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Film / Rainbow

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Who needs to go over the rainbow when you can go in one?

Rainbow is a 1996 family film directed by Bob Hoskins, who also stars in it along with Dan Aykroyd.

The plot revolves around three kids - Mike, Peter and Tissy. One day they witness a rainbow actually land. Taking a soil sample from the crash site allows them to somehow track where a rainbow will land next. The next time it rains, the kids (and Mike's older brother Steven) manage to track the rainbow and actually travel inside it. However, while inside, Steven steals some of the golden nuggets that helps the rainbow work. When they get back to Earth, colour starts draining from the world. Soon oxygen starts being drained from the world too, threatening life. Naturally the only way to stop this is to retrieve the gold and put it back in the rainbow.

It was also the first film to be shot in HD video. The scenes inside the rainbow were filmed with prototype HD cameras.


Not to be confused with the anime with the same name, the beloved children's series or the rock band.

Tropes in seven different colours:

  • Adults Are Useless: Played straight for the first half of the movie where the children do all their stuff on their own. But Jackie, Frank and Mr Cohen end up helping out in the climax.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Gender flipped. Steven eyes a bad girl, part of a street gang. Not a good idea, Steve.
  • Amazing Technicolor World: Inside the rainbow duh.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Examining the soil from where the rainbow lands allows Tissy to track where it'll land next.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Averted. Peter averts most Asian stereotypes with Tissy being the nerd of the group.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Steve for Mike. He at first sees Mike as an Annoying Younger Sibling but immediately runs after him as soon as it looks like Mike has run out of school.
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  • Big Friendly Dog: Mutt is a Labrador but is quite friendly.
  • Biker Babe: The aforementioned bad girl.
  • Canine Companion: Mutt again.
  • Cassandra Truth: The principal naturally refuses to believe the children's story.
    "I'm sure your English teacher is very impressed with your creativity..."
  • Child Hater: Dan Aykroyd's character, the Kansas sheriff.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The colour in the film is related to how much is left in the world. Each colour from the rainbow drains one by one. For example, first all the red leaves the world and so on. Eventually we're left with only violet and grey.
  • Cool Old Guy: Frank, former carnival worker and stage magician.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr Cohen, the science teacher. The only teacher who believes the children and helps them.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Indeed. The world really looks gloomy when the colour has drained out of it.
  • Disappeared Dad: Mike and Steve's father left them to rejoin the carnival.
  • Doing In the Scientist: "We've become too scientific. We've lost the magic".
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: And getting to ride inside of one is just AWESOME.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Well the rainbow isn't evil, but Mutt seems able to sense its presence.
  • Eye Take: Frank when he sees the news broadcast about the kids.
  • Fashion Dissonance: Deliberately averted on the part of the costume designer. She wanted the film to have a timeless feel so avoided using any fashions that would date it.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The third act has the protagonists trying to retrieve the gold pieces Steve took from the rainbow.
  • Grounded Forever: Mike and Steve's punishment after the rainbow business.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: Of course Jackie's news station does a story on the kids getting dropped off in Kansas - even when she tells them not to.
  • It's All My Fault: Steve after he realises what he's done.
  • Keet: Mike fits the small, perky and plucky requirements.
  • Joisey: Averted, despite being set in New Jersey. Mostly because it was filmed in Canada.
  • Manly Tears: Steven, famously from the trailer "way to go Mikey!"
  • Nerd: Tissy has Nerd Glasses, a blocked nose and speaks with a lisp.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: All four of the kids. Michael (Mike), Peter (Pete), Steven (Steve), Patricia (Tissy).
  • Parent Service: While looking for Tissy in a clothing store, the Sheriff opens one of the curtains covering the changing reveal a buxom young woman in lingerie.
  • Police Are Useless: Sheriff Hampton easily loses three children in an airport and is continually one-upped by them.
  • Precision F-Strike: It's a children's film but drops two s-bombs.
  • Rainbow Lite: Played for Drama believe it or not. The rainbow loses each colour gradually.
  • Scenery Porn: Opens up with a really nice shot of the Statue of Liberty. Also a very nice shot of the Amazon at the end.
  • Shout-Out: The rainbow drops them in Kansas. What could that be a reference to?
  • Splash of Color: Inverted. The film starts off in color but it's slowly drained as the rainbow loses its power.
  • Tag Along Kid: Inverted. Steve is the tag-along teenager to a group of four kids.
  • Team Pet: Mutt the dog.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Mike must go back into the rainbow alone and restore the gold.
  • Token Minority Couple: Peter is Asian and thus has an Asian father, but has a black mother.
  • Token Trio: White Mike, Asian Peter and girl Tissy who is also a nerd.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: tomboyish nerd Tissy and girly girl mother Jackie.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Frank's voice. British Bob Hoskins is trying to attempt a New Jersey accent. He ends up creating an entirely new type of accent altogether.
  • When You Coming Home Mom: Mike has this attitude to his mother's job as a TV journalist.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Jackie slaps Steve during a family argument. He runs off and she immediately regrets it.
  • Now What?: The movie ends with Mike stuck in the middle of a tropical rainforest.