Jan 222006
Authors: Ryan Skeels

It's interesting, and maybe sad or funny, not quite sure which, that "End of the Spear" released at the same time "The New World" did, and only the former managed to make it into Fort Collins. Who really knows why, but regardless, I for one am glad to have seen "End of the Spear" before it leaves the big screen.

The story is that in 1956 a group of missionaries are down in Ecuador attempting to find and make contact with the Waodani people. The Waodani were an extremely violent bunch believing in "an eye for an eye" to the max and found themselves caught in a semi-ignorant series of revenge spearings. They also believed spearing made you and your people strong and being passive was a sign of weakness, something they didn't take well to.

One of the missionaries, Steve Saint, finally spots a Waodani during one of his routine fly-overs, and him and four others manage to land their plane on a sandbar in the river and make contact. The missionaries aren't well versed in the language, and the massive communication barrier leads to the five getting served by the wrong end of the spear. The rest of the flick is what happens during the next couple months leading to a very heartfelt and saddening end.

As far as movies about native tribes and their contact with the white man go, this one is surprisingly inoffensive and seems to portray what actually happened in as unbiased a form as possible.

If you ever happened to catch "Beyond the Gates of Splendor" last year, this movie may ring familiar to you as it is the exact same story, only the documentary version directed by the same guy, Jim Hanon. This one however, obviously shows the beginnings of the conflict and how it all went down the sandbar in the Amazon.

Many of the scenes throughout reminded me of sitting in an Imax movie about the jungle, as it's littered with beautiful overhead shots of Saint's bright yellow airplane meandering the course of the green and blue river. The acting was top notch, which for some reason always seems to surprise me in movies like this; it just seems like their wouldn't be so many great actors so well versed in what seems to be the true Waodani language. It's really relieving when directors use the original languages and not some terribly dubbed, over-the-top English.

This is a movie people of all ages should check out, and was actually the most crowded a theatre I've sat in for quite some time. If the story and history of the Waodani people doesn't hold your interest, the amazing cinematography certainly will. This one is definitely worth the buck.

4 out of 5 rammies

Contact Ryan Skeels at entertainment@collegian.com

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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