Legend Of The Sasquatch (The)
R1 - America - Image Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James Teitelbaum (2nd November 2008).
The Film

This feature is the work of director Tom Callicoat, a resident of the American Pacific Northwest. He has taken his two young daughters on many camping excursions. Inevitably, when visiting the wilderness in that part of the world, one hears quite a bit about the creature known as Bigfoot, also called by its native American name, Sasquatch. Inspired by these trips, Callicoat created an animated CG feature called "The Legend of the Sasquatch", which imagines the fearsome bigfoot as a tribe of reclusive primitives living in hidden caves. They are skittish, gentle, family-oriented creatures who just want to be left alone. They are discovered and befriended by a little girl who eventually helps them clandestinely relocate when their secret habitat is threatened. This little girl and her sister are modeled after Callicoat's own children, but are performed in the film by two sisters named Jewel Restaneo and Blaire Restaneo.

These young ladies have been performing in theater since they were barely able to walk, and they now play, sing, and write songs in a pop/rock band. I can't say that I have seen them acting live in a play, but if their singing and songwriting is any indication, their success is more the result of careful management and sheer determination than it is talent. The fact that their success has come at so young an age is not impressive; any parent can exploit their children straight into the limelight if the kids are willing (and good looking) enough. Having had a peek at their web site, the entire package - the songs, the photos, and the design - is second rate.

The almost-was future that these spunky and seemingly good natured girls are destined for is matched by the quality of the production that they have most recently lent their voices to. "The Legend of the Sasquatch" is a rather generic feature, with a thoroughly predictable story, mawkish characters, and animation that would have been edgy in 1988. Granted, not every production company has the resources to produce computer animation work at the level of Pixar or Lucasfilm, but "The Legend of the Sasquatch" reeks of amateurism at every level. All of the characters move in a sort of fake slow-motion, as though they are under water or on the moon. The character and set designs are half-baked and overly simplistic. The unconvincing music sounds like it was done in a MIDI studio, except for the choral parts, which were done by high school students (as seen in a bonus features).

There is one puzzle here however: I am not sure how such a low-fi, cheapo production managed to enlist the talents of no less than William Hurt and John Rhys-Davies, both of whom provide voice talent. Hurt was also a co-producer. One can only wonder at how satisfied they were with the final product.

There are kids out there who will be thrilled by this tale of some camping kids befriending some not-so-scary monsters. It is absolutely true that crappy animation and hackneyed stories are absolutely nothing new to the vast genre of animated children's entertainment. But with so many choices out there for parents to choose from, I just can't fathom why a better quality option than "The Legend of the Sasquatch" wouldn't be selected.

Or better yet, let the kids go camping for real instead of staring at the television.... I did kind of like the fuzzy fake-fur on the DVD's slipcase. They had to sell this thing somehow.

Video

Aspect ratio is 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Contrast is good, colors pop, and there is no speckling or damage to the source (not surprising, since this was probably sent straight from a digital master). But still, the animation itself is just so bad... Running time is 1:13:37, divided into 12 scenes, and watch for a short bonus scene after the end credits.

Audio

Audio options are both English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo with subtitles in English and Spanish. As discussed above, the music is pretty generic, but the voices are recorded clearly (even John Rhys-Davies' performance, which was literally phoned-in via a recording studio in England).

Extras

Image Entertainment has included an audio commentary, three featurettes and a couple of theatrical trailers. Below is a closer look at these supplements.

During a feature audio commentary with director Tom Callicoat, producer Bill Gottleib, and actors Jewel Restaneo and Blaire Restaneo, Gottleib interviews the other three participants in a semi-scene specific discussion. Gottleib leads the conversation, treating it a bit like an interview and encouraging the others to contribute. Callicoat seems like a decent guy, who really had his heart in this film. It is always a drag to give a negative review to a movie that was clearly important and personal to the director. Sorry, Tom, better luck next time.

"Behind-the-Scenes" featurette runs for 11 minute 52 seconds; the Restaneo sisters talk about providing voices for the cartoon, a well as performing some of the songs on the soundtrack, as director Callicoat talks about the development of the film.

"Behind-the-Scenes with the Sheldon High School Chior" featurette runs for 4 minutes 47 seconds; interviews with some of the school choir members who did provided voices for the film's soundtrack.

"The Legend of Sasquatch Quiz" featurette runs for 6 minutes 26 seconds; contains challenging and important questions are presented to astute children, such as "what color is Ranger Steve's hat?". Heady stuff.

There's a theatrical trailer for "The Legend of the Sasquatch" which runs for 2 minutes 18 seconds and a bonus trailer for "Impy's Island" which runs for 1 minute 47 seconds.

Overall

The Film: D- Video: A Audio: C+ Extras: C Overall: D+

 


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