Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

Who hasn't heard of it? The story of a shipwreck that washes one survivor onto an island's coast where (no options) he must begin life anew. Forerunner of Gilligan's Island, Desert Island Discs, and endless other spinoffs, this one remains the first to come to our mind, whether or not we have read the book. When Rob despondently realizes that it's going to be extremely hard to get off his new found island, he begins to face facts and fend for himself; there is, of course, no one else to fend for. Saving a savage from sacrificial death, he (not without some further difficulties) gains a companion whom he appropriately names Friday in accordance with the day of the week. Both find solace in each other's company, each having been left to survive the fierceness of the elements solely by the quick of their wits. Daniel Defoe died in 1731, but Robinson Crusoe continues to live on, as an unnecessary endnote to the film remind's us, but should this be sufficient to give us pause?

The "message" of the film seems to center on inter-racial relationships and call the issues of indoctrinated religious, philosophical, and social beliefs into question. Without any piercing depth of analysis, these remain familiar topics of discussion, especially from the last decades, to which this film adds little perspective of interest or revelation. At best, it might possibly open the extremist right-wing mentality to a broader spectrum of understanding of humanity and morality, but it remains highly questionable whether or not such minds will be found among the audience members viewing such a film. In consideration of this, it seems, unfortunately, as if the most interesting target audience shall be missed. Nevertheless, the film remains an enjoyable experience and might possibly be well received especially by a younger audience, if they have not been completely completely spoiled by the overabundant offering of special effects available in other films.

Director George Miller has created a lavish visual interpretation of the tale including a fine performance by Pierce Brosnan as Crusoe and, most noticeably, a powerful and equally-matched character portrayal of the native, Friday by William Takaku.

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