A very nice happy ending story based on a fascinating legend. Expertly written (Rupert Thomson and Hugh Hudson) and well directed (Brando Quilici). Unforgettable characters and a bunch of perfect actors for each role. Very nice music and photography as well. Fantastic places/landscapes. I think it was not that easy to shot this film with a baby tiger as a main actress on locations. The best sequence in on Tibet mountains and the end...I find it moving and teaching, many points of reflecting. An important co-production distributed worldwide with different titles. Soon on TV also? It is supported by WWF. Family film. Highly recommended.
Ta'igara: An adventure in the Himalayas
Ta'igara: An adventure in the Himalayas
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Legend has it that the guru Rinpoche once flew through the Himalayas on the back of a female tiger. They landed in a cave almost 10,000 feet above sea level. The monastery built on that sheer cliff face became known as the Tiger's Nest.Little orphan boy, Balmani, has grown up with his mother telling this strange story. One night, after escaping the orphanage where he's living in since the earthquake that destroyed his house, he finds and snatches a tiger cub from evil poachers and goes on the run with her. In the beginning he decide to leave the cub in the jungle, where she can live with the other wild animals and head home to Kathmandu. But the little tiger, that has now no mother (the poachers killed her),follows him. Balmani, then, decide to take the road for the Tiger's Nest, where he believes they will be safe. A strong emotional bond develops between the boy and the cub as they travel from the lush grasslands of central Nepal, through the modern mayhem of Kathmandu, and on into the spectacular but lethal landscape of the high Himalayas, meeting a lot of people of different cultures that will eventually help them in their journey across the country. The journey is made still more dangerous by the poachers who are determined to recapture the priceless cub. Meanwhile Hannah, the woman who runs the orphanage, is also searching for Balmani, worried for his safety. It's an epic, heart-stopping adventure, but after many twists and turns Balmani is happily reunited with Hannah and the cub finds an unexpected new home.
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No acting. Difficult to watch when the main character's acting is wooden... Lots of holes in the script. There are some scenes where it's nonsense in general. The antagonist is like a dog's fifth leg. If he wasn't there, you wouldn't miss him. Jumping from one scene to another. Lots of logical gaps. Even the children are saying why the tiger is so grown up or that the tiger looks fake in this scene... The film is presented as a family or children's film, but the children can barely keep their attention... Overall the film is not worth watching. It is a pity that I will not get my money back...
Save the tiger
"Ta'igara: An adventure in the Himalayas" is a new animal-centered movie that premiered back in 2022 and runs for slightly over 1.5 hours. Admittedly, it has been in theaters here for quite a long time already and I was not sure if I should watch it, but finally I went for it and I don't really regret it. I see that this film that runs for slightly over 1.5 hours is an Italian production, no other countries involved, and this background I would not have expected really given where it is set. But I guess it all comes down to the nationality of the man who made the film and Brando Quilici indeed originates from Italy. While it is not unusual at all that the director also works as a writer on a movie, it is probably on the unusual side that (according to imdb) he was in charge of the story here, but not in charge the screenplay. What is also interesting is that one of the other two writers here was Hugh Hudson and unless it was another Hugh Hudson, then he would be the man who directed "Chariots of Fire" (Academy Award winner for Best Picture) many decades ago. Hudson has directed over 20 projects and written only five, so it is a bit surprising to see him in this position here. It would also be Hudson's first writing credit since 2014, so from almost a decade ago, and that is fitting because the film he worked on there was one dealing with a polar bear in the wild apparently and here it is a tiger. However, the last writing credit before 2014 dates back to 1966, almost another 50 years, so yeah really not sure if this is the same Hugh Hudson, but apparently it is. He is in his mid80s now. The polar bear movie by the way Hudson also worked on with Quilici already. And finally the second screenplay writer we have here is Rupert Thomson. Not too much to add about him. There is a 2006 release that has him as the one who wrote the original novel it was based on and now this 2022 credit. Quite a set of writers we got here. Quilici himself by the way has worked on a great deal of documentary content focusing on ancient Egypt and its rulers for example before he moved on to theatrical releases mostly for kids. We will see where his career is heading next. He is in his mid60s now, so still some time left to make movies.
