From Drew McWeeny’s 3.6.15 Hitfix review: “Roar feels like Walt Disney decided to make a snuff version of Swiss Family Robinson. It may be the single most irresponsible thing I’ve ever seen as a movie, and I’ve seen it three times now. I may watch it again tonight. I am that fascinated by this record of absolute madness. Roar is the sort of thing you’ll want to see with as many friends as possible.
“Maybe I’m just fascinated by vanity projects, movies that only exist because a crazy person willed them into existence against all common sense. In this case, I’m not sure who the crazy person is, Noel Marshall or Tippi Hedren. Or maybe it took two people to have a dream this batshit crazy and dangerous. In real life, Marshall and Hedren were married, and they used their real kids as cast members.
“That’s not the crazy part, though. The crazy part is the giant army of actual lions and tigers who co-star in the film, and who are so completely the focus of things that Marshall actually gives them co-writing and co-directing credit.
“I’m not kidding. This movie was co-written and co-directed by lions and tigers.”
From a 12.31.80 Variety review: “The noble intentions of director-writer-producer Noel Marshall and actress-wife Tippi Hedren shine through the faults and shortcomings of Roar, their 11-year, $17 million project — touted as the most disaster-plagued pic in Hollywood history. Given the enormous difficulties during production — a devastating flood, several fires, an epidemic that decimated the feline cast and numerous injuries to actors and crew — it’s a miracle the pic was completed.
“Here’s a passionate plea for the preservation of African wildlife meshed with an adventure-horror tale which aims to be a kind of Jaws of the jungle. If it seems at times more like Born Free gone berserk, such are the risks of planting the cast in the bush (actually the Marshalls’ ranch in Soledad Canyon in California), surrounded by 150 untrained lions, leopards, tigers, cheetahs and other big cats, not to mention several large and ill-tempered elephants.
“Thin plot has Hedren and her three children trekking to Africa to reunite with Marshall, an eccentric scientist who’s been living in a three-story wooden house in the jungle with his feline friends, an experiment to show that humans and beasts can happily coexist.
“Hedren and her daughter Melanie Griffith have proved their dramatic ability elsewhere: here they and their costars are required to do little more than look petrified.”