hell." "Damned."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mark Twain is rarely shown without his cigar. In another scene, strange creatures smoke cigars and drink cocktails.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Adventures of Mark Twain is a 1985 movie filmed in Claymation that explores the stories, characters, and quips of Mark Twain. The biggest concern for parents is the nightmarish imagery in some scenes -- bizarre dream worlds where a demonic character with a tragedy mask for a face waxes bleak about the human condition, or a demonic Injun Joe wields a knife. There's also some minor profanity ("hell" and "damned"). The film offers an honest portrayal of Mark Twain's cynicism (and cigar smoking), which is often overlooked in more sugarcoated presentations of his work. Parents looking for a more straightforward introduction to Twain for younger kids should look elsewhere.

What's the story?

Born as Halley's Comet passed the Earth, Mark Twain has constructed an airship to go into space to find Halley's Comet as it makes its return trip at the end of his life. His characters Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, and Becky Thatcher manage to sneak aboard the ship, and meet the man who created them, as he shares some of his best-known quips and tells a selection of his classic stories -- among them \"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calavaras County,\" \"The Diary of Adam and Eve,\" and Captain Stromfield's Visit to Heaven.\" As the ship comes ever closer to Halley's Comet and, thus, the end of Twain's life, Twain and his characters discuss life, death, and the afterlife, as he instructs his characters on piloting the ship without him.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

THE ADVENTURES OF MARK TWAIN, unlike so many more sanitized and sugarcoated renderings of the great author and his stories, is unafraid to present a more complete portrait of Twain's stories, quips, and characters -- cynicism, cigar smoking, and all. Much of the story is focused on relatively lesser-known stories like "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and "The Diary of Adam and Eve" as Twain fearlessly pilots his airship to Halley's Comet while the movie fearlessly discusses weighty matters of life, death, and the afterlife.

The movie is more of an advanced discussion of Mark Twain's life and work than a simple introduction to Twain. While Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are featured prominently, their actual stories are given very little time in this movie. For those new to Twain, this film might be a bit overwhelming. However, for those more familiar with his style, humor, and stories, this movie is a clever presentation of what Twain was about, and why his stories live on.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Mark Twain. What aspects of his life and personality are discussed in this movie? Did you learn anything new about him?

  • What is your favorite Mark Twain story or quotation? Why?

  • What effect does the use of Claymation have on the way the story is told and presented?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 1, 1985
DVD release date:December 4, 2012
Cast:Gary Krug, James Whitmore, Michelle Mariana
Director:Will Vinton
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Adventures
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Adventures of Mark Twain was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byDr.Pepper121201 July 27, 2014
age 2+
 

Hate it!!!

it was a waist of my time!!!!
Kid, 9 years old December 24, 2013
age 8+
 

MrLevi Reviews for parents: The Adventures of Mark Twain

WOW! JUST WOW! AMAZING! But Of course it does have the share of TERRIFYING moments that may scare you little ones! Caution: Even know this movie is rated G keep in mind that it does have use of satan,cussing and voodoo but still I love it :) Mark twain DOES Carry a cigar around but smoke doesn't come of it or does he use it so I wouldn't worry about that!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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