The Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)
The screenplay was written by Riwia Brown, one of New Zealand’s most accomplished writers who penned the acclaimed “Once Were Warrriors”; a film about the lives of a Maori family in contemporary New Zealand.
The cast too, is also made up of Pacific Islanders which include Joe Folau as Tama, Kayte Ferguson as Mahana, George Henare as Johnny Lingo, Alvin Fitisemanu as Chief Steward.
The film was released in 2003 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Studios.
The film is a remake of the 1969 classic Johnny Lingo which starred Makee K. Blaisdell as Johnny Lingo and Naomi Kahoilua as Mahana.
The plot, although not complex, is quite appealing with an essence of innocence.
The story centers on the life of Tama, an orphan found by adrift after rough seas as a baby and adopted by the chief of Malio. However, the chief’s jealous wife soon convinces the chief that the child is a curse and the child is disowned. He is once again an orphan and considered an outcast by the islanders.
Fortunately, he befriends Mahana, a local girl whom the islanders despise as well and is the brunt of many cruel jokes. However, feeling displaced on the island, Tama sets sail for the open sea, promising to come back for Mahana.
The collection of songs in this film is absolutely wonderful with most of the songs, including title track, were provided by Te Vaka.
Te Vaka’s track Tamahana which was written by Opetaia Foai and Malcolm Smith, and featured in the film won first place in the World Music Category of the USA International Songwriting Competition (ISC) in 2008.
Hawaiian musician Kalai’s mesmerizing acoustic ballad “On My Mind” was also used.
This film appeals to the young and old as well. It is a jewel in quality family entertainment.
There is no use of coarse language and the simplicity of the plot makes the story very easy to follow.
The film is rated G for general audience.