BritFilms TV // 1976 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Kristin Munson (Retired) // November 28th, 2008
"Why do we live here, Dad?"
"Because it's the best place there is."
An Australian boy named Mike leads a solitary existence on the edge of a nature preserve until he encounters an Aborigine and rescues a nest of birds.
I tried to wring more than a one-sentence synopsis out of Storm Boy, but if I squeezed any harder one of us was going to wind up with a hernia. The movie just ambles along with no destination in mind, delivering a vague message about conservation in between shots of the desolate Australian coast.
Come to think of it, everything about Storm Boy is vague. There's no way of judging time or place. Where Mike's mother is and why he and his dad live in a shack is hazy. When some vehicles take a wrong turn off the Mad Max set and wind up ramming the family home, it's pretty much ignored after the scene change.
As a book, Storm Boy is considered a Down Under kiddie classic, but as a film, it just feels like someone's taken a children's film checklist and assembled the appropriate parts:
Start with one lonely child
Take one person of color, frightening but misunderstood
Add one abandoned animal turned heroic pet
Mix with distant single parent
Fold in last act reward, solving all life's problems
Toss in some gorgeous Aussie ocean views, shake well and serve over ice.
Basically, the movie is White Mane, except with pelicans. Yes, the same animals whose floppy mouth pouch makes it the punch line of many a cartoon joke. Mr. Percival is an unlikely candidate for a movie pet but he is pretty frikkin' cute, waddling along and communicating in flatulent honks: like Rush Limbaugh, but with dignity. Did I snuffle like a clogged vacuum by film's end? Heck yeah, but years of children's movies have conditioned me to turn on the faucets over the fate of fictional animals, no matter how dull the story and how many times I've seen it.
BritFilms is offering Storm Boy in Region 2 format and the bare bones disc certainly isn't going to entice anyone into going Region free. The regionless screener I received only wanted to play on my computer, and there the (wrongly formatted) full frame picture looked faded. As for the mono audio, the limited dialogue and ocean setting turned my speakers into a white noise machine. Soothing, but not conducive to getting you through 90 minutes in one sitting.
Incorrect aspect ratio. Derivative plot. Bland action. The nicest thing I can say is that as a movie, Storm Boy makes a wonderful sedative.
Guilty. Put that in your pelican pouch and smoke it.
Review content copyright © 2008 Kristin Munson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: BritFilms TV
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Not Rated