All images Courtesy of My Lucky Elephant
Recently released on DVD, My Lucky Elephant is a live action movie with a new take on an old concept: that life is best spent with a sense of home, true friendship (both human to human and person to animal), love and family togetherness. I frequently review family friendly movies from both large and indie film studios for Mommy Blog Expert and this is definitely another great one I'd like to share with you that appeals to children, moms, dads and other caregivers.
Directed by Eric Schwab, who brought us blockbuster films like Mission Impossible and Valkyrie, this movie is decidedly more kid friendly and worth enjoying with your extended family. Rated PG, I found this to be entertaining and fun -- suitable for older children ages 6 and up. In fact, I was surprised even some of my teenagers sat and watched this in its entirety with me.
In this charming tale those essential things that we all hope for seem like just a dream for a parentless 10 year-old boy all alone in the world, aimlessly wandering and living in the jungle among the animals. That profound loneliness disappears when a wild baby elephant the boy names Lucky comes into his life and a deep and beautiful friendship begins to unfold.
|The native boy who starred in this film had never acted before|
|The boy & his new four-legged friend ride through a small town on the way to the big city|
All seems to be going well until the boy and his elephant friend decide to venture into a busy city. After a series of funny but frustrating life and work episodes, they finally discover the Academy of Art where elephants learn to paint. It is here that, after some artist-in-training suspense and hilarity, Lucky turns from class clown into the camp's resident star elephant artist with his original painting style.
|Watching these elephants paint in the movie is amazing|
|Elephants are just like kids when it comes to creating a mess when painting|
Just as fascinating as the film itself is the back story about how this picture evolved from concept to final production. Lucky (pun intended) for MBE readers, the director has shared the production notes with me to reference so I can provide you with some insight into the making of My Lucky Elephant as well as some cool trivia about the movie.
|Yes, in case you are wondering, it was rainy season during shooting|
|Filming in a jungle river w/ an elephant & boy was no small feat, either|
|Directing an elephant literally & figuratively presented BIG challenges|
"I saw elephants walking around the jungle and in the city," Schwab recalls. "When I found out they live a very long life, often over fifty years, I knew there was a good story there."
Watch the movie's official trailer to get a taste of why this is so fun and family-friendly
I could write an entire dissertation based on the production notes I read. Honestly, there were pages full of hundreds of details about how this amazing project came together. But, for the sake of brevity, I'll just summarize for you and share a few of the many tid bits about the making of this movie.
- Though you won't see it in the credits, My Lucky Elephant's outdoor scenes were shot in Thailand.
- Director Schwab visited with and got to know numerous Thai mahouts to aid in their search to find just the right elephant camp before settling on the one used in the film called Mateman where the animals were happy, healthy and well treated.
- In case you have any doubts: Yes some elephants can really paint. In actuality, the real life star elephant in the camp, Hong who was chosen to play Lucky's love interest Candy, commands thousands of dollars for each of her masterpieces.
- Multiple elephants worked during the filming of this project to portray different ages, personalities and talents. A point worth making: according to the director elephants were not forced to act and filming only took place when the big guys were in the mood to do the desired action sequences.
- After finding the right place, prior to beginning to shoot footage, the director and some other key filmmakers came to the camp on multiple days to observe and learn more about the elephants and their behavior, building trust with the resident experts -- both of the human and pachyderm varieties.
- The kid, a native of the area where this was filmed, who plays the lead had never acted before. He gave his name as First, since he is the first son of the family. Originally there was to be no dialogue for the boy's role, but that changed when it was discovered that First happened to speak perfect English.
- The first-time young actor looks like a polished thespian and natural with the elephants. But in reality he extraordinary child that just acted like himself. He also spent many hours with Nam Wan (who plays the young Lucky) to bond and to learn how to be safe around elephants and to practice riding the baby elephant bareback.
Simply said, if you like heart warming stories and especially if have a soft spot for animals and elephants like I do, I think you'll also truly appreciate this film. Listed at $14.99 My Lucky Elephant from ARC Entertainment, LLC, in English with a run time of 91 minutes, is widely available on DVD for home viewing with closed captions online and in-store.
FTC Disclosure: I received the DVD featured to facilitate this movie review. However, I did not receive any payment or other compensation associated with this post. Thoughts are my own. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.