Sheena's parents are killed while on Safari. She is raised by the mystical witch woman of an African tribe. When her foster mother is framed for the murder of a political leader, Sheena and a newsman, Vic Casey, are forced to flee while pursued by the mercenaries hired by the real killer, who hopes to assume power. Sheena's ability to talk to the animals and knowledge of jungle lore give them a chance against the high tech weapons of the mercenaries.
everything you have heard about this movie is true.
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For this baby boomer there will be only one Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and that would be Irish McCalla from the 1955 TV series of the same name. But even though she wore a leopard print swimsuit, she never showed as much flesh as Tanya Roberts does here. As a jungle queen, Roberts pretty much proves she's no actress, but I don't think many movie goers of the Eighties gave it very much thought.Seeing that this movie was filmed in Kenya confirmed to me that those scenes involving immense flocks of flamingos had to be taken at Lake Manyara. I was there in 1974, and the scenes in the picture looked just like those I observed on a photographic safari. That was some time before Sheena arrived on the scene, so I didn't catch sight of her.A couple quick observations - how is it the expert tracker leading the Otwani/Jorgensen party never thought to look up when the trail he was following abruptly ended in the middle of the jungle? That's the first thing I would have done. And here's a kick, what's the odds of running across a few bottles of Coca Cola while in hot pursuit of Sheena and Vic Casey (Ted Wass)? Not to say it's impossible, but really.Well there's not much to recommend with this story unless you've got a thing for seeing a good looking woman in a skimpy outfit. That's definitely the case here, with Sheena approaching soft porn territory with virtually every step she takes and tree she climbs. I don't know how Vic Casey held it all together.
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This is a bizarre sort of film--and very confusing and difficult to give a numeric score and I am struggling more with this film than 99% of the movies I have rated. The biggest reason is that while it is a bad movie, the production values are amazingly good and it looks pretty nice. This is not some $50,000 production by Ed Wood, but one that inexplicably was approved and made by a real honest-to-goodness studio! The cinematography and music are often quite lovely and it's obvious some money was put into the picture. On the other hand, though, the dialog and basic idea are pretty dumb--a lot like some of the many jungle B-movies of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. In fact, movies like BLONDE SAVAGE and DAUGHTER OF THE JUNGLE are very cheap films but they manage to provide decent B-movie entertainment--and are an awful lot like SHEENA, an A-picture in almost every way. The other odd thing that make this film hard to rate is its audience. While these other female jungle warrior films all were designed mostly for kids, SHEENA is decidedly NOT a kids film--and I wonder how this film managed to receive a PG rating! I assume that no one actually saw the film since it was pretty goofy and didn't notice the two very striking nude scenes with its star, Tanya Roberts. And, on one hand this makes it a very family unfriendly film but on the other, for anyone who wants to see a lot of Ms. Roberts (more than she showed in BEAST MASTER), this is your film!The film begins with two scientists bringing their young daughter to the middle of the Zambuli lands to look into the rumor of some "healing earth" that has magical restorative properties. But, only moments later, they are killed in an accident and the little girl, Janet, is renamed 'Sheena' and is raised by the nice Zambuli. Apparenlty, they have some prophecy about a golden-haired lady who will save the tribe and Sheena is this fulfillment of prophecy. Oddly, after all this (and almost 20 minutes of film), the credits now roll.Later, time has passed and Sheena is now a buxom babe--sort of like a combination of Tarzan and a Playboy cover model cavorting about the jungle and talking with animals...and taking her clothes off now and then. And, now that she has reached adulthood, the prophesied threat to the tribe is about to be unleashed. After an assassination, the good king is replaced by his wicked brother whose goal is to rape Zambuli land. A reporter and his fat (i.e., comic relief) cameraman have stumbled upon evidence that the new king, in fact, was behind the assassination, so the king and his baddies all chase them into the jungle. There, they meet up with Sheena. After dispatching the cameraman with the evidence, the reporter (Ted Wass) stays with Sheena and marvels at her ability to control animals and her curvaceous body. In the end, the film pretty much goes as you expect, though the ending (when Wass leaves) is a letdown. I wonder if perhaps they ended it that way and assumed there'd be a sequel to reunite the lovers, but critical response to the film was so bad that it wasn't surprising this sequel never was made.So what makes this a relatively bad film? Well, the dialog is THE problem. Despite Sheena being raised by the Zambuli since she was about 3, she sounds like she could fit in almost anywhere--with lovely American-accented diction. Other than not understanding a few words about modern machinery, she sounds nothing like anyone raised in the middle of Africa. The same can be said, incidentally, of the Zambuli themselves. Also, too much of the dialog sounds like it came from an old movie serial--which is great for kids (who are often less demanding) but for a skin-flick, this makes no sense.Another problem is simply that much of the film isn't that interesting. You KNOW that in the end Sheena and the forces of good will win, so there is no real sense of uncertainty.As for Miss Roberts, she wasn't THAT bad...but she wasn't particularly believable. Much of it was because she was too well-coiffed and much of it was the dialog, though her acting didn't do much to inspire either. She was, however, in her element when it came to nude scenes, as at the time she must have been one of the most beautiful women in the world with her piercing eyes and...um...everything else. The way that some blamed her for the failure of the film seems a bit unfair, as the real culprit here is John Guillermin, the director, as he was apparently insane. If you don't believe me, try watching his next film, KING KONG LIVES--a film that is a billion times dumber than SHEENA ever was.One final problem, and it's more a problem for snobs like me that look for mistakes. The 'zebra' that Sheena rides throughout the film is clearly not a zebra but a horse painted like one. This makes sense, as zebras are wild and unpredictable but the paint job on the horse was poor--way too intensely black and the strips were too well-defined--making it look exactly like a painted horse. Heck, I would have simply made it be a horse in the film or had her ride an elephant (but African elephants can also be a bit hard to control) or had her walk or run instead.Overall, not a terrible film. The movie looks nice and even occasionally draws you into this goofy little world with its odd sense of innocence. However, it is pretty dumb when you think about it.
