Adult viewers may yearn for all those '70s WILDERNESS FAMILY reruns after seeing this vapid children's entertainment, with trendy New Age mysticism and heavy-handed environmental themes pasted over a bogus plot shell stolen from the HOME ALONE pictures.
The movie starts well: 11-year-old Kerrie Haynes (Nicole Lund) is the trail-wise daughter of a Utah Forest Service Ranger (Bo Hopkins). Unfairly held in detention after school with fat troublemaker Casey (Matthew Lewis) and likeable nerd John (Jonathan Best), Kerrie and her schoolmates are in
the wrong place at the wrong time when a pair of escaped convicts, Jocko (Robert Z'Dar) and Dewayne (David Shark), take them hostage. Thanks to some skillful pleading and Casey's feigned carsickness, the not-very-bright bad guys feel sorry for the youngsters and release them in the forest--but not
before the kids give them faulty directions for their escape route.
If the ex-captives were to run for home as quickly as possible there would be no movie, so Kerrie, John, and Casey rig up HOME ALONE-style traps among the tall trees, then wait around to enjoy the convicts' return when they blunder into each hidden spike and suspended log. "I should've killed
them!" rages Jocko, and when he sights the giggling brats: "We kill 'em! We kill 'em an' kill 'em an' kill 'em an' kill 'em!" The ensuing chase scenes are marked by poor continuity, cheerful music during life-or-death pursuits, and inane bumbling by both the adult and juvenile offenders. In
addition, these scenic woods are haunted by Simco (Don Shanks), ancient Indian shaman who materializes before Kerrie to tell her she's a channeller for the guardian spirits. Simco is a particularly confusing character: sometimes he's visible only to Kerrie; sometimes he's a wolf; sometimes he's a
flesh-and-blood Indian warrior; sometimes other people can see him. These other people include inconsequential guest stars like Vivian Schilling as Kerrie's college-age sister, and Mickey Rooney as a local rancher, both members the posse that finally catches the evildoers.
The child actors, especially Nicole Lund, do a laudable job, given what they had to work with. The same can't be said for the filmmakers, who are responsible for the derivative plot and wisecrack-heavy dialogue. Writer/director Craig Clyde, a Utah-based radio/TV personality and industrial
filmmaker, grew up on a Washington reservation, which explains his penchant for Native American themes, but Simco and his supernatural shenanigans are more kitsch than culturally aware. Ditto the ecological cliches, especially a closing environmental ballad that plays on and on endlessly, even
after the credits finish and the screen goes black. THE LEGEND OF WOLF MOUNTAIN had a limited theatrical release in Utah, L.A., Mississippi, and Minneapolis-St.Paul and was aggressively marketed on home video. (Violence.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: PG
- Review: Adult viewers may yearn for all those '70s WILDERNESS FAMILY reruns after seeing this vapid children's entertainment, with trendy New Age mysticism and heavy-handed environmental themes pasted over a bogus plot shell stolen from the HOME ALONE pictures.… (more)