King Solomon's Mines (1985) (part 5 of 6)
Allan and Jesse run into a spring-loaded statue, which I would assume is some sort of death trap. Either that, or a convenient plot point. It proves to be the latter, as the statue is an exact replica of the map-statue from the beginning. And before you know it, Allan and Jesse are captured by a tribe of villagers. Again. Our heroes are a couple of schmucks.
This tribe is led by a mentally unbalanced woman named “Gagoola”. In the book, there’s a tribe known as the Kukuanas, and despite another twist I’ll get to in a minute, I’m pretty sure this is the same tribe. The main difference is the book mentions them right in the first chapter, whereas here, they’re just dropped on the audience with no context at all.
Gagoola gets hold of a crown that the upside down tribe gave to Jesse. I guess this pisses her off a tad, because Allan ends up being hung upside down over a pit full of alligators and slowly lowered down.
This bit would work alright, if not for one or two more of those damned rear projection shots. To say nothing of the fact that Allan seems to be alternately way too close to not be gator chow, or nowhere near the damn things. Seriously, did they even give a shit about the effects work here?
Jesse pleads for Allan’s life, as the rear projection crocs begin to get closer to him. At the last minute, just as Allan frees himself, an explosion goes off. And from out nowhere… Well, get ready, folks, because here comes the twist!
Umbopo shows up, walking through a cloud of smoke like the most badass guy on the planet, and begins yelling at Gagoola.
Allow me to explain. In the novel, Umbopo (actually, “Umbopa” in the book and the other film adaptations) turns out to be the rightful leader of this tribe, and Gagoola (“Gagool” in the book) is the one who screwed him out of what was his. Same deal here.
In the book, this worked fine, since he was described as having a rather strange air of authority about him, unlike the other bearers on the expedition. Here, though? Well, if I were Umbopo, I wouldn’t mention the little freak-outs with the car and the train. He might find himself out of a throne again real soon.