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BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE

SYNOPSIS: Blinky Bill (Ryan Kwanten) leaves the little haven of Green Patch to search for his missing adventurer father Mr Bill (Richard Roxburgh) who left a year earlier to rescue lost animals. Blinky sets off naively, albeit with good intentions without telling his mother (Deborah Mailman). But he quickly discovers that the world beyond Green patch - the Outback - is a dangerous place and is confronted by a vicious feral cat Sir Claude (Rufus Sewell) and hungry crocodiles. He finds an unexpected ally when he meets Nutsy (Robin McLeavy), a feisty zoo koala plus Jacko (David Wenham), the nervous frill-necked lizard and two helpful emus (Toni Collette), who all help him on his adventure.

Review by Louise Keller:
It was the New Zealand born author Dorothy Hall in 1933 who created the overtly Australian character of Blinky Bill, but when acclaimed animator Yoram Gross directed Blinky Bill: The Mischievous Koala in 1992, followed by the television series about the lovable little koala, it seemed as though the lovable little koala bore many of the characteristics of the animator himself: cheeky, brave and ready for adventures. Moving away from what was then a ground breaking technique of 2D animation over live-action footage, this latest Blinky Bill movie from Flying Bark Productions (formerly Yoram Gross Studios) has a new look as the animation has been reimagined into CGI, while still retaining the essence of its adventurous protagonist.

Never give up is the theme of Blinky Bill The Movie, a family friendly road movie crammed with all things Australian. There are kookaburras, kangaroos, gum trees, goannas, tree rats, gum nuts, bush tea, a frill necked lizard, crocodiles, emus, possums, echidnas, platypuses, akubra hats and boomerangs. It's a colourful, high spirited tale with endearing characters, non stop action and plenty of heart, as Australia's favourite koala embarks on a grand Outback adventure in search of his missing father.

The story begins in the peaceful haven of Green Patch, where we learn how Blinky's adventurer father Mr Bill (Richard Roxburgh) does not return after leaving one year earlier in search of the mythical Sea of White Dragons. With a swag slung over his shoulder, the na•ve, well-meaning Blinky (Ryan Kwanten) sets off in a bid to find his missing father.

By the time Blinky finds himself at Koala Joe's Roadhouse, pursued by Sir Claude (Robin McLeavy), a vicious British shorthair cat with a green and purple eye, we know the adventure has well and truly begun. Nutsy (Robin McLeavy), the pretty koala accustomed to zoo life with its heated spa baths, manicures and movie treats and Jacko (David Wenham), the T-shirt wearing frill-necked lizard with a manic disposition become Blinky's trusted companions and the sequence in which the trio are transported across the Outback by the two helpful, chatty emus (both voiced by Toni Collette) is delightful. (I like the fact that one of the emus is wearing Dame Edna Everage glasses. (Dame Edna plays the character of Wombo.)

Directed by Deane Taylor, the film plays out predictably but with good humour as it leads into the climactic finish alongside of hungry crocodiles, a sleepy parrot and a flying contraption with emus and a hyperactive lizard. Who says koalas can't fly?

The voice talent led by Ryan Kwantan is excellent but I couldn't help but think it is a shame the filmmakers did not invite the original voice cast from Yoram Gross Studios' film and television series (the talented Keith Scott and Robyn Moore) to make a guest appearance at the very least.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BLINKY BILL THE MOVIE (PG)
(Aust/US, 2015)

VOICES: Ryan Kwanten, Rufus Sewell, Robin McLeavy, Toni Collette, David Wenham, Deborah Mailman, Richard Roxburgh, Barry Otto, Barry Humphries

PRODUCER: Barbara Stephen, Jim Ballantine

DIRECTOR: Deane Taylor

SCRIPT: Fin Edquist (based on book series by Dorothy Wall)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Not credited

MUSIC: Dale Cornelius

PRODUCTION DESIGN: n/as

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Studio Canal

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: NSW, QLD, Vic: September 17, 2015; ACT, WA, SA, NT: September 24, 2015







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