storm boy

DIRECTOR: shaun seet (two fists, one heart)
STARRING: finn little, jai courtney, trevor jamieson, and geoffrey rush

 

REVIEWER: hadassah devis

★★

When Kingley, a successful retired businessman and grandfather, starts to see images from his past that he can't explain, he is forced to remember his long-forgotten childhood, growing up on an isolated coastline with his father. He recounts to his grand-daughter the story of how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr Percival. 

Based on a 1964 novel by Colin Thiele (which was made into a movie in 1976) Storm Boy follows a young boy who raises three orphaned pelicans on a remote Australian beach.

 

With any remake or book-based movie, 90% of what you hear about the film is going to be comparisons between the book/original movie and the remake but I've not seen or read either so I can't really do that.

 

Perhaps some nostalgia for the story might have made me see it in better light, but in my opinion, Storm Boy fell flat. Essentially, the movie is inoffensive to the point of being boring.

 

The 'bad guys' are a couple of bird hunters who stand around holding their rifles with an angry dog in tow. The main 'dilemma' is around a vote on turning a farm into a mine (or something to that effect). The big 'father-son' moment is when Storm Boy's father “Hideaway” Tom (Jai Courtney) realises his kid needs to go to school instead of playing with his pelican all day.

While there are undercurrents of environmental messaging, but not enough to inspire anyone to actually try to do anything.

 

In fact, that family-friendly-as-possibly attitude makes Storm Boy feel very much like the kind of movies I watched in the late 90's as a kid. Movies like Fly Away Home, Homeward Bound and Shiloh, which were a hit in the 90's (unless I was a just total dork) but I find it hard to see it being a hit with kids these days. Usually animal and kid movies go down well, but Storm Boy targets a grey area of audience. It seems to be marketed towards kids, but youngsters will likely lose interest (the film predominantly is heavy on dialogue) and teens are going to find it boring compared to their usual cinematic choices. My Mum and Dad would probably love it though.

 

The film does have some good qualities. Jai Courtney and newcomer Finn Little (Storm Boy himself) are fantastic and (if Little's mentors steer him in the right direction…) I imagine we will be seeing some big things from both of them. The film also does an amazing job showcasing what a beautiful country Australia is.  

 

Unfortunately, the good qualities cannot quite carry the film. Storm Boy is the kind of movie you would watch on because it was on TV when you are home sick and need something easy to watch without having to invest in it.  


Storm Boy targets a grey area of audience and it feels very much like the kind of movies I watched in the late 90's as a kid.

★★

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Storm Boy is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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