Actually, maybe this isn't a contradiction. Maybe it's a condundrum. The infinitely more sincere The Pagemaster falls right into the same trap, taking famous characters from the wonderful world of books (Mr Hyde, Moby Dick, Long John Silver) and reducin g them to cartoons: come alive, you're in the post-literate generation. How books are supposed to compete with the more immediate pleasures afforded by cinema - the expectations created are vast - isn't explored: how does an art best experienced as a grou p activity sell so solitary a delight as reading? Employing animation, computer graphics and little robot beasties, the medium overwhelms it's message - and then some.
Of course, we're not meant to be bothered about such distinctions any more: books, machines, cassettes, CD-Rom. Still, filing out from The Neverending Story III, I couldn't help experiencing a pang when my godchild asked not for books, but for the merchandising. Was there a T-shirt, a toy, a video game? I sighed and said yes, probably, but one day she'd really have to learn to read and write so she could at least start signing the cheques.