They say people have stronger emotional reactions to films involving animals (mainly dogs) and children. These reactions can manifest in many ways - uncontrollable laughter, "awwww" moments and even soul-wracking sobbing. So what happens if you put both children and an amazing dog in the same film? Well... let's just say... pretty much all of the above.
'Red Dog: True Blue' is a sort of prequel to the acclaimed and much-loved 'Red Dog' film. In this we go to when Blue (the dog) was discovered in the outback after a storm, and how he serves as the boy who found him's best friend for the years he is in the remote cattle farm.
It needs to be said Phoenix, the star of the film, was at the screening I was in for this film.
Yes, Phoenix is a dog.
Yes, he totally stole the show.
Yes, it influenced how much I enjoyed this movie.
It's a big ask to make a sequel/prequel to a film that is as widely loved as the original 'Red Dog'. To be honest, I didn't know how they were going to do it or if it would work at all. Much to my (extremely pleasant) surprise, it did!
The story is honest, not too over-embellished for a children's film, and quintessentially Australian. It is so important we as a country are creating films like this. It is quality cinema, the characters are complex, the story is beautiful and the bond between the boy and dog is so touching.
What I really like was how respectful the film was. There were issues of land rights of the First Nation people, there was a non-cliché Asian character, and there was even a brief moment with a hint of LGBTQIA leaning. It's all done in an unobtrusive and wholly organic way, almost like that from a child's perspective. It was beautiful.
It's one for the whole family to enjoy, and an important one to support. We need more Australian films like 'Red Dog: True Blue'.
I'm a big fan of diversity in the arts and 'Red Dog: True Blue' is diverse and lovely. The producer spoke about how much consulting was done with the indigenous population on the filming area and the indigenous actors as well. It made me feel like this was Australia getting itself back on track after veering off the rails politically and social-consciously. This is why it is important for the arts to be properly funded. I doubt a child watching this would think anything of the issues being brought up in the film and would probably agree with most of what the protagonist went through and his thoughts about it.
Okay, I'll step off my soap box now.
'Red Dog: True Blue' is one of the best children's films I've seen in a long time. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but children's movies always seem to pack more of an emotional punch than adult movies these days. I know from the sound of the sobbing in the cinema I was in that I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes at the end. It's one for the whole family to enjoy, and an important one to support. We need more Australian films in general. But more importantly, we need more Australian films like 'Red Dog: True Blue'.