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Snakes in Movies
Sheena (1984)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.

This is a jungle adventure-action movie (with plenty of gunfire and explosions) about Sheena, a blonde white woman living in the African jungle, very much like Tarzan, who rides a zebra and uses wild animals to fight humans. When her parents died she was taken in by the shaman of an ancient tribe called the Zambulis. The shaman tells her she is the fulfillment of a prophecy about a golden god child who will be the protector of the Zambulis and their creatures, named Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. She then trains Sheena to shoot arrows, swing from vines, and communcate with wild animals by touching her forehead, until Sheena grows to adulthood. Adult Sheena is played by Tanya Roberts, looking very fit and athletic as she does all sorts of physical stunts while wearing only a skimpy animal-skin outfit during the entire movie. Well, not the entire movie - she takes it off a couple of times to bathe naked under a waterfall - because even the Queen of the Jungle likes to stay clean.

The movie is based on the Sheena, Queen of the Jungle comic books first published in 1938 which were followed by Sheena TV series and movies and even a Ramones song. It has a reputation of being a huge flop - Leonard Maltin calls it a bomb and calls Roberts the queen of jungle jiggle who mother nature forgot to endow with a script. That's not not true, but I did enjoy watching it. I know that there's nearly always a snake in a jungle adventure film, but I also thought it would be fun and campy, which is also not entirely untrue. The plot isn't very original, but it's not totally unbelievable, and the use of animals in the movie is absolutely amazing. It might be worth watching for that. It's a wonder how they got lions, rhinos, elephants, hippos, and chimpanzees to behave so well, and they're all real. Nothing is animated except for a brief scene where Sheena summons a flock of flamingos to crash a helicopter. There are also some beautiful African landscapes to enjoy if you can take your eyes off Sheena.

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There are two snake scenes. First see Sheena when she is still a little girl sleeping on the ground with a huge python wrapped around her. This gets us used to the idea that she is a friend to wild animals, and vice versa.

Then about fifty minutes in there is another snake scene with what could be the same python. Sheena and a journalist named Vic Casey are being chased through the jungle by a bunch of mercenaries with machineguns for reasons that don't matter here. Sheena climbs a large tree and helps Vic climb up. When he gets to a safe place he sees that the mercenaries are directly below, so he moves to the other side of the tree to hide but finds himself face to face with a large python. Sheena looks down and sees that Vic is terrified of the snake, so she turns upside down and reaches down for the snake. In most jungle movies snakes are considered so dangerous they are immediately shot or hacked to pieces with a machete, but the queen of the jungle simply moves the snake, pointing it away from Vic. Problem solved. Sheena and Vic have just met, and this comic scene in the middle of a dangerous situation sets up the Vic & Sheena romance that follows.

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Sheena Screenshot