14 September 2003 | lemurlou
Don't add this one to your family classics collection
There are many wonderful animal-themed family movies out there, but this is not one of them. About the movie in general: The script is poor, the characters are stereotyped and undeveloped, and the acting is poor, except Richard Haydn (Mr. Rowbotham) who adds some comic relief to an otherwise uncomical family comedy. Cheryl Miller (as Paula) displays some of the worst acting I have ever seen, as she tries to play a character that appears to be about 10 years younger than she actually is. It is very obvious when the movie cuts to nature film footage, and when the gorillas are real and when they are someone in a costume, but considering the date of the movie, perhaps this was forgivable. Also, for a G-rated family film, there are a surprising number of swear words and there are several mildly violent scenes.
About the way wildlife is portrayed in the movie: On the positive side, the characters are trying to help wildlife, and the message that poachers are bad is very clear. However, the way that wild animals are portrayed as pets is terrible. The ideas that wild lions can be tamed with chocolate cake, that animals can be captured and released without any worry about human imprinting, or that a chimpanzee makes a good companion to a gorilla field researcher are all incredulous. And that's just the beginning. Also, the "leopard" is actually a jaguar.