Thursday, October 2, 2008


Duma is a charming and emotional movie about an orphaned cheetah (Duma, which is Swahili for "cheetah"), and the young boy, Xan, who adopts him and ultimately comes to the difficult decision that he must return the animal to its true home, where Duma can “be fully alive.” With a bit of family strife as the backdrop, Xan takes off on his own in his dad’s motorcycle, with Duma riding shotgun, on the adventure of a lifetime, set in stunningly beautiful South Africa.

The journey to the Erongo Mountains will take many days, and is hundreds of miles from Xan’s home, and along the way they encounter a mysterious, wandering stranger (friend or foe?), furious river rapids, crocodiles, lions and deadly poisonous threats. The terrain – lush jungle, scorched salt flats, the unfriendly scrub of the Kalahari Desert – makes for some incredible scenery, and it also, of course, serves up countless moments of danger.

Hope Davis is the distraught mom, and Campbell Scott is the dad, fighting his own battle to stay alive. Xan is played by an actor named Alexander Michaletos, and is captivating as the brave and conflicted boy, trying so hard to do what he knows is right.

The director is Caroll Ballard, who also did the wonderful Flyaway Home, which I’ll write about another time. (But do put it on your list of must-sees!)

Duma is rated PG for “mild adventure peril.” It’s a pretty safe movie for the young ones in terms of other undesirable elements, and the “peril” itself is not presented in an unreasonably heightened way. Good judgment and sound decision-making are underlying themes, and overall the movie is a satisfying experience, with plenty of visual beauty.
It also won the 2006 Genesis Award for a Family Feature Film, which recognizes the entertainment industry for efforts in animal awareness.

1 comment:

  1. On a motorcycle? Beautiful terrain? Sounds like a movie must see for me!



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