Operation Dumbo Drop

A much better-than-average comedy-adventure and animal picture from Disney, set in South Vietnam in 1968 and inspired by a true story, about the mission of five Green Berets to transport an 8,000-pound elephant through 200 miles of jungle. This logistical nightmare—involving travel by plane, parachute, truck, and boat as well as by foot—was carried out for Montagnard villagers after the elephant they'd planned to use in a ceremony was accidentally killed. Leading the mission are two captains (Danny Glover and Ray Liotta) at temperamental loggerheads, and leading the elephant is a war orphan (Dinh Thien Le) suspicious of both of them; part of what makes this picture distinctive is a humanist treatment of the Vietnamese characters, North as well as South. Simon Wincer (Free Willy) does a fine job of keeping things both mobile and scenic, and the script by Gene Quintano and Jim Kouf has an old-fashioned sense of character and story development that kept me entertained; even when this picture is corny, it's corny in a likable way. With Denis Leary, Doug E. Doug, and Corin Nemec.

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