'Shipwrecked' is old-fashioned adventure for kids


March 01, 1991|By Lou Cedrone | Lou Cedrone,Evening Sun Staff

When the ''gorilla'' appears in ''Shipwrecked,'' everything goes well with the film. Until that time, you may be wondering who made this seemingly simple-minded adventure movie. When the man wearing a gorilla suit appears, however, you know that producers had children in mind when they did it.

Taken as such, the new film is enjoyable. You won't believe a minute of it, but the younger children will love it, and they are the patrons for whom the movie was made.

''Shipwrecked'' is very old-fashioned escapism. It's the sort of thing Freddie Bartolomew and Jackie Cooper did many years ago. It is the story of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy who is forced to take a job on a cargo ship when his father becomes handicapped. Somebody has to pay the bills. Somebody has to keep the bank from foreclosing.

After he boards the ship, the boy is initially ignored. Later, he becomes the crew's mascot. Naturally, there is a storm, and the ship is destroyed when it runs aground. The boy survives the wreck and, thinking he is all alone, begins to fend for himself. He is, you might say, ''Home Alone'' on an island.

He is, at least, for a while. In time, he learns that there are friendly natives on the island. He also discovers that his good friends, a shipmate and a girl stowaway, survived the wreck and are also on the island.

So are pirates whose leader is looking for the treasure the boy has discovered and relocated.

''Shipwrecked,'' you see, has it all, and it is no wonder that it is being distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.

The movie was done by Norwegian director Nils Gaup, whose ''Pathfinder'' won an Oscar nomination for best foreign film of 1987. The photography is crisp and clear, as it should be for this type adventure.

Stian Smestad is the young boy, and Gabriel Byrne is the pirate king who wants to reclaim his treasure. ''Shipwrecked'' opens here today. Take the kids. It's easy enough to sit through the film. Just keep your eye on the ''gorilla.''


** A 14-year-old Norwegian boy is marooned when the ship he is sailing is wrecked during a storm.

CAST: Stian Smestad, Gabriel Byrne



RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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