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KIDS ON FILM

Adventurers Hear Call of the 'Wolf'

March 18, 1993|LYNN SMITH | Lynn Smith is a staff writer for The Times' View section.

In "The Shadow of the Wolf," a young Inuit is cast out from his Eskimo village after killing a white man. He takes a young woman, and together they battle the elements and wild animals as more white policemen arrive to solve the crime. (Rated PG-13)

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Who wants to spend almost three hours in the dark on a clear 83-degree Southern California Sunday in March? Two guys who love adventure movies.

Kevin and Greg, both 13 and friends since the fifth grade, had seen the commercials for this movie on television. "It looked suspenseful," Greg said.

"They showed parts where the whale tail picks him up in a canoe and throws him into the water. It looked really neat," Kevin said.

These two were not disappointed.

"It was neat and inspirational," Kevin said. "It showed the way he lived and the stuff that really happened, what happened when the white man comes and takes over their lives and changing customs and stuff."

What impressed Kevin most were the hunting scenes: "He kills a bear and a wolf. He, like, goes out on a hunt and jumps on a whale's back and stabs him with a spear."

Kevin reads Jack London and wants to be a writer. Adventure books and movies are his favorites.

What Greg liked most was the suspense. "You don't know what to expect," he said.

"In parts you knew what to expect," countered Kevin. "But when you got to the main climax of the story, you had no idea what was going to happen. He had, like, a temper, so he got upset at times at little things. You didn't know if he was going to hurt somebody or what."

The boys rate this type of adventure movie much higher than the cop movies full of explosives.

"In the blow-up movies, you know what's going to happen," Greg said.

Plus, Kevin said, those types of movies are not realistic. "The cops take the law into their own hands. They can do whatever they want and not get into trouble."

Other kids didn't see it the same way. Some younger children left early.

"It wasn't very exciting," said Natasha, 11. To her, jumping on the back of a whale that didn't dive afterward was "unreal." Besides, she said, the movie did not live up to its commercial promise to be "another 'Last of the Mohicans.' "

In that movie, Daniel Day-Lewis "ran across a field to save his love," Natasha said. "It touches your heart, I guess." Not quite the same as a man with a temper who grudgingly grunts, "You are a good woman," to the companion who has borne his child, saved his life, and brought back a dead reindeer to boot.

No matter. If you're into adventure movies, as Kevin and Greg are, you pick up a lot of other tips, such as how to build an igloo.

Kevin: "It was really neat to see how easy he just scraped away the stuff with his knife and made perfect blocks."

Greg: "And it's like a perfect dome."

Kevin: "And it doesn't fall down when they have fires. They cut a hole in the front and make a wall two feet out so stuff couldn't get in."

Greg: "It took them about a day. It would probably take me about a week."

In-line skates in plastic shopping bags, the boys headed off for the comic book store, then finally out into the sunshine that, after this movie, might have felt a little warmer and brighter.

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