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2 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
FALLS FLAT DESPITE ITS SPECTACULAR SETTING., 28 November 2004
Author: rsoonsa (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Mountain Mesa, California
Strong visual values mark this film, and the camera's capture of that splendorous quality of light distinctive to sub-Saharan Africa nearly gives one the perception of a travelogue for Kenya at its most captivating; however, an unfortunate inclusion of a weak storyline drops the work to a juvenile level appropriate to its targeted audience. The opening scene shows poachers dispatching an elephant cow and an unsuccessful attempt to seize her calf (that becomes a featured performer here), and during the next scene an American divorcée, Beverly (Stephanie Zimbalist) and her pre-teen son deplane, prepared to vacation at a ranch managed by a reformed hunter, Clive Potter (Julian Sands) who has founded an animal orphanage upon his land. The boy promptly makes a friend with a local youngster of about the same age, and the two become involved in an endeavor to regain the mentioned elephant orphan, "Ellie", from her new owner, Etheridge, an American whose acquisition of the beast for his plantation in Florida will fiscally support Clive's animal sanctuary for a year and more. The film then focuses upon an attempt by Etheridge to retrieve his pachyderm from the two boys, and the escape of the title ensues, with the animal's new master being assisted by the same poachers who killed Ellie's parent, all this while Clive and Beverly become enamored of each other, and participants romp through an encampment of bemused Masai and evade various aggressive fauna, including a lion, elephants and hyenas. Obviously not produced with artistic aspirations, this movie is nonetheless handicapped with its continually predictable script and often inane dialogue, leaving only sublime scenery to support one's interest, and there is too little footage of Kenya's animal kingdom, other than the baby elephant. Sands, a resourceful actor, has little to do, merely walking through what must be a pleasant payday while Zimbalist is decorative, and composed. The two youngsters do a bit of ad libbing, but not enough to rescue this tepid piece.
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