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Duma (Widescreen Edition)

4.6 out of 5 stars 235 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Duma (DVD) (WS)

Set in the exotic country of South Africa, this powerful adventure film tells the story of the unbreakable friendship between a cheetah named Duma--the Swahili word for male cheetah cub--and an intrepid young boy named Xan (Alexander Michaletos), who faces the true test of love when he must cross the whole of southern Africa to return his best friend to his rightful home in the wilderness. On his journey, Xan learns that everything always changes, but not love.

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This African tale follow the rhythms of director Carroll Ballard's earlier films The Black Stallion and Fly Away Home, namely a child is drawn into the mysteries and magic of an animal. Xan (newcomer Alexander Michaletos) is a 12-year-old living in South Africa with his parents (Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, who appeared as a much different couple three years earlier in The Secret Life of Dentists) when they find an abandoned baby cheetah. They bring it up as their own and name it the Swahili word for cheetah, Duma. After some time, the creature is too big to stay domesticated and Dad tells the boy they will have to journey back to Duma's home to set him free. A sickness makes the family pull up stakes and head to the city where Xan and Duma don't fare well. Xan must take Duma on his own to set him free. To tell more would be a crime. As with any Ballard film, the story is subtext, the visuals rule. First-time cinematographer Werner Maritz fills the screen with the desert landscape and is able to capture the magnificent speed of the cheetah. Ballard's films seem to build on their own inertia, creating scenes that seem to be simply happening instead of scripted, although this often suffers in the balance of wonderment versus all-too-lucky occurrences. Based on the children's picture book/memoir How It Was with Dooms by Xan and Carol Cawthra Hopcraft, this is a film worth seeking out, especially for families and kids above 5 years old. --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • Extended scenes
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Alexander Michaletos, Eamonn Walker, Campbell Scott, Hope Davis
  • Directors: Carroll Ballard
  • Writers: Karen Janszen, Carol Flint
  • Producers: John Wells, Doug Claybourne, Hunt Lowry, E.K. Gaylord II, Kristin Harms
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: May 15, 2007
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009XRZVU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,827 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Duma (Widescreen Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This exquisite little love story about a boy and a cheetah was poorly advertised when it was in theaters. It came and went and was overlooked by audiences. It deserves remastering on Blu-ray It is that rare thing, a true family film that is not insulting to kids or adults.

There is a fierce beauty to many of the scenes and close ups of the cheetah's face convey a kind of intelligence and dignity rarely seen on the screen or anywhere, for that matter.

The story is simple and remains true to the spirirt of the book. The screenplay adaptation is lean. But it is the extraordinary look of the movie that lingers in the mind. It casts a spell. As does the regal grace of the cheetah.

This simple story has no profound revelations, but rather a reminder of the grace and beauty of our world. Without going into detail, I found the acting, locations, cinematography, music, and especially the directing to be of the highest order.

I highly recommend this wonderful gem of a film.
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Format: DVD
Alex Michaeletos, a South African, was selected over many other boys as Xan, despite casting calls around the world, because he had a pet cheetah himself, and went up to the animal he would be co-starring with and introduced himself by ruffling the cheetah's fur. Most potential Xans were too scared of the beast to approach it. It is this comfort level between Alex/Xan and Duma that makes the film believable, and Alex's slight Afrikaans accent just heightens the realism. (Like Xan, Alex was raised on a South African farm surrounded by lions, leopards, wild dogs and antelope.)

The fictional plot is a bit contrived, but the film takes you in unexpectedly interesting directions through amazing landscapes. Carroll Ballard directed Never Cry Wolf as well as Fly Away Home and deserved better exposure with the promotion of Duma, the test-marketing of which in the U.S. Southwest was not very successful. Warner should have released the film in more places than Chicago and New York. It really deserved national release.

There is nothing about the film to date it. I expect Duma to be enjoyed by families for many years to come.
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My son "made" us see this movie, and we're so glad we did! Although there are some parallels to Fly Away Home (orphaned critters) and the Black Stallion (marooned far away from civilization), the story is completely different--somewhat predictable, but nevertheless pleasant to watch. Probably no Oscars for acting here, but definitely worth our time.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Because this Film does not have sex, violence, vulgar languge is probably why this was not released to the public.

When I was on a flight to China I saw this movie 3 times after I returned home I brought my family to see it in Washington DC about 200 miles away (the closest showing).

After the movie the whole audience stud up and cheered?

The theater was packed with familes just like mine?
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Format: DVD
this movie didnt really get any publicity, and the director was kind of on his last nerve. there were even debates on whether or not to put it out on dvd. they only put in out in chiago, and i feel like im one out of the myabe 100 people who saw it.

but this movie was breath-taking. everything about it was glorious and moving. i loved every minute of it. i really hope it picks up, or i just hope more people see it. it was so moving and certainly wasnt only a movie for children. it further shows the bond of human and animal in a beautiful atomesphere that anyone can enjoy.
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By Magwhls on January 8, 2006
Format: DVD
I and my nine-year-old nephew saw this film today and it is a beautiful, intense film. I do not think its job was to teach us about race relations in South Africa, or anything political. It is a movie about family love and love of wildness. I did not place any larger burdens on it and I was totally enthralled by the movie, as was my nephew. Some parts were pretty intense and scary for a child, but for the most part he seemed to get a lot out of the movie and said he loved it. I loved it too. Cheetah's really need our help if they are to survive - the Cheetah Conservation Fund is the primary group working to save the Cheetah - their web site is a good place to learn more: [...]
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Format: DVD
Wow! I am terribly disappointed that I was unable to see this movie on the big screen. It wasn't available here on the west coast and so I had to wait till it came out on DVD in order to see it. This is a wonderful story about a boy and a cheetah (obviously) and I would certainly recommend it to anyone but especially if you are an animal lover. I found it to be quite touching and a must see. The acting on the animals and humans part is exceptional and although I find that I sleep right through most "exciting" movies, I was riveted to the screen throughout every moment of this film.
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Format: DVD
I just saw this movie with my 11-year-old son who watched it with rapt attention. I agree it has many parallels to "Fly Away Home." But it will be a refreshing break for parents who endure the wasteland of children's movies and wonder what there is out there to engage and inspire our children rather than bludgeoning them with hyped-up animation, improbable superheros, and vulgar comedies. Don't miss it if it ever comes to a theater near you. We need to support movies that have some agenda other than fast-food tie-ins.
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