Christopher Gorham plays a 19-year-old Mormon who is sent on a three-year mission toconvert the islanders of the Tonga. After some initial stumbles, he learns the local languagethanks to a four-day Bible reading marathon (that’s what it looks like, anyway), and is soon goinggreat guns, despite such hardships as a vicious rival minister and a hurricane. This is anunbelievably retrograde film. Setting aside whatever doubts one might have regarding the entiremissionary project… the film’s patronizing, condescending portrayal of the Tonga natives (shownas childlike innocents who look upon our hero as a god) is not just offensive, but purely andsimply racist. I might have been able to get past this problem had the film been made in 1953, butfifty years later, this is unforgiveable.
The sound is very solid. The huge, swelling music might be over-emphatic, but it soundsgreat, and doesn’t drown out the dialogue. The sound effects are pretty good too, and mostsuccessfully create an environment in the windy scenes. The hurricane sequence, in particular,is well done, with the sound being considerably more impressive than the visual effects.
The picture is just as good: razor sharp and blessed with rich colours, deep blacks and strongcontrasts. The format is 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, and one thing you can say for the filmis that the transfer is very handsome.
A fairly minimal collection, with your standard promo featurette and a still gallery. Thereis also a commentary by writer/director Mitch Davis. Though he has a tendency to repeat himself,he is also full of behind-the-scenes information and historical background. The menu isscored.
A decent package, but an objectionable film. Disney’s recent Tuck Everlasting is a muchmore successful attempt at family entertainment.
Special Features List
- Director’s Commentary
- Still Gallery