Review: ‘Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain’

Executive producers, Robert Rohdie, Michael Derrick, Alan Ginsburg, Gary Stetson, Mike Wojciechowski.

Executive producers, Robert Rohdie, Michael Derrick, Alan Ginsburg, Gary Stetson, Mike Wojciechowski.

Directed by John Huneck, David Sheldon. Screenplay, Larry Bischoff, William Brian Lowery. Camera (color), Shane Kelly; editor, Sean K. Lambert; music, Eva King. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (market), May 16, 1999. Running time: 98 MIN.

With: Tom Tayback, Lindsay Bloom, Jennifer Waldman, Selina Jayne, Maye Nutter , Joseph Campanella, Joel Rook.

Originality is in short supply in “Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain,” but this yarn about 19th century friend-of-the-wilderness Grizzly Adams and his bear pal will easily fill tube slots for webs looking for family fare. The Larry Bischoff-William Brian Lowery script is way too formulaic and the thesps deliver remarkably wooden perfs that help make this a tough slog for anyone with a grade-school diploma. But younger auds may be able tooverlook clunky dialogue and enjoy the old-fashioned adventure.

Grizzly Adams (Tom Tayback) and his trusty bear Samson are recruited to find a trio of lost kids, and before you can say “dancing bear,” Grizzly and his goofy animal sidekick — who isn’t above jumping up on two legs and waving goodbye to people — are in hot pursuit of a gang of bad-guy prospectors, led by Professor Hunnicut (Joseph Campanella) and the incredibly inane Mr. Pettibone (Joel Rook). Along the way, there’s much talk of Native American mysticism and some less-than-impressive special effects. Tayback mostly just looks square-jawed and lacks the charisma necessary to carry the role of action hero-wilderness lover. Other thesps don’t fare much better.

Grizzly Adams and the Legend of Dark Mountain

(FAMILY ADVENTURE)

Production

A Mark of the Bear Partnership production. (International sales: Soho Entertainment, New York.) Produced by Link Wyler, Barbara Rohdie.

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