Now, let us look a bit at the cast here: I cannot say too much about them, but it is worth noting that the supporting players have pretty prolific careers. Could very well be the case that you have come across Gerini and Joyce on other occasions already if you are a frequent movie-goer. The lead actor is Sunny Pawar and his very first film was the movie "Lion" starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, so quite a way to launch your career. Might have helped him to get the part here. No big roles have followed in the years since then, but he keeps going and trying as we see in this film. Or I am not sure if he really tried. I must say his performance here did not win me over really. He was just there and given how the film was all about his character, I thought that it was an underwhelming performance and no major impact from him, which is especially disappointing given the screen time he had. He was in this film from beginning to end in almost every scene as a key player. Luckily, the film includes a great deal of animal action too and this saved it a bit. They often do it with films like this one that they add animal sounds through sound effects that make it a bit more entertaining, touching, whatever. This was the case here too, even if it was not super frequent compared to similar projects. The perhaps best example, also in terms of quality, was when we have the tiger return to the protagonist towards the end almost when the wildcat before this reunion had run away from the boy fueled by its enthusiasm, but then the tiger realizes that he is not ready yet, not strong and grown-up enough yet to make the final part of his journey on his own. There was a sweet sound that came from the tiger supposed to show a guilty conscience and it fit together nicely with the words of the main character. Somehow this stayed in my mind. It also made things a little better because honestly the way they were separated with the tiger being too fast for the ailing boy was not a highlight. This was really a great deal of pseudo conflict there I must say and I did not like it at all, already that the tiger just runs away, but also how the boy gets really mad then and insults the tiger. There was no basis for this conflict. It came out of nowhere and felt for the sake of it really. Before that, we had complete harmony.
If we briefly go back to the basics, it says that this film is in the English language and I am not sure to what extent this is true. I watched the German version anyway and I guess that, because this is mostly a film for younger audiences that may not be too fluent in foreign languages, in terms of big-screen watches you will almost always find a version in the language of the country where your movie theater is set. As for filming location, it says Nepal and that I do like, but also they did not really have any other options than picking a country that has really high mountains and so they did and the consequence is also that the visual side of the film, i.e. The cinematography is among the film's highlights for sure. Admittedly, it also makes up for some of the occasional weaknesses from the plot. For example, it is crazy how the female character with the most screen time shows up out of nowhere to locate and find the boy. When he runs away for the first time, it was still tolerable, but the second time towards the end already when the bad guy is killed, it was a bit ridiculous how she is there all of a sudden right near him in this remote area. Yes, I just said the bad guy is dead and this is indeed true, even if this is a kids movie, but at least they made the protagonist seem really shaken from what happened and we don't see blood or anything. I am sure the kids can easily stomach this twist. It was also a bit baffling how quickly they got rid of the villain there really. Quite comfortable. He also appeared pretty much out of nowhere right before that. This is almost it then. The one thing that follows still is the final depiction of the tiger leaving and finding other tigers that he can join. Actually I should write "she" every single time because the tiger character is a girl at least. I am not sure about the "actor". This was also a bit of pseudo drama there with the loud sound effect we hear there and the boy who cannot look when our tiger meets the others if they (especially the big one) might attack him. But of course, it all goes well.
In the German title there is the mention of a tiger nest, which was a bit of a mythological aspect almost as we see in the beginning when the protagonist tells us about it during class and his teacher is amazed. So yeah, not totally realistic that they find tigers up there immediately and that those tigers also do not pose one bit of a threat, even if it is a mother with a young one, but let's accept this. I think that this film was maybe at its best when it was a bit of a road movie, when we see the protagonist meet people that he quickly makes a connection with and the tiger's cuteness is surely helping with everybody opening up. One example is the girl early on where the old man accepts the boy into their circle after doubts from other villagers or afterwards he meets friends from the place where he was born and he had to leave the place back then for good after his parents died, so some old acquaintances these kids were and finally the boy meets this other boy who to me looked a bit older, but the two become close friends (I was even wondering if this might be slightly gay-themed) and we see the two going to visit the other boy's family. Everybody there loves the tiger too and I found it a bit baffling that nobody was confused by the sight of a young boy traveling with a tiger, but oh well. It is called a fantasy film on imdb and maybe there is some truth to it in terms of the plot. One thing I recognized and that left me baffled was how the boy was constantly left alone so far up in the mountains in the last third of the movie. Like on one occasion, his new buddy just says that this is as far as he will accompany him and briefly afterwards the protagonist boy collapses and is luckily found by the locals and saved. And moments later, even after staying with him through the toughest territory (he recovered quickly indeed),these men leave him alone again. That was maybe the most absurd aspect from the film for me.
On a completely different note, I was surprised to see one character take down his motorbike poster, the one who turned from helping the bad guys to helping the good guys. I mean he made a few poor decisions perhaps, but no need to sacrifice your dream as a consequence. He can still save the money and buy the bike one day, but this almost felt like a bit of a communist statement there that his priorities were now all on relationships with the people around him, especially the female teacher he seems to be romantically interested in, and not anymore on material items at all. I did not like this too much and I am writing this as somebody who himself is not big on material goods really. As for the teacher, it was not a good moment and more pseudo drama when out of nowhere there was the possibility of her losing her job at the orphanage. Indeed it is a film that has weaknesses and feels off the mark at times, also in terms of how males in general are depicted in a pretty misandric manner, but also a release that you can enjoy if you don't expect total realism. Lean back and chill. I enjoyed the watch for the most part and I think this film deserves to be seen, even if the more emotional moments did not touch me at all. See it with or without your offspring next to you. It is by no means a must-see, but I give this movie a positive recommendation overall.