Sheena (1984) mini review

based on a comic

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle graced the pages of comics during it's Golden Age for a number of years (from the 30's to the 50's), and has even had multiple televisions shows (one in the 50's and one that debuted in 2000). She came to the big screen in 1984 in a mostly forgettable film with Tanya Roberts in the starring role. After the film came out, Marvel Comics revived her as a comic book character in a series of her own. Devil's Due is starting up a new series - starting with a $.99 preview (that hit stores in early March) and Sheena #1 (first of the 5-part mini) solicited in this month's Previews and due out in June.

In Sheena, the little girl of two scientists is orphaned in Africa and is brought up by a tribal shaman. The shaman names her Sheena (which is probably more alluring than her given name - Janet), and she grows up to be the protector of the tribe. While Roberts looks the role, the acting leaves a lot to be desired (though, admittedly, sometimes it's difficult to differentiate between poor acting, poor writing, and poor directing). Going along with the comics theme, the screenplay was written by David Newman, credited for screenplays on Superman I, II, and III; and Lorenzo Semple, Jr., who has writing credits on Flash Gordon (1980) and the 60's Batman TV series and movie.

Oddly enough, this film almost seemed like it was written for comics (in the worst way possible) - whether it was the flat acting, two-dimensional characters or cliched dialogue, it was almost like watching a comic book. I could almost picture the dialogue in little word balloons on the screen. Roberts is probably the most recognizable person in the whole film, so there doesn't seem like there was a whole lot of talent to pull from (not that you have to get big names to have talent, but sometimes there are reasons why people aren't famous).

It's interesting to note how the content of movies and their rating have changed over the years. For being a PG movie, there seems to be a lot of nudity (mostly Roberts herself). The film was an interesting exercise in remembering what 80's movies were like, but other than that and it's connection to comics, there's not a lot to see here (excuse the pun).

See it if you want to make movies, and want to learn what not to do.

Don't see it if you can't be entertained by bad filmmaking.

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