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An American boy and girl, spending six months in Kenya with their scientist parents adopt a cheetah, only to realize that they must set it loose so that it can learn to hunt and be free. However, when the animal is captured by poachers planning to race it against greyhounds, the two city kids, together with a young African goat herder they befriended, head off into the wild to rescue the cheetah. Written by
David Mullich <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A disappointing film that fails mainly due to poor writing.
I understand that this film was made with a young audience in mind. A very, VERY young audience, I suspect. But that is no excuse for dumbing-down to the point of idiocy, poorly written dialogue that is so "child-friendly" that it actually has all the adults talking like children (dumb ones), and a sledge-hammer approach to the "message".
Children are not morons. Even young children. A skilled writer can produce a movie which is entirely palatable to an eight-year-old, yet still explores a variety of themes and ideas in a realistic and un-patronising way. Older characters don't have to behave like children in order to be liked/understood/accepted by children. They should be portrayed truthfully.
This film wastes many great opportunities. The scenery is beautiful, and well photographed by a competent crew. In fact, the whole film is competently made. It just suffers from TERRIBLE writing, which has a knock-on effect right down the line. The acting seems poor, but this is mainly due to the atrocious material that the talented cast is forced to work with. The story, though far from original, is worth another telling, and there's certainly nothing wrong with messages about loving and respecting wildlife. But even a very young audience doesn't need to be repeatedly whacked over the head with it.
This film can be compared with many others of its kind; all of which are superior, mainly because they are better written, better acted, and don't talk down to their audience. I recommend "Born Free: A New Adventure" and "Dumas" as both being very good examples of how very similar stories can be told in a less patronising way. (And of course the original "Born Free" is essential viewing, though admittedly very dated by modern standards.)
The script is the foundation of every film, TV show, or play. I should have LOVED this film. It has all the right ingredients. But sadly it was built on a very shaky foundation. And as a result, it fell down.
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