Spectacularly photographed and journalistically lame, Jane's Journey blows a 107-minute kiss to Dr. Jane Goodall, the 70-something primatologist-turned-conservationist. Traveling 300-odd days a year to enlighten us about climate change (her own frequent flying is apparently OK), the calm, silver-haired Goodall—quite proud of having escaped life in a "horrid office"—smiles serenely while clutching a stuffed animal during various photo ops, not least of which is the documentary itself. Everyone interviewed fawns over the pro-hope activist: One fan calls her a "walking angel" while another is shown buying two of her books—as well as a replica of Goodall's little felt-covered friend! Probably by intent, director Lorenz Knauer doesn't challenge, much less define, the exact nature of Goodall's environmental philosophy beyond her view that the world is lovely, kids are the future, etc. Nor does he come close to penetrating his subject's highly controlled veneer, the better to behold the miracle of children shouting "Save our spiders!" and such. Jane's Journey is a trip worth taking only if you believe that images of the woman riding in boats and cars are inherently fascinating. Those Tanzanian chimps are cute, though—as is a predictably reverent Angelina Jolie.
Goodall in Tanzania during the '60s.
Runs at Northwest Film Forum, Fri., Oct. 7â€“Thurs., Oct. 13. Not rated. 107 minutes.