The Emerald Forest, |
directed by John Boorman
(Columbia Tristar, 1985)
The Emerald Forest movie supposedly sends an environmental message, and that's certainly true, but if you look closely it's really a fig leaf (like one of those little flaps on a string that constitute the sole bit of clothing worn by the villagers) for an updated Tarzan movie.
That said, this movie is tremendous entertainment. It is exciting almost all the way through. And when it's slow, there are lots of cute teenage girls in the altogether to gaze at. In fact, there's a demographically striking abundance of teenage girls in this particular tribe.
My favorite scene: During the courtship ritual, Tomme is given a club and is supposed "knock out" his girl in front of the villagers and then carry her off into the forest. She cowers. He hesitates, waves the club around. She glares at him and whispers, "Do it right!" So he hits her and she makes a show of being "knocked out." The whole courtship ritual is beautifully staged. I cannot attest to its authenticity, but it's perfectly clear as he "defends" her from menacing dudes, refuses to be carried off by the other girls, etc. The sheer enthusiasm portrayed is remarkable.
Powers Boothe, playing a dam engineer, makes a dashing Trader Horn-type. He has a great scene when he wakes up in the village only to see his son, Tomme, sleeping peaceful and embracing his girl, both practically nude in the next hammock. The expressions that run across his face are priceless.
The Fierce People live up to their name, but I am dubious that people who live in nature can be so infected with violence.
I learned something. You can climb a high-rise by wrapping vines around your feet. Who knew? The dam business at the end was totally righteous, but, really, pretty preposterous.
And how about that shot of the eagle in flight. Taken from about two feet away. Pretty neat.
Terrific Hollywood movie? You bet. Werner Herzog? Not so much.
11 December 2010
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