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Little Bigfoot Reviews

Producers behind the direct-to-video BIGFOOT: THE UNFORGETTABLE ENCOUNTER (1995) just couldn't let sleeping yetis lie. Two years later, they offered an even more overbearing family flick concerning the legendary North American apeman. Ruthless timber tycoon Largo (Kenneth Tigar) and his brute lumberjacks illegally cut down baby redwoods, hunt endangered species, and generally do bad things to forests around Largo's Oregon property. When they glimpse a sasquatch and its offspring, the men first mistake the pair for grizzlies. Largo's order is shoot to kill the creatures; if rare or federally-protected animals are found in the area, logging operations will be stalled. Wounded, the "mother" Bigfoot languishes in a cave, while the juvenile cautiously ventures out alone. By chance, the creature befriends Payton Shoemaker (Ross Mallinger), a suburban boy whose family vacations nearby. Payton's Tolkien-minded kid sister, Maggie (Caitlin Barrett), dubs their hairy playmate Bilbo, after the protagonist of The Hobbit. Lanya (Kelly Packard), pretty veterinarian and local nature activist, does not believe the Bigfoot talk, but she takes the Shoemaker children along with her on a mission to expose Largo's eco-crimes. When finally confronted with Bilbo and parent, the youths frantically try to hide the duo from Largo's gun-toting lugs. Just when Bilbo, caught in a beartrap, seems doomed, noble Sheriff Cliffton (Matt McCoy), who's been waiting for a chance to arrest Largo, arrives with his deputies to save the day. McCoy and the kids agree to keep the hairy bipeds a secret, as the mother-and-child creatures retreat into the foliage. Closing credits end with "...Dedicated to the Supreme Being." That must mean Steven Spielberg. Wide-angle camera sweeps; broad-brush performances; bombastic, pseudo John Williams musical score; heavy-handed uplift--all these shamelessly copy and amplify Spielberg's sense-of-wonder stylistics to the point of parody. Even bug-eyed Bilbo's rubbery animatronic face resembles E.T. with a fringe of fur. Spielberg himself, as producer, raided the sasquatch myth for his HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS (1987), which wasn't very good either, but at least it had nuanced acting and kept the environmental propaganda down to a shout. LITTLE BIGFOOT turns every character into a one-note bore: the Evil Businessman, the Perky Mom, the Cute Sister, etc., all the better to piledrive its conservation message home. There's no subtlety or relief from the chest-pounding self-righteousness, as sorrowful Bilbo literally hugs the stumps of murdered redwoods. In fact, the young audiences to which this panders might grow restless with the movie, given that the plot centers on villains violating the civil rights of trees. Bigfoot, little or otherwise, is only incidental to the sermon. LITTLE BIGFOOT is a very loose sequel to BIGFOOT: THE UNFORGETTABLE ENCOUNTER; Matt McCoy repeats his role as the hero sheriff. (Violence.)