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THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY LINGO

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Hori Ahipene, Kayte Ferguson, Alvin Fitisemanu, Fokikovoi, Joe Folau, George Henare, Rawiri Paratene, Tausani Simei-Barton, Sima Urale
Director: Steven Ramirez
Video: 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Release Date: May 11, 2004

Film ***

In a day and age where sex and violence seems to be the only thing that sells, it's nice to see a family friendly movie that relies on neither, to make a great statement about loyalty and life.  The Legend Of Johnny Lingo is the story about a misfit orphan boy who doesn't fit in anywhere.

The king's wife poisons his mind about the boy, the villagers all think he's cursed, and even when Tama does find a kindred spirit in a mentally abused little girl, his life's journey takes him in a completely opposite direction from hers.

Tama sets out on his own in a raft/windjammer he carved out of wood.  Half dead from dehydration and sunburn, he washes up on the island owned by Johnny Lingo.   

Lingo himself has a trading and shipping business that has allowed his island to prosper to a level far beyond the surrounding islands.  When Tama is caught stealing from him, Johnny uses that to help the boy.  He forces him into servitude for seven years, in order to work off the debt he owes for what he stole.   Along the way Tama learns a lot about life and in the end love.

This movie was fast, fun, and cute, just the way a family movie should be.  The story itself is one that's been told a hundred times before:  self doubt and fear leading people down the wrong path in life, only to find a detour along the way that forces them back onto the right path.  However, the island theme of this film played very nicely with the story and time period, giving it a brand new feel.

The young actors and actresses in this film were truly inspiring.  I haven't figured out yet what region of the world they are from but I have a very strong feeling that they are Kiwis!  No, not the fruit, silly goose…New Zealanders of course! 

No matter where they were from, they all did a wonderful job.  Each person brought their own spark of life to the character they played, and made them all stand out.   From Tama to Johnny Lingo II, right on down the line to the old Chieftain, you really have a chance to enjoy each character.

This DVD contained some of the most wonderful photography I have ever seen.   The breathtaking ocean views and beautiful islands make for some truly amazing visual scenery. 

In the end the name doesn't make the man, and the girl doesn't always fall at your feet, but for one island misfit, second chances seem to pop around the corner at the most unexpected moments.  

If you looking for some good clean family oriented entertainment, you will definitely want to bring The Legend Of Johnny Lingo home for a visit. 

Video **

The video quality was good, but I wasn't as impressed with it as I was the audio.

The 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen formatting worked well with this film.  The colors were vivid, and crisp.  There was a little bit of softening around the edges, but nothing that would be considered overly annoying.

I would have liked to mark the video higher, but it didn't pop off of the screen like some other recent MGM offerings, and that was a little disappointing. 

Audio ***

This DVD was presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround sound.  The quality of the sound was good, with a nice blending of the dialogue and background music beds.  The ocean sound effects tended to be overwhelming at times, but otherwise, good audio with no audible flaws. 

Features ˝*

The original theatrical trailer is the only real extra feature on this DVD. 

Summary:

Despite the fact that Johnny wasn't packing a surfboard full of extras, his DVD was quite nice anyway.  To better understand the Lingo though, you're going to have to pick up this family friendly movie on DVD.