starring C. Thomas Howell, Carol Alt, Chris Martin, Fabiana Udenio, Tyler Hynes and Robert Stewart
written by Peter Benchley
directed by Jon Cassar
I didn’t know it when I watched it that this was a Canadian movie, funded partly by Canada’s National Film Board. I usually laugh about Canadian movies because they are so bad compared with big-money American movies.
I also did not realize when I rented this movie that it is a made-for-TV film, and a pilot, meaning that it is the first of a series. Because it is the first of a series there is no conclusion at the end of 90-minutes. The story is to be continued in another episode. And the story is that a commercial jet airliner crashes in MOTFA (“Middle of the F__cking Amazon”), but here are a handful of survivors that are missed and left behind by the search-and-rescue team that comes to the site. This small band then has to find its way out of the rain forest. Or, maybe I should say jungle.
The Amazon rain forest is one of the few last, great wildernesses in the world. It is not a frozen, snowy wilderness like the Arctic. It is a wet, humid, hot, green monster nicknamed The Lungs of the world, because 20% of the earth’s oxygen is generate there. Every breath we take, anywhere on the planet, we are breathing a little bit of the Amazon rain forest into our lungs.
We learn the Six Rules of Being Lost in the Rain Forest.
1) Stay away form any native settlements. Outsiders, like gold prospectors, are so unpopular with the natives that almost any outsider will be killed on sight.
2) Stick to the rivers wherever you can. The entire Amazon rain forest is one big drainage basin. So one river will lead to another, and then another, and then another and eventually out.
3) Watch where you walk in the daylight.
4) Don’t eat what you don’t know. I follow this advice every day of my life in Japan.
5) Stay with the people who are familiar with the rules.
6) Don’t wander too far from your crash site. Rescued efforts will always begin at the crash site.
This band of survivors is like the castaways in the 1960s American sitcom Gilligan’s Island. There is a foolish, Gilligan-like mechanic who won a trip to Rio (Brazil) on the famous U.S.game show The Price is Right(starring Bob Barker). There is a professor who knows the rules. There is a doctor who tries to lead the group, much as the Skipper. There is Pia, an opera singer who, under the circumstances is a fair stand-in for Ginger, the movie star. There is a surviving flight attendant who will do as Marianne. The group is only missing Mr. and Mrs. Howell, the millionaire and his wife.
In the course of their trials the group actually makes this comparison themselves and joke about it. Throughout the movie these people are surreptitiously observed from the bushes by Amazonian Indians. But there is only one scene in which they feature. That was a disappointment because I expected the director to do something with the natives. I guess that has to wait until episode two. A premise exists for continuing the story even if only to resolve the matter of the natives because, in Part 1 one of the survivors, a boy, wakes up form his shock-induced unconsciousness to discover that his wounded arm has been treated, and some kind of mark has been either tattooed or painted onto his forehead. It remains a mystery.
Amazon was not as good as other Canadian movies such as Cube.
Nature is not gentle, kind or wonderful. It is violent, harsh, unforgiving and terrible. Live at its struggling rawest. Thank goodness I live in an apartment in a city, with hot water and a door that locks, and a sharp knife available in my kitchen cupboard. Can you survive in raw nature? I probably couldn’t.