Director: Robert Connolly
Cast: Sam Worthington, Ed Oxenbould, Deborah Mailman, David Wenham, Nicole Trunfio
Duration: 96 mins
Release Date: 15 January, 2015
Paper Planes caused quite a sensation when it premiered at the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival, most notably due to its homegrown star power and being the first wide audience family film to come out of Australia since Red Dog. Directed by Robert Connolly (Balibo, Tim Winton’s The Turning) and featuring a bevy of local talent including Sam Worthington, Deborah Mailman, Peter Rosethorn, David Wenham and Ed Oxenbould (who recently led the Disney offering Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), Paper Planes is a very handsome production to see.
Win one of five copies of the book that inspired the film here
Adapted from the Steve Worland’s novel of the same name, the film centres on 12-year-old Dylan Webber (Oxenbould), who lives is a small nondescript NSW rural community with his widowed father Jack (Sam Worthington), as he wins a small classroom competition in making a paper aeroplane that can fly over 25 metres and thus thrusts him into the perilous world of competitive paper planing.
Dylan’s rise through the ranks of the planing elite is a trajectory we’re all too familiar with as the film never misses a beat in delivering the feel-good underdog message it wears so selflessly on its sleeve.
The younger, competition side of Paper Planes is a very safe affair. It comes complete with the wacky sidekick Kevin (Julian Dennison), the over excited school teacher Mr. Hickenlooper (Peter Rosethorn), the big bad competitor Jason (Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke) and the young love interest Kimi (Ena Imai).
Let’s not forget the lovable, larrakin Grandpa (Terry Norris) nor the inexplicably peppy competition hostess with the mostess Maureen Prescott (Deborah Mailman – I wonder if the film makers knew that Maureen Prescott is also the name of Sidney Prescott’s brutally murdered mother in the Scream franchise?).
There’s fun, treachery, pre-teen romance, lessons learned and plenty of paper plane action. You know where this is going right from the outset but it is an enjoyable version of this journey.
Connolly’s strengths lie in his ability to shoot personal drama and it’s in here where Paper Planes shines.
The subplot of grieving Jack and his dysfunctional relationship with Dylan, which is extremely adult territory for this family film to cross into, is the films strongest asset.
Oxenbould shines as Dylan, there is a real tenderness to this son who wants his father back and he outguns Worthington throughout.
Connelly captures this broken hearted relationship beautifully and whilst Worthington doesn’t fare as strongly there’s an abundant of warmth in all the players to keep Paper Planes the right side of feel good.
Paper Planes is a non-discerning family entertainment that delivers on the feel good whilst providing a little bit more drama than you’d expect in a film like this.
You’ve walked these boards before but its amiability keeps it on the right side of fun for this homespun family film.