I give it a full 5 star rating as must see entertainment that also teaches its audience much about a unique ecosystem being devastated by feral animals and human relationships and dynamics. It has slapstick scenes to rival those in 'Home Alone', but relying on canine, rather than human blunders as Oddball makes his unwelcome marks upon the town, devastating initiatives to boost local tourism in the process!
But Oddball is redeemed when his affinity with the little, or 'fairy' penguins becomes apparent!
This delightful 'G' rated story is based on real life events in the town of Warnambool. It documents the establishment of a project that led to saving a key fairy penguin breeding colony, known as Middle Island, by a headstrong Maremma dog, who was frequently causing problems for his chicken farm owner, Swampy.
Along with two glorious Maremma dogs and a whole penguin colony, stars include Shane Jacobsen, as Swampy, his daughter, Emily Marsh (Sarah Snook) and grand daughter, Olivia (Coco Jack Gillies). The casting of Deborah Mailman, as the local mayor makes a welcome and innovative change, showing an indigenous Australian in a role of community leadership, power and esteem. Frank Woodley as the grumpy and terrifying dog catcher provides yet another highlight and some of the films most engaging dramatic tension and comedy. Indeed, all the actors are convincing and excell at bringing their characters to life. Coco Jack Gillies as Olivia, truly shines as the insightful and truly heroic grandaughter of Swampy!
Commendations must go to the director, Stuart MacDonald and writer, Peter Irvine, for daring to take some risks on their venture into creating what may be a film that passes into cinematic legend and worldwide acclaim!
Scenery around the picturesque and iconic Great Ocean Road and Shipwreck coast of Victoria, not to mention the town of Warnambool itself, are cinematic stars in their own right, thanks to the skill of cinematographer, Damian Wyville and are sure to attract many international visitors as a result of featuring in 'Oddball'!
'Oddball' is a film to warm the heart of any dog or penguin lover or nature conservationist and makes fabulous family viewing!
It is currently screening in cinemas around Victoria and proving a hit with Australian audiences. Don't miss it!