June 5, 2017
“Woof.” Today’s Retrospective is on the wilderness children’s movie “Benji The Hunted“, released in 1987 alongside other family-friendly fare like Evil Dead 2, Hellraiser, Predator, and Robocop.
Benji is played by Benjean, which seems to be a wonderful dog name, which I have never seen used for any other dog since.
Even children, the target audience for this movie, will find the plot a rather hard stretch of imagination. One can hardly imagine that a domestic pooch, especially one so kind and gentle as the classic Benji would be able to survive in the American Northwest.
On the other hand, some of nature’s harshness is presented in this film, which gives it a bit of an edge and makes Benji’s journey a little more interesting. Plus, gone are the hazy, vaseline-lensed non-focus of the 70s Benji films. This one is much clearer and better-focused.
There is almost nothing offensive about this movie. It is a soft “G”.
On the other hand, those who crave any kind of dialogue at all will be left out in the cold. The animals in the wilderness don’t talk shop, so the movie is largely dialogue-less. So just sit back and enjoy the scenery of nature.
If this movie were remade in modern times, it would probably be all about Benji’s struggles across the highway that stretches down the coastline, in order to get back to the big city to reunite with his master. After all, civilization continues to spread, so that there is hardly any wilderness left.