Good movie, better talent.
bombast | Oklahoma city, OK USA | 02/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First, when I review a movie, I try to grade it on its own terms. It wouldn't be fair to put this one up against "Schindler's List" or "The Breakfast Club". This Disney offering is much like so many other Disney made-for-TV films. It's cute and inoffensive. There are no rough edges, nothing shocking... in a word: kid-safe. In this, it excells at being what it was intended to be. There is enough entertainment value to make The Brainiacs.com fun for adults, too, but I am deducting a point because the writers didn't work hard enough to maintain the suspension of disbelief for those technicially minded enough to be put off by the impossible feats that these kids pull off on their computers (things it would take an army of seasoned programmers and artists weeks to produce, these kids do in a few seconds.) This can be forgiven, though, since it is a common practice for such films and it really doesn't keep the movie from filling the niche it was intended to. I won't rehash the plot since it is already spelled out in the Amazaon editorial. There is one extraordinary aspect of this movie that bears mention, and that is its main star, Michael Angarano. I feel that he is seriously short-changed by whoever designed the outer box. It's obvious that he has a very formiddable talent and it shows here. He is charming and outshines the rest of the cast with his natural portrayal of the main character of Matt Tyler. It is a shame that his name is not even mentioned in the graphics on the front of the VHS box - what a horrible thing to do to a good young actor. It could be argued that being relatively unknown, his name won't sell units. My arguments are that -A> he won't be lesser-known for long, he is a busy enough and talented enough young actor to make a big impression on the business.... and -B> Kevin Kilner's name (which features very prominantly on the front) doesn't sell units, either. Ask a hundred strangers who "Kevin Kilner" is, and you'll get a hundred clueless answers. Truth is, he gets such a nod because he is an adult. Meanwhile, the star of the movie (which is primarily aimed at kids) gets demoted because he's a kid. Gotta love that bean-counter thinking. All preaching aside, if you like Disney made-for-TV movies, or your kids do, go ahead and give this one a try. Its funny, sweet and has a nice message for kids and parents alike."