Star Kid

on January 16, 1998 by Karen Achenbach
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   Twelve-year-old Spencer (Joseph Mazzello of "Radio Flyer" and "Jurassic Park") finds a human-shaped Cyborsuit (Cy) that has crashed on earth to elude capture by the monstrous Broodwarriors who are attacking its planet of origin.
   Like the Japanese Gundams and Mechas, Cy is built to transport and fight: Cy can talk but can't move until someone steps inside him. Spencer does, beginning a relationship with the intelligent weapon that helps Spencer face his fears, including school bully Turbo ("Little Giants'" Joey Simmrin), and the Broodwarrior that followed Cy to earth.
   "Star Kid" is full of surprises, including high production values from cinematographer Ronn Schmidt and production designer C.J. Strawn; together they avoid the usual barrenness of low budget frames. Writer/director Coto's script is thoughtful and funny, particularly the continuous interplay between literal-minded Cy and slang-talking Spencer: the phrase "too cool" raises Cy's temperature; "forget it" erases Cy's memory. The terror of being sealed inside Cy is well realized, as are the jokes built around Spencer's attempts to move the powerful cyborsuit gracefully. It's gratifying that the bully Turbo becomes Spencer's ally, though not so gratifying that it happens only after Spencer fights and beats him.
   Although the females are peripheral they are hip and interesting; best is the inventive science teacher (Corinne Bohrer of "Vice Versa"), a smart adult who acts to help Spencer--a rare alliance in children's films.
   "Star Kid" stands out as well-crafted fare, laudable in urging kids to face their fears because otherwise those fears don't go away. But it joins the pack when it portrays acting with violence and aggression as the only way to face up.    Starring Joseph Mazzello, Joey Simmrin and Corinne Bohrer. Directed and written by Manny Coto. Produced by Jennie Lew Tugend. A Trimark release. SF. Rated PG. Running time: 100 min.
Tags: Starring Joseph Mazzello, Joey Simmrin, Corinne Bohrer, Directed, written by Manny Coto, Produced, Jennie Lew Tugend, Trimark, SF
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