The Legend of Johnny Lingo

"Bad"

The Legend of Johnny Lingo Review


Talk about misleading your audience. I don't know where the filmmakers got the gall to use a title like The Legend of Johnny Lingo. I sat through the movie (a remake of a 1969 film) and I'm trying to figure out what's so damned legendary about Johnny Lingo.

Actually there are three Johnny Lingos. There might be more, but after seeing the movie I'm in no great hurry to find out. The third one's real name is Tama and his story takes place at the turn of the 19th century when the people of Malio Island in the South Pacific find baby Tama in a storm- battered canoe. Years pass and Tama proves to be more trouble than he's worth.

He's disowned by the village leader, passed off by another family, and finally ends up in the possession of a brute with a sympathetic daughter. Bound by their mutual ostracism, Tama and the girl become friends, but Tama wants to go to a magical island and sets off in a handmade vessel. He doesn't leave without promising to see his friend again, which he does eight years later, after lots of hard work and wise speeches courtesy of the second Johnny Lingo--the mystical trader.

That plot wrinkle of Tama returning to his home as the new Johnny Lingo may sound fun, but it isn't, just like the rest of this movie. In fact, I'm still figuring out how this movie is playing in multiplexes. It's not the worst movie of the year--that would be House of the Dead or maybe Boat Trip--but it's certainly the most boring for two reasons.

First, Johnny Lingo and his feats aren't that memorable.. Look at Paul Bunyon, John Henry, and even a sports hero of yore like Babe Ruth. Now, you can amuse any five-year-old with that trio. But Johnny Lingo? We never know why he's worthy of our attention. From what I can tell, Johnny sailed a boat really well, learned how to make "noni" juice, and met a girl. This constitutes a legend? I can come up with stories from last month that make me sound like a Greek god by comparison. You should here how my friend and I tried to cross First Avenue during the New York City Marathon...

Second, director Steven Ramirez and screenwriter Riwia Brown do an awful job with embellishments, both with the title character and the movie itself. When we're talking about a legend, there should be excitement aplenty, but the movie is strangely devoid of it. We don't get to see any of Tama's journeys or get an idea of what Tama envisions this magical island to look like. There's no adventure or fun anywhere in Johnny Lingo, which is odd because this is kid friendly fare.

The film's website makes a big deal about showcasing the culture of the Polynesian people and the story's values. That's admirable, but what kid would want to watch this? The movie doesn't reward them. There are no truly funny, scary, or heroic characters and no memorable visuals. As a boy I remember going to the movies, knowing that something special was going to happen once the lights went down. In the case of a Johnny Lingo screening, I'd advise children to take a long nap.

Legendary googly eyes.



The Legend of Johnny Lingo

Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th August 2003

Distributed by: Number 8 Production LLC

Production compaines: Turtles Crossing LLC, MGM Home Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Steven Ramirez

Producer: , Gerald R. Molen

Starring: as Johnny Lingo, as Malio Chief, Joe Folau as Tama

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