Film Friday Flashback: The Phantom Tollbooth


I remember this as being fun, and I do occasionally bust out into “Don’t say there’s nothing to in the Doldrums!” I think I must have watched this quite a lot because I remember very specific scenes and moments.


Alright, so I just finished listening to the audio book (which was fantastic and everyone should either read the book or listen to it), so I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was expecting to, but it’s still a very fun movie. The script is condensed a little too much for my taste; so much happens in the book that gets squished together or hardly mentioned in the movie. Most of the scenes in the movie are much shorter than I would have preferred, and Milo grows into a clever adventurer much faster in the movie than in the book.

That being said, I still loved getting to watch Milo drive into Dictionopolis, climb the Mountains of Ignorance, converse with the Whether Man, and attempt to conduct a sunrise. I could have done without the songs; there’s so much whimsy and charm already in the story that the songs just made it feel kind of cheesy. The script is quite good though and takes many passages straight from the book. Some things are out of order from the book, but it’s nothing too serious; there are plenty of scenes from the book that didn’t make it into the movie, so now I am recommending that everyone go read the book. We specifically get to know Milo, Tock, and the Humbug better in the book, and the conflict feels more serious in the book because we get to see so much more of the land of Wisdom and all the problems the absence of Rhyme and Reason has caused.

This is a great kids movie for viewers of all ages. It’s far more clever than most kids movies, and is whimsical, magical, clever, and adorable. Also, please make sure your children read the book. It’s brilliant.

What are your favorite scenes in The Phantom Tollbooth?

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