Rainbow (1995)


UK/Canada. 1995.


Director – Bob Hoskins, Screenplay – Ashley & Robert Sidaway, Story – Ashley Sidaway, Producers – Nicolas Clermont & Robert Sidaway, Photography (some scenes b&w) – Freddie Francis, Music – Alan Reeves, Visual Effects Supervisor – Steven Robiner, Electronic Photography Supervisor – John Galt, Special Effects Supervisor – Ryal Cosgrove, Production Design – Claude Paré. Production Company – Winchester Films/Filmline International/Winchester Multimedia PLC/Sony High Definition


Willy Lavendel (Mike Bailey), Jacob Tierney (Steve Bailey), Terry Finn (Jackie Bailey), Bob Hoskins (Frank Bailey), Jonathan Schuman (Pete), Eleanor Misrahi (Tissy), Saul Rubinek (Sam Cohen), Dan Akyroyd (Sheriff Wyatt Hampton)


In Hudson Harbor, New Jersey, young Mike Bailey is certain that he saw the end of a rainbow coming down in an old disused railway yard. His grandfather tells him that the soil where the rainbow comes down has magical properties. Mike convinces his friends Pete and Tissy of this and they create equipment that will track the place where the next rainbow lands. Joined by Mike’s older brother Steve, they succeed in doing so and are able to walk up into the rainbow. They emerge from the other end in a wheat field in Kansas. Their journey there becomes the subject of news coverage and angers both Mike’s mother and the blustery local sheriff. Steve has taken several pieces of gold from inside the rainbow and back home redeems these for money so that he can become somebody. However, his taking the gold has upset the balance of nature and soon colour starts draining from the world, causing mass anarchy and imminent social collapse.

Bob Hoskins was a talented and accomplished actor, known for films such as Mona Lisa (1986), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988) and Felicia’s Journey (1999), among many others. Hoskins made two forays into directing, with The Raggedy Rawney (1988), which was also a fantasy film about an army deserter who hides dressed as a girl with a group of Gypsies and comes to discover magical abilities within himself, and this children’s film. Both films were dismal flops and barely even saw any type of release.

Clearly, Bob Hoskins, while a fine actor, failed to quite mastered the art of multitasking. Rainbow is a film that strikes only with its utter insipidity. Hoskins and his writers/producers trip vaguely through New Age sentiments. These operate on a very vague series of contrasts – the rainbow represents health, lack of colour in the world represents disharmony and anarchy. This all comes with a few trendy nods towards the endangered Brazilian rainforests and an extremely dubious appeal to photosynthesis to justify the wonky mysticism. Sadly, where a good children’s film should enchant, there is nothing standout about Rainbow – its displays of magic and the journey up inside the rainbow are singularly unremarkable occurrences. The scenes depicting the world without colour are dull and uninteresting – compare them to the same visual colour and black-and-white melding that occurred in Pleasantville (1998) and you can see just what Rainbow lacks. Even worse is the inevitable descent into children’s movie slapstick. The film takes a major nosedive at about the point when Hoskins engages in extended knockabout shenanigans running around an airport, which contain a particularly embarrassing cameo from Dan Aykroyd as a comic foil sheriff.

Full film available online here:-

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