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The 21st successor to the role of Bengalla's resident superhero must travel to New York to prevent a rich madman from obtaining three magic skulls that would give him the secret to ultimate power. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a very enjoyable movie, enough action to keep interest, yet clean enough and without gory violence for the kids.
I used to enjoy following the comic serial in the local paper when I was younger. It was discontinued in my local paper a long time ago, but it was refreshing to see this theatrical adaptation made to possibly renew interest in this ancient hero, especially to the younger crowd.
This is Billy Zane's shining moment in theater because #1, he did not have quite a big role in Titanic, and #2, he was such a dink in that movie anyway.
Treat Williams gives the best effort in this movie IMHO, it is a bit overacted, but he maintains the balance between humor and being dastardly evil.
The basic premise of the movie, to Phantom newcomers, is that The Phantom is a superhero that fights for what is right in the African Jungle. The Phantom is called the Ghost who Walks, because he has survived for 400 years. Little does anyone know that the Phantom lives on because each Phantom grooms his son to take the mantle of the Phantom should the present Phantom faces an untimely death. Unique to most superheroes, he uses guns, yet he makes every effort to not kill anyone he apprehends. He resides in the Skull Cave (Wonder if the makers of the Masters of the Universe owes Lee Falk some chunka chunka for this idea). The Phantom has the loyalty of many of the natives that reside in the jungle and receives much assistance from them.
In this adaptation, a thug from NYC by the name of Xander Drax has his henchmen attempt to procure 3 mystical skulls which gives dark powers to he who possesses them. The Phantom acts to thwart his efforts, as he knows the power these skulls contain.
This film contains action on land, sea, and air. Catherine Zeta Jones plays one of Drax's stooges. Her character has more depth than most of the characters in this movie.
As much as I enjoyed the movie, there are some things that make you go "Hmmmm..."
A horse and a wolf can both keep pace with a biplane speeding across the jungle. The Phantom must have fed them thier Wheaties...
The Phantom's alter ego, aka Kit Walker, takes a cab in New York City. He initally offers Bengala currency to the cabbie, then he offers a mitfull of jewels. Now, when you give a NY cabbie a handfull of what appears to be costume jewelry to the untrained eye, chances are you get screamed at severely at best (taking into consideration this took place in the 1930's, nowadays, the same action could get you brutalized in someway.)
Another is the Phantom chases Xander Drax and jumps into the water and clings onto the plane they take to the Devil's Vortex. Now, if any human being grabs onto a plane soaking wet, hangs on when the airplane is so many thousands of feet above ground where the air is colder and thinner, you would be freezing and getting light headed from the depleted oxygen as you hang on outside during a trip across the Atlantic.
My favorite part of the movie, aside from the great scenery, is how Xander Drax explains his name to Kabai Sengh in spelling bee fashion (Xander Drax! X A N D E R D R A X! Xander Drax!).
Well, this movie has a great ending, which I will not give out. Any fan of movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark or Jewel of the Nile would really like this one.
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