Oddball – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

September 15, 2015 by Roz Tarszisz
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Taking my grandson (4.5) to the movies is always a delight, especially if the movie is about penguins. This one has the bonus of a large, white, fluffy dog.

Based on true events, Oddball is set in Warnambool , Victoria on the Great Ocean Road.  Sweeping aerial shots of the magnificent coastline are a feature.

Swampy Marsh (Shane Jacobson) lives on his chicken farm outside Warnambool with Oddball (Kai) a Maremma dog.  Oddball is banned from coming into town because he’s a bit of a menace.  It’s not long before we get a chance to appreciate Oddball’s talent in creating mayhem in an extended scene that will delight young folk.

Swampy’ daughter, Emily (Sarah Snook) is a wildlife officer with the job of protecting the little penguin colony of Middle Island.  The penguin population in dropping – at low tide foxes can walk across and kill the penguins. If the penguin count gets below 10, the sanctuary will be abandoned.

The tiny penguins, who return to the island every night, are very cute – they weigh about 1kg and stand a mere 40cm tall. Maremma dogs have protective instincts, scaring off predators by barking and chasing them away. How Swampy harnesses that instinct in a hare-brained attempt to save the colony is an unusual story.

Oddball protects Swampy’s chickens from foxes. “Penguins are just chooks in dinner suits” is Swampy’s logic when he decides to train Oddball to protect the penguins.

There’s romance for single mother Emily with Bradley (American Alan Tudyk), deeds of mischief and derring-do, baddies and goodies.  That this is a true story makes it all the better.

I liked this quirky Australian tale. It’s sweet, fun and even educational.   Director Stuart McDonald has resisted making the “baddies” completely bad.  Jacobson is convincing as the eccentric chicken farmer whose relationship with his daughter and delightful granddaughter Olivia (Coco Jackie Gillies) ring true.  Deborah Mailman plays Mayor Lake and it’s always a pleasure to see her on-screen.

A feel­-good family movie with heart , there’s a message for children….. and for oldies too.  My companion enjoyed it  – even though he found the foxes scary. That’s ok. Scary can be good.

4/5 Rated  G  2015 95mins  Released September 17

Starring Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk , Deborah Mailman and Kai.

Directed by Stuart McDonald

Written by Peter Ivan

 

 

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