Just got back from seeing "Duma" - the new film about a South African boy who embarks on an epic adventure while returning his pet cheetah to the wild. This is the sort of contemporary Walt Disney-style movie I'm always moaning about wanting to see. And it's really superb - - gorgeously filmed entirely out on location, with no Hollywood stars, no tired filmschool templates, no wiseass dialogue, no CGI, no ugly monochromatic color schemes. Director Carroll Ballard (Black Stallion, Never Cry Wolf) has simply made an engrossing, dynamic, growing-up adventure film - a real movie with real people and real animals that resonates as your eyes dry out in the lobby.
Guess what: Hollywood doesn't get it. (Of course, Disney has nothing to do with it, having long ago cut animals and earthiness out of their consumer "franchise.")
And as usual, the other guys down the block - the Warner Bros - don't know what they have or how to market it and haven't planned a national release for this movie at all. They want to send it straight to video. In fact, "Duma" is only now playing in Los Angeles citiwide on the producer's dime, with nothing but a few print ads and the noisy support of critics like Ebert et al. So those you living in Los Angeles (especially if you have kids) - hustle down to see "Duma" and support quality filmmaking and filmmakers. Help shame WB into a true release - and see a wonderful, moving film for all ages.