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In the early 20th century, Audrey Munson made her movie debut in Thanhouser's "Inspiration" (1915), essentially playing herself: an artist's model. A year later, she appeared in another film, "Purity" (1916). What is remarkable about these films is that in both, Miss Munson appears in the nude. This is in the nineteen-teens, remember. There were censorship boards then, run by the states rather than the film industry... and of course they always sought to keep the movie screens free of smut.And yet, both "Inspiration" and "Purity" were approved for public exhibition... because the nudity in them was artistic and non-erotic. I don't know if that standard has ever been applied, to any other film; or rather, I didn't know, until I chanced across "Sheena" (1984).Browsing through the channels one evening, I found this film, starring Tanya Roberts as Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. "I'll give it a chance," I figured. So my wife and I watched as Ms. Roberts, clad only in a leather bikini-like garment, went about her adventures in the jungles of darkest Africa.Then, out of nowhere, there's a scene where she stops by a lake to bathe. I figured she would just jump in, since she's already wearing practically nothing anyway, right? Wrong!Before we knew what was happening, Tanya Roberts slipped out of her garment and entered the lake nude, in all God's glory. I mean it when I say I didn't see it coming. Most of the time when you see nudity on the screen, you kinda know it's coming, but this was a real surprise.I checked the program guide for the MPAA rating. Gotta be an R, right? Wrong again! Sheena was given a PG rating -- not a PG-13, not an R, not an NC-17. It's a PG, meaning any youngster, of any age, can see the movie without an adult. And, come to think of it, the "Parental Guidance" suggested by PG is probably because of some battle scenes in the movie.Thinking back, I wonder: Is this the first time since the two Audrey Munson films in 1915 and 1916, that on-screen adult nudity has been allowed, with no restrictions whatsoever?I'm not a big fan of nude scenes, and I don't seek them out. But this one, in Sheena, has to be the most innocent one I've ever seen.Dan Navarro (email@example.com)
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This is another film I recall being released in my childhood but have taken over twenty years to catch up with – not that it was a priority for me, knowing of its dismal reputation (SHEENA having been a nominee of five Razzies back in the day); that said, having just watched the even more maligned TARZAN, THE APE MAN (1981), I thought I might as well get to that jungle character’s female counterpart (who originated in a comic-strip)...The result is perhaps even worse than the notorious John Derek film: if anything, the fact that the character is a household name makes the Tarzan outing a more desirable commodity – besides, even if Tanya Roberts as Sheena does get a couple of gratuitous nude bathing scenes, she’s not really a match for Bo Derek’s Jane! Furthermore, the plot doesn’t exactly compel attention: the ambitious younger sibling of the current African ruler covets both his throne and his intended bride (whose model-type body is also conveniently bared for our perusal) and has him killed – at the same time, contriving to frame the visiting female shaman of an ancient jungle tribe for the deed! The latter is jailed, but she’s apparently able to communicate telepathically with Sheena (who promptly sets out to rescue her); the scantily-clad, tree-hopping jungle-girl was raised by the shaman ever since the childhood trauma of watching her explorer parents die in a cave-in; the young woman’s gift also allows her to talk to the animals (apparently, all that’s needed is to rub one’s forehead...only it looks more as if the subject’s suffering from migraines!) and, on many an occasion during the course of the film, they come to her aid. Also involved in the narrative are wimpish reporter Ted Wass (who eventually teams up with – and falls for – Sheena), his comic-relief cameraman, and a band of mercenaries in the new king’s employ (unrealistically, he and his bride tag along to their ultimate regret) who sets out in pursuit of our heroes because Wass has unwittingly filmed the assassination.The film is not unwatchable per se, but it’s not very rewarding either outside of some undeniable campiness – despite the involvement of interesting talent behind the camera: director Guillermin, for one, wasn’t new to the jungle habitat – having directed a couple of the 1960s Tarzan films, SHAFT IN Africa (1973), and the 1976 version of KING KONG (with its lamentable 1986 sequel following SHEENA itself)!; story and (bad) script come courtesy of David Newman (the SUPERMAN films), Leslie Stevens (THE OUTER LIMITS TV series) and Lorenzo Semple Jr. (the 1960s BATMAN), cinematography is by Oscar-winning Pasqualino De Santis (ROMEO AND JULIET ) and the editor is Ray Lovejoy (2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY ); still, perhaps the worst offender is Richard Hartley’s unsuitable score – with a main theme shamelessly redolent of Vangelis’ celebrated music for CHARIOTS OF FIRE (1981)!