The Journey of Natty Gann | Chicago Reader

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It's not very special, but it's nice to see a Disney film that follows the rules of the family-film genre as Walt laid them down, rather than trying to emulate Spielberg's empty, high-tech grandiosity. Meredith Salenger, looking a bit too much like one of Mick Jagger's cast-off girlfriends, stars as a 14-year-old girl making a difficult journey across Depression America to meet her father at a Washington lumber camp; a wolf she befriends helps her through the wilderness and her encounters with various hostile humans. The episodic action flows smoothly under Jeremy Paul Kagan's direction, though his presentation of character isn't forceful enough to establish the many minor figures who populate the story line. But even Uncle Walt would have approved of the way he nudges the plot toward psychological archetypes: every evil force encountered by the barely postpubescent Natty embodies some variation of predatory male sexuality. With John Cusack, Ray Wise, Lainie Kazan, and Scatman Crothers.

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