Secondhand Lions (2003)
This good-natured, simple and criminally charming film captures the spirit of those classic adventures. Forget formulaic fantasy films with wizards, witches and magic, the fairytale in Secondhand Lions isn't simply an escapism from reality, it is also an inspiration to everyone living a life. That doesn't mean the film is particularly important, layered or even well-balanced. Filmmaker Tim McCanlies' direction is uneven and his storytelling and allegories are at times banal and overly sophomoric, but the spirit of the film never disappoints. There are few more charming situational portraits than smalltown America in the 50s and 60s, and Secondhand Lions looks incredible in this respect. The vivacity and colouring pulls you in and drags you away with magnetic allure, and helped by delightful, introspective performances from the two veteran stars and an intelligent, emotional interpretation by young Osment, Secondhand Lions is at its best a perfect example of high-spirited filmmaking with simplistic purposes. McCanlies execution is flawed, with a couple of unnecessarily one-dimensional characters and, more importantly, a weak, overly explicative ending, but anyone willing to lower their guard will have a great time with this.