While director Stuart McDonald begins the story the way any parent would narrate a bedtime tale, Oddball does take a different direction by telling the story of penguins. These sweet little creatures may instantly capture our hearts and curiosity, but unfortunately Middle Island, the setting of the film, becomes a hunting ground for predatory foxes. With the penguin colony and a conservation site at risk, it is up to one family to become the heroes of the day.
It is here that we meet Swampy (Shane Jacobson) and his beloved, albeit rascal of a dog, Oddball. Oddball neither knows how to guard chickens, nor can he be ‘trained’. However, this friendly fluffball develops a keen protective instinct for the penguins on Middle Island, and he may just be the answer to keeping them alive. Jacobson and Coco Jack Gillies (who plays Swampy’s granddaughter, Olivia) deliver delightful performances as endearing partners in crime, turning the story into a sweet adventure between grandfather and granddaughter.
Oddball has it all – cinematic vistas, starry nights, Aussie lingo, drama, comical delights and unexpected thrills. But perhaps what makes it most enchanting is the real story behind it: Oddball is based on a true story. The family and their passion to protect the penguins are the heart of the picture, and it’s heartwarming to watch a family who genuinely want the best for each other and their community. Oddball may even make a few viewers shed a tear (or crack a smile) when he takes on his first solo mission and attempts to save the colony. Like many canine films, it takes very little to become enthused with Oddball’s efforts and heroism. His first few fights with the foxes are sure to leave viewers in awe, while also keeping them on edge until the final outcome. The film is full of heroes, big and small, and also makes sure to send us a powerful message: love and look after the ones you care about.
Thanks to a compelling script by Peter Ivan, the cast’s moving performances and McDonald’s leadership, Oddball is an enjoyable experience for viewers of all ages.
Image source: Roadshow Films.