If you are looking for a good adventure movie to watch with your family, this one definitely rates five stars.
If, however, you have read the original novel and have great respect for the writing of Mark Twain, you will hate this movie. Several reviewers have rated this version as the best of all the P&P movies. If this one is the best, I don't even want to think about the others.
On the plus side, the movie is, as stated, a good adventure family-type movie. It gives a vivid portrayal of medieval England, both the pomp and the grunge. It has plenty of action, fun, pathos, and a happy ending but also deals with the brutality, intolerance and political scheming of the age. The twins who play Prince Edward and Tom Canty are very good -- much more honestly expressive and far less hammy than most of the adult actors. They are attractive and personable without, thank God, being just-too-cute-for-words kid actors.
Now for the axe. I do not and never will understand why people who adapt books for movies think that they are better writers than the original authors and can take whatever liberties they like with the plots and story lines. I do understand that it is almost impossible to film a book without leaving out many details and even characters and I can tolerate that. What I cannot tolerate, however, is the outright changing and destroying of as much of the original story as these screenwriters have done, not only weakening it but making certain situations absurd as well as inaccurate. Thus this movie is simply not Mark Twain's imaginative, sometimes biting and brutally frank, often hilarious statement for social justice.
So -- by all means buy the movie or rent it if you want an evening of family entertainment. But avoid it like the plague if you are looking for an adjunct to the reading/study of Mark Twain's wonderful novel.