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  Last Flight of Noah's Ark, The Who Brought The Bull?
Year: 1980
Director: Charles Jarrott
Stars: Elliott Gould, Geneviève Bujold, Rick Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda, John P. Ryan, Dana Elcar, Ruth Manning
Genre: AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Noah Dugan (Elliott Gould) is suffering a cash flow problem which he thought was solved when he won some money in a horse race, but the gentlemen who have barged into his bedroom this morning tell him his horse was disqualified - they want their money. Desperate, Dugan searches around for a job; he is a pilot but he can't find anything suitable until as a last resort he goes to see Stoney (Vincent Gardenia) who offers him something. At first Dugan is reluctant when he sees he is being asked to fly a group of animals and a missionary, Bernadette (Geneviève Bujold), to a remote island, but he really can't turn it down...

Amid those underperforming live action Disney cult movies like The Black Hole, Watcher in the Woods and Tron, there was a more traditional adventure from this studio in the shape of The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, starring Gould who was making some halfhearted tries at kids' moves with this, the terrible Matilda and further Disney effort The Devil and Max Devlin. His exasperated charm doesn't sound like a perfect fit for this type of thing, but he did well enough in a film which resembled parts of other films stuck together for a family audience.

Therefore the relationship between Dugan and Bernadette is close to the one in Heaven Knows, Mr Allison, with a religious woman being romanced, and once they get in the air in their ancient World War II bomber, the plot of a previous Disney hit, The Swiss Family Robinson, emerges. This is because thanks to Bernadette hanging her cassette player next to the compass they fly way off course into the middle of the South Pacific nowhere. To complicate matters, two children from her orphanage can't bear to be parted from the animals and stow away, and so we have our family, of sorts.

The two children are Julie (Tammy Lauren) and fresh from the remake of The Champ, Rick Schroder as Bobby, who was known as Ricky in those days. In truth Bobby is pretty resistable, as he takes against the practical Dugan because he doesn't think the pilot has the animals' best interests at heart, in spite of the females telling him Dugan is all right really. A sanctimonious little chap, Bobby spends far too much of the film whining when you're well aware he is simply there to give us our cue to realise that Dugan is a decent bloke after all.

After they crashland on a handy island, the group encounter a quirk of the twentieth century, that is the Japanese soldier who still thinks the war with America is still going on only there's not one of these deluded souls here, but two: Hiro (Yuki Shimoda) and the unlikely-named Cleveland (John Fujioka), so called because his mother visited there before he was born and liked the place. After a truce is established, the survivors can think about a way of getting off the island, and the plane is turned into a boat to do so, thus making the title come true as they take the animals with them. With a shark attack out of Jaws (well, not quite, nobody gets eaten), the film ambles forward in inoffensive manner, the be good to each other message not overly laboured, but nothing inspired about it either. Still, it has its fans. Music by Maurice Jarre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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