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MAGIC PUDDING, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Bunyip Bluegum (voiced by Geoffrey Rush) is a koala who doesn’t know where his parents are. Although his uncle and some of the other animals think they’re dead, Bunyip believes they’re still alive, despite disappearing many years earlier. He sets out to find them. On his way, he meets a sailor Bill Barnacle (Hugo Weaving) and a penguin Sam Sawnoff (Sam Neill); who have an unusual companion, Albert (John Cleese) a magic pudding. No matter how much anyone eats of Albert, he magically replenishes, and can even turn into any type of pudding desired. But their path leads to the disagreeable Buncle (Jack Thompson), an angry wombat whose sole desire is to possess Albert for himself.

"As Australian as a gum leaf, The Magic Pudding dishes up a fresh, colourful and delightful adventure capturing the compelling, larrikin spirit of Norman Lindsay's classic characters. Since Lindsay wrote his book in 1917, many children have been brought up regarding Bunyip Bluegum, Bill Barnacle, Sam Sawnoff and the irrepressible Albert as old friends, and now on the big screen as they come to life with splendid voices from a top star cast, we can be seduced all over again. The songs whet the appetite, with catchy tunes and the Anglo-Australian heritage is well reflected in both lyrics and accents. The boldly drawn animation sits on an appealing backdrop of pastels, charcoal and watercolours, reflecting only too well the familiar arid earthy ochre colours, the blue skies and our unique Australian landscape with its distinctively etched gums. All the voices are marvellous with John Cleese's Albert taking the cake – or should we say, the pudding! Toni Collette's impressive singing voice at last gets a chance to be heard, and John Laws' distinguishable voice purrs. Essentially a story that cites family values and friendship, the fun is innocent and unsophisticated, the humour cheeky. You'll hear lines like 'I knew her when she was a chicken' and 'do you always talk with a stick up your bottom?' One of the most memorable scenes when Bunyip, Bill, Penguin and Puddin' are sitting by a billy at a camp fire contemplating the future, springboards into a fantabulous fantasy sequence embracing Adam & Eve to the Titanic and Josephine. There's magic everywhere in The Magic Pudding, a uniquely Australian animated fantasy that is sure to enchant all ages this summer."
Louise Keller

"Australians telling their own stories in their own voice – that’s the rationale for taxpayer funded filmmaking, and The Magic Pudding is pretty well an ideal example. Not only is it quintessentially Australian – adapted from that Aussie artist Norman Lindsay’s work – it is made with unpretentious excellence. And even if Albert the Magic Pudding himself is voiced by Englishman John Cleese, you would have to agree he’s great talent; and we don’t want to appear xenophobic, do we? The joyous energy of the filmmakers jumps off the screen and the animation is world class. It’s a hoot of a story, amusing enough for parents, but riveting for its target market of pre-teens. It’s not only safe to take them, it’s advisable."
Andrew L. Urban

"Despite being unashamedly aimed at a children's audience, The Magic Pudding could just be one of the most significant Australian films of the past five years. Director Karl Zwicky and his team have taken a classic Aussie story and given it the Hollywood treatment. Colour, action, cute animal characters, rollicking songs and an all-star voice talent line-up combine to create a polished, professional product. Yes, it is a little slick and no, it probably isn't true to the original Norman Lindsay book; but as a work in its own right, it stands up remarkably well. Like its American counterparts (think Disney), the story is straightforward enough for younger viewers to grasp; but it's peppered with enough jokes (many delivered by John Cleese in his inimitable style) to bring a smile to older ones. The animation style blends attractive traditional backgrounds (reminiscent of Lindsay's drawings) with fully realised animated characters; and the result looks terrific. The cast is a virtual who's who of Australian acting talent, although many of the voices aren't easily recognisable. Despite a few annoying features and something of a flat spot in the middle, The Magic Pudding is a delightful and entertaining film. Even though it borrows from Hollywood, it definitely wears its Australian heart on its sleeve. And that's not a bad thing."
David Edwards

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 3
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

Animation Director Robbert Smit talks about
THE MAKING OF
The Magic Pudding

See Brad Green's SOUNDTRACK REVIEW with audio excerpts

Have your SAY

MAGIC PUDDING, THE (G)
(AUS)

VOICES: John Cleese, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Hugo Weaving, Jack Thompson, Toni Collette, Mary Coustas, Roy Billing, Greg Carroll, John Laws

DIRECTOR: Karl Zwicky

ANIMATION DIRECTOR: Robbert Smit

PRODUCER: Gerry Travers

SCRIPT: Harry Cripps, Greg Haddrick, Simon Hopkinson

Story Development by Morris Gleitzman and
Karl Zwicky
(from Norman Lindsay's novel)

COMPOSER: Chris Harriott

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: December 14, 2000







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