If nothing else, Fire on the Amazon serves as a reminder that superstardom does not occur overnight in Tinseltown, and some unlucky starlets have to hock their wares in bottom-of-the-barrel, straight to video schlock. Yes, like many of those "overnight success" stories, Bullock had to slog through made-for-television weepies and cheapies, raunchy comedies and rip-offs of bigger, better Hollywood blockbusters.
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That's vital here because Norman Maclean, on whose novella-length memoir the film is based, was a writer of exceptional grace and economy. This is a simple story that must be told the way he wrote it, and Redford delivers, even using excerpts as the narration he reads. Smart move, Bob.
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Of course there's a duplicitous corporate plot to interfere with them, and boy oh boy if the atrocious digital effects don't get piled on in bulk. The supporting cast includes Star Trek: The Next Generation's Wil Wheaton, whose character exits in the most hilarious finale I've seen on film, along with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Terry Farrell, as a brainy inventor and requisite love interest. Perhaps most amusing is Harry Van Gorkum (no known Star Trek ties) as the corporate lackey, with a ridiculous beard that makes him look like Taylor Negron dressing up as Ron Silver. Apparently there's a commentary track on the DVD release, but after watching the movie itself I was too depressed to look for it. This one's all Core, no fruit.
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