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Oddball (Stuart McDonald, 2015) aka Oddball and the Penguins; wr. Peter Ivan, prod. Richard Keddie et al.; Shane Jacobson, Sarah Snook, Alan Tudyk, Deborah Mailman, Coco Jack Gillies, Terry Camilleri, Frank Woodley; chicken farmer saves colony of penguins by putting his sheepdog on their island, Middle Island, Warrnambool

This did not put any of the cast to much trouble. It's so anodyne that even a seriously good actress, Sarah Snook, is not required to do much more than say her lines. It's a pleasant, family film about a sheepdog - of a type bred to keep sheep safe from such threats as foxes - that keeps penguins safe from foxes. (Oddball is the dog's name, by the way.) A bad guy in the film is the local dog-catcher - but, as played by comic Frank Woodley, he's not very bad. All very heartwarming, I guess.

Some kinks in the writing notwithstanding, Oddball is fun and thoughtfully minded, with a sweet charm that endears from the get-go. Themes around the importance of environmental preservation arise as a natural part of the story.
Given the dogs and penguins (which were on loan from a zoo) were not permitted to interact on the set together, the scenes with them together required considerable visual trickery. The integration comes together seamlessly and – no surprises here – the animals are the real attractions. So too is the honey-dipped cinematography of Damian Wyvill, whose scrumptious shiny surfaces provide wonderful eye candy. Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian.

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Garry Gillard | New: 29 March, 2017 | Now: 25 June, 2020