Film Review: Oddball and the Penguins

1st February 2016 No Comments

Oddball_QuadI knew that this film would appeal to my animal crazed 7 year old the minute I saw the trailer. She’s keen on all things cute, cuddly and animal related and this ticks all the boxes. I must admit, I didn’t think it would be for me, but that isn’t a consideration when you have children is it!

Oddball and the Penguins is a homegrown Australian movie shot entirely on the coast near Melbourne it features up-and-coming Australian star Shane Jacobson (“Kenny”), Sarah Snook (“Steve Jobs”, “Predestination”) and Alan Tudyk (“Frozen”, “I, Robot”, “Death at a Funeral”).

The movie reminded me of one of those classic 1980’s animal movies, it really took me back to my childhood. I have to admit, it isn’t the greatest, most slick animal film i’ve ever seen. However, it had  the 7 year old bouncing around the room as she really got into the film. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since, re-naming her soft toys as Oddball.

ODDBALL_1_©_Global_ScreenOne of the things which surprised me was that its based on a real life story. There really is a chicken farmer and a penguin colony protected by Maremma dogs. You can find out about the Warrnambool Penguins here. What a fantastic story, it had me researching and looking for more information for hours!

Oddball and the Penguins is genuinely an enjoyable family film, it has no pretence about it and is appropriate for all ages. Check it out in the cinema from February 12th.
Off the coast from the small town of Warrnambool lies Middle Island, a sanctuary once home to thousands of the world’s smallest penguins. But since foxes learned to cross the shallow channel to the island, penguin numbers have plunged. And if they fall below ten, park ranger Emily Marsh will be out of a job. This shocks her father, eccentric chicken farmer Swampy Marsh. His wife ran the sanctuary, but when she passed away, Emily stepped in, while Swampy retreated to his farm. Emily’s nine-year-old daughter Olivia is the glue that keeps the family together.

And at the centre of everything is Oddball, Swampy’s rambunctious Maremma sheepdog. After Oddball goes on an off-leash run that nearly destroys Main Street, tensions rise. If the sanctuary closes, Emily plans to take Olivia and move away with Bradley, an American tourism consultant. So now Swampy might lose his daughter and granddaughter as well.

The solution comes when Swampy rescues an injured penguin from the island and discovers to his amazement that Oddball – who can’t bring himself to guard chickens – is an expert at guarding penguins. With two weeks until the final penguin count, Swampy and Olivia devise a crazy plan – train the rambunctious and unpredictable Oddball to protect the penguins and save the sanctuary, while somehow keeping the operation a secret from everyone.

Will Emily discover the truth? What about the suspicious Dogcatcher? And who is the shadowy person trying to make sure the sanctuary closes?

What follows is a rousing adventure as Oddball, Swampy and Olivia manage to save the penguin preserve, their family and the town itself.

Claire Walsh

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