Tall Tale; Story Of Pacos Bill
In this very imaginative, entertaining fantasy, 12-year-old Daniel Hackett (Nick Stahl) isn’t at all happy with his hard life on a remote farm in the West in 1905. He’d rather get away to see the wonders of the world and he’s fascinated by the tall tales his dad tells him about the famous mythical characters of the West. Further, a ruthless railroad baron, J.P. Stiles (Scott Glenn), is making life miserable for the farmers in the area. He is trying to buy their farms so he can build a railroad across them. When Daniel’s dad resists, he is shot and wounded. To deal with this trauma, Daniel takes flight into a fantasy world where three mythical characters, Pecos Bill (Patrick Swayze), Paul Bunyan (Oliver Platt) and John Henry (Roger Brown) come to his aid to stop Stiles and his railroad. The adventures, battles and camaraderie make for a fun, action packed story in which fantasy, comedy and drama blend together perfectly. Spectacular scenery and special effects also give it a special appeal. TALL TALE is a film parents are likely to enjoy as much as their youngsters.
It was pleasant to find that this Disney film has very few offensive elements and favorably portrays the old fashioned values of life in the early West. Although sometimes presented in a comical manner, Daniel and his cohorts live by the “Code of West” which calls for respecting the land and defending the defenseless. Further, Daniel has a good relationship with his parents and they share a strong love and loyalty. All the action in the film involves hand fighting along with gun, knife and shooting threats, but these are not excessive or bloody. Only two or three rough slang words are included, mainly for comic effect, as well as two mildly suggestive comical remarks. But the film contains no sexual content or nudity. The mythical characters risk their lives to help Daniel fight Stiles, who has no scruples and mistreats his laborers. Stiles is definitely ruthless, but one of his statements implies that anyone who tries to make a profit is evil. This misleading generalization is unfortunate. TALL TALE has its flaws, but overall is family friendly with many positive features.