(This post originally appeared on August 26, 2007)
When I was a kid, I was a fan of boy-and-his-animal yarns, like the horse books by Walter Farley, dog books by Jim Kjelgaard, and even, yes, OLD YELLER. The movie DUMA is clearly in that tradition. Set in Africa and based on actual events, it’s the story of young Xan, who adopts an orphaned cheetah cub and raises it. The usual sort of complications that crop up in these stories cause Xan and the now full-grown cheetah, Duma, to find themselves on their own in the wilderness, trying to get back to the area where Duma was born.
Along the way they encounter various dangers from animals and the elements, as well as a mysterious wanderer who may or may not have their best interests at heart. It’s an adventurous tale with a pace that seldom slows down for very long, and I enjoyed it. While the plot was somewhat predictable, I was never sure how things were going to turn out, and that’s always a plus. Also, the movie is beautifully photographed, which is no surprise considering that it was directed by Carroll Ballard, the director of the well-regarded THE BLACK STALLION (speaking of Walter Farley). DUMA is a very likable, family-friendly film and well worth watching.