BMZ Review: India: Kingdom of the Tiger
By Herb Lash
India: Kingdom of the Tiger Review
Written by: Herb Lash
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: October 2002
There is the Great White Hunter who slips on the smoking jacket, loads his pipe and smiles as you point to the elephant head or the polar bear rug and ask for a yarn. Then there is the Great White Hunter who stays "in country" a little too long, goes native and spirals into the heart of darkness. And there are those like Jim Corbett whose tale is told in INDIA: KINGDOM OF THE TIGER. India worked a magic of lightness and goodness on Corbett as he went from thrill seeking tiger hunter to protector of people and animals. KINGDOM OF THE TIGER is a completely engrossing Big Movie and a cure for those suffering from fear of the docudrama form.
Indian landscapes, culture, conservation and the beauty of the tiger is the real subject matter of the film - the person of Jim Corbett provides the filmmakers with a good storytelling vehicle. Corbett began as a big game hunter - but one who appreciated the sacred place of the tiger in Indian society. We catch up with Corbett as he is called out of retirement to hunt down a man-eating tiger that has been plucking off villagers. Before Corbett is off to catch the killer big cat, we are provided with some nicely integrated archival footage of tigers and the history of hunting tigers. Wild or captive - the images of these animals are mesmerizing. A brief summary of tiger characteristics/behavior/biology is delivered out of an obligatory need to deliver "educational content" - but at heart this Big Movie is an appreciation of the magnificent tiger. And the Giant Screen is a very good place to appreciate Tiger Power (what other animal could make Siegfried and Roy look good?).
The film also makes very good use of Indian atmosphere - a Hindi holy man, elephants, city life, music and the natural chain of life are part of a rhythmic whole. There is nothing revolutionary or particularly surprising about KINGDOM OF THE TIGER - but it is smart and dreamy at the same time.
ALSO - watching this Big Movie on a Dome Screen is a particularly affecting experience. KINGDOM OF THE TIGER makes a good case for those who believe the right sort of 2-D film in a Dome is equal or better than the 3-D Giant Screen experience.
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