Harry And The Hendersons (1987)

WILLIAM DEAR

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.  USA, 1987.  , .  Screenplay by , , .  Cinematography by .  Produced by William Dear, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by , .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1987.

A vacation in Mt. Rainier national park outside Seattle turns odd when dad accidentally hits a large animal with the family station wagon.  Examining the body of the deceased, Lithgow realizes what he has actually hit is the mythical Bigfoot (played by seven-and-a-half foot tall ), so he ties to the roof and takes home despite hesitation from his nervous wife (a delightful ) and his screaming kids.  At home, the sasquatch turns out to be far from dead, and the family struggles to keep their house vertical as this giant, unwieldy creature busts all their furniture in search of food and a place to stretch out.  Meanwhile, sightings of the big guy turn the neighbourhood upside down and invite the wrath of a hunter () who has been trying to catch him for years.  Told with all the innocent twinkle of Spielberg’s E.T. and none of the style, this sweet audience-pleaser is filmed like a sitcom and lacks any subtlety in its environmental message (Harry is a vegetarian who is kind and gentle to all living things, and everyone else is trying to buy the biggest gun to shoot him with), but it has a sincere and disarming style that sells it anyway.  It’s odd that a film clearly aimed at the sensibilities of children has so much swearing in it, but Harry himself is so endearing (and Rick Baker deservedly earned an Oscar for creating him) that you’ll want to show it to them anyway.  Adapted, ironically, to sitcom television in 1991.

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