Bullet Points: ROAR
Everyone in my family knows that I love movies. They especially know that I love movies with explosions, people getting stabbed by ninjas, and movies where entire families are at risk of being mauled by dozens of wild animals. That last part wasn’t even known to me until I watched ROAR, but after one viewing, it was pretty clear that this was my type off film. I dedicate this review to all of our fans in Kenya and Tanzania.
Synopsis: Noel Marshall lives happily at his ranch in “Africa” where he is surrounded by his family of wild cats. Noel’s wife and three children are planning a visit to see their father who has been living peacefully with the animals for years but upon their arrival they realize that Noel is nowhere to be found and they are soon surrounded by the hungry cats.
- Credit where Credit is due: During the amazingly upbeat song at the beginning of the film, the animals used are given both writing and directing credits. No word on whether or not they were paid for their work.
- The Marshall Family: Noel Marshall, along with his sons John and Jerry, his wife Tippi Hedren, and her daughter Melanie Griffith, spent the better part of 11 years from start to finish on this film. They lived for years with many of these big cats, developing relationships with them that would test the boundaries of what is sane. Every member of the family was nipped or bitten by the cats during the filming of ROAR but none of them worse than Noel Marshall himself. He was so motivated to finish the movie that he contracted gangrene from some of his wounds and even left a hospital abruptly before having surgery on his leg in order to rush back to the ranch after a flood.
- The Worst of the Worst: Several of the members of the crew were injured badly from the animals as well. The film is often called the most dangerous movie ever made and it probably is more truth than not. Tippi Hedren estimated that 70 members of the cast and crew were injured and that has been said to sound a little low to some members. Tippi had her leg broken in a scene with an elephant, Melanie had her face mauled and needed facial reconstructive surgery. The Cinematographer Jan de Bont was scalped by a lion and needed over 120 stitches to fix it.
- Look What the Cat Dragged In: It’s an actual line from the film. Despite how lame it sounds the scene features probably 20 or more lions dragging a dead carcass into the house and covering the floor with blood while the Marshall’s stand dangerously by watching them eat. It’s far crazier to see on film than to describe.
- Call the Insurance guy: “An elephant stole my boat!” It’s probably a line that most State Farm guys haven’t heard much.
- Save the Cats?: Noel and Tippi were both massive conservationists and they made the film out of their love for big cats. It’s a really strange way to show how much you love a specific animal because most of the film is frightening. The cats are so unpredictable and to think that it’s supposed to have benefited conservation efforts is like thinking of the Morgan Spurlock documentary Super Size Me as a commercial for McDonald’s.
- The Villains: It’s wild at times to see the family running from the cats and escaping death at pretty much every scene. What you probably don’t know from any of the review above is that there are a few poachers in the movie who are essentially the bad guys. Before they find themselves as lunch meat for the badass lion TOGAR, they kill a few of the big cats on their way to the ranch.
- A Happy Ending: Most of the movie is a chase scene of sorts with the animals racing after Melanie, Tippi, and the brothers Marshall. It certainly seems like they’ll be eaten if they’re caught and it’s only after they realize that the cats are very friendly that the movie turns more into a family film. Except for the part where the two poachers get mauled to death by TOGAR. Well, nobody is perfect.
You won’t have to fight lions or tigers to check out these bonus Bullet Points:
- Melanie Griffith had backed out from doing the film and they used a friend of the family instead. Melanie later decided that she wanted back in and they got rid of the other girl.
- They waited a year for a zebra to die of natural causes so they could film the scene of the big cats eating it and dragging its body into the house. No zebra ever died so they ended up painting a recently deceased donkey to look like a zebra.
- The only scenes filmed in Africa are at the opening of the movie. The rest was filmed on Noel Marshall’s ranch in California.
- The ranch set was destroyed halfway during filming because of a flood. Everything was washed away and many of the cats got free and had to be tracked down. A few of them were shot by Sheriff’s including the star lion ‘Robbie’.