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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Sheena (1984)



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As in a great many jungle movies, a prophecy of some kind turns a white girl (orphaned because her parents inexplicably shouted inside a cave and caused a cave-in) into the Queen of the Jungle. Whereas a common factual error of this genre is to show lions living in the jungle, Sheena has lions but lacks a jungle. It takes place in the African savannah, complete with chimpanzees and swinging vines.

The film features atrocious acting and inexplicable logic. Consider a native healing ritual, which involves burying the patient neck-deep in the road and dancing around him, but not before the entire tribe hides behind bushes and waits until a Jeep nearly runs him over. As for Sheena herself, she speaks English well enough but is not only inexperienced about civilization and technology but about the fundamentals of human biology. ("Mouths are used to eat with. Why did you touch yours to mine?")

It's a long and unfortunate step down for director John Guillermin, who had, in 1959, made Tarzan's Greatest Adventure, one of the very best of the dozens of Tarzan movies made over the decades.