Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

US movie (1984; vt Sheena, Queen of the Jungle). Columbia. Pr Paul Aratow. Exec pr Yoram Ben-Ami. Dir John Guillermin. Screenplay David Newman, Lorenzo Semple Jr (1923-2014), Leslie Stevens. Based on the Comics by Will Eisner and Jerry Iger. Starring Tanya Roberts (Sheena), Trevor Thomas (Otwani), Elizabeth of Toro (Shaman). 115 mins. Colour.

Orphaned in Africa when her explorer parents – come in search of legendary healing sands – are killed in a rockfall, the infant Janet is told by the Shaman of the remote Zambouli tribe that her coming fulfils a Prophecy: she is to be Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. When she is an adult she can talk with the animals and has limited telepathy (> Talents). A fairly standard adventure ensues, involving villainous US-educated local Prince Otwani, until Sheena leads the wild animals and the Zamboulis to destroy the oppressors.

This is a glamour movie in the style of the notorious Bo/John Derek Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981), although it is much better and drifts less towards pornography. Indeed, this late Jungle Movie resonates more with the "mainstream" Tarzan Movies – as well as with She (1965) and One Million Bc (1966 version). The jungle footage is spectacularly beautiful; but S has an uncertain script and a desperate artificiality: battling through the jungle, Sheena is superbly manicured. [JG]

see also: Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1955).

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.