PAPER PLANES | MOVIE REVIEW

Australian director Robert Connolly of THE BANK and BALIBO fame turns his hand to something less serious, a children’s comedic heartfelt tale in the vain of FREE WILLY, COOL RUNNINGS or A DOLPHIN’S TALE – it just doesn’t have an animal as a lead star, ok – there is the eagle. I had the pleasure of an awesome experience in attending the premiere for this movie at Moonlight Cinema, a children’s film, premiered in a children’s setting, allowing everything to be fun for children (including the big ones like me and friend James), while we were treated like royalty as VIPs – a truly brilliant evening. Huge thanks to all at Roadshow Films for allowing us to have such a great night. PAPER PLANES is out this coming Thursday 15th January in Australia, it is rated G and runs for 96mins. 

 

PAPER PLANES MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
PAPER PLANES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

Somehow Robert Connolly just made paper planes cool again, not only did we get to make them in multiple colours at the premiere but the movie is also all about them. He successfully manages to make them a world championship event that adults would no doubt have as an Olympic event in this fictional world. The movie is about Dylan (Ed Oxenbould), a young kid pretty much taking care of himself and his depressed dad (Sam Worthington) after his mother passed a few months prior. Dylan is trying to get on with life while his dad spends the day not working or doing anything really, mostly sleeping and never getting off the couch. They live in outback Western Australia, a beautiful arid part of this fantastic rock.

They have a man come to the school who tells them about paper planes. Shows them how to make them and commences to start a flying race telling them all the records and what you would need to fly your paper plane to enter the World Championships. Ed’s plane flies the distance the very first time and so he starts training to enter the championships – he meets some mates, some enemies, flies paper planes and this is the story.

 

PAPAER PLANES MOVIE IMAGE
PAPER PLANES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | DYLAN AND CLASSMATES GET READY TO FLY THEIR PLANES

 

This is a kid’s film, cynical adults will not like the abundant cheesiness and fantastical tale that paper planes get that amount of interest and sponsorship to have a world championship but for kids I can see this movie taking some box office. It is told from the kid’s perspective and it is a kid’s tale, if the premiere is anything to judge by it will be a smash. It has numerous things going for it. The lighthearted tale is written mostly well, the character of the father (Sam Worthington) really needed some more writing but the themes of friendship, grief, winning and losing were all told well.

It also has some sensational acting. Dylan (Ed Oxenbould) is a little mighty moe, a cute kid that you immediately side with, he is flawless, you may recognise Ed from PUBERTY BLUES, the Hollywood Christmas movie ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NOT GOOD, VERY BAD DAY and soon in TV show SOUL MATES (with Russell Crowe) and following that starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming new disaster, THE VISIT. Ed is on a roll and he deserves it. James and I both found Nicholas Bakapoulos-Cooke hysterical as Dylan’s nemesis, Jason, this kid was scary, we called him meth kid, he was so amped up the whole time 🙂 Also oddly, as the ads were playing before the movie started he ran through the aisles and crouched right next to us and his big boggley eyes scanned everyone in the VIP section – it was kind of odd, I even asked James if we were adopting. But he nailed it as the brat kid of wealthy father Patrick, played soothingly and concise by Aussie awesome David Wenham, I love the guy, he was also in the VIP section and I was getting a bit fanboy!

 

PAPER PLANES MOVIE IMAGE
PAPER PLANES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | DYLAN (ED OXENBOULD) PRACTICES WITH MR HICKENLOOPER (PETER ROWSTHORN)

 

Peter Rowsthorn had a lot of fun with Mr Hickenlooper and will be enjoyed by the kids, as will Deborah Mailman who has a small role but you can tell she was having a ball. Terry Norris is also a hoot as Grandpa, the geriatric lothario with a penchant for lawbreaking, what’s not to love? These characters really do make for a great ensemble. Then there is Sam Worthington, easily the actor who has made the most movies out of all of them, one of them being just the biggest box office movie of all time, and he is bloody dreadful. I half blame the writing of the character but the performance was dreadful, it looked like he showed up and just read lines sitting on a couch. I understand he is supposed to be suicidally depressed and heartbroken at the loss of his betrothed but his depression on the couch comes across like a lazy ass who just watches cricket. Rousing from depressed sleeping should at least see you looking disheveled and perhaps bleary eyed, not fresh and present. The character was very random and at the same time cliched and without any chemistry. I would say Worthington’s worst role in his career so far, and I am a fan. No effort and no love there and OMG – that end scene nearly had me vomiting – but that is not for me – that one was for the kids.

My only other grievance was I felt some of the interactions between the kid’s, namely Kimi (Ena Imai) and Dylan bordered a little bit too much on the adult side, there were a couple of chuckles at their “relationship”. Besides that the movie is a jolly romp.

 

PAPER PLANES
PAPER PLANES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | DYLAN (ED OXENBOULD) MAKES HIS FINAL PLANE

 

Cheesiness aside, I know if I was under ten and mum took me to this I would be on cloud 9. James and I laughed a lot and had a sensational night, unsure if we could have more fun if we did have kids with us. If you have some youngsters, grab yourself a ticket! I can’t comment on 3D as we had a 2D screening and Moonlight does not do 3D but a lot of the scenes look filmed for 3D and I think it would add another great layer to the film if you find it playing in 3D.

 

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