Yet another version of the classic story about a boy who runs away from his drunken father in Mississippi, who wants him dead after his late mother leaves Huck her vast wealth. Our hero goes on the run with a slave, Jim and the two travel around America while helping each other survive.
The fifth talking version of Mark Twain's tale, this Disney production is a likeable vehicle for an 11-year-old Elijah Wood, who doesn't even know what Lord of the Rings is. Probably.
Kidnapped by his violent, drunken pop, who wants to get his hands on the money left by the late Mrs. Finn, Huck fakes his own death, escapes and sets off down the Mississippi in the company of runaway slave Jim (Vance) who as luck would have it has been accused of Huck's murder. As the pair raft upriver, the plot rambles episodically from one close shave to the next. But it gets a much-needed shot in the arm with the arrival of Robbie Coltrane and Jason Robards, camping it up as a pair of carpetbagger con-men who rope Huck and Jim into a scam to swindle a family out of their inheritance which requires Wood to assume the sort of English accent that would have shamed Dick Van Dyke. Apart from that, and the feeling that he's just a little too cute and clean-cut for Twain's artful Dodger-ish hero, Wood certainly comes over as an unusually un-nauseating child star.
Wholesome family entertainment with a worthy anti-slavery message, this isn't the sort of film to give David Alton nightmares, but there's still plenty of whipping, tarring, lynching and family feuding along the way to satisfy the most bloodthirsty child.
This retelling of Huck Finn offers the cinematic world nothing another outing for the young Wood. But with nothing to say it relies on picturesque scenery and random events to spur it along. Without the arrival of Coltrane and Robards there would be little attraction.