An Australian children's movie about a young boy who dreams of competing in the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. For me this movie had shades of The Karate Kid; the young boy, the underdog, complete with Japanese friend. Deborah Mailman's role reminded me of Eve Arden's role as the school principal in Grease the movie with John Travolta, in the scene where she clumsily falls in the water. A bit of slapstick comedy.
As a children's movie there is nothing complex about this story. The young star Ed Oxenbould who plays Dylan is adorable with his worldly outlook mature beyond his years and he's quite the actor. He lives with his dad out in woop woop Western Australia with miles of nothing around them. One day a teacher from Melbourne comes to his school and inspires them all to make paper planes that could take them to the championships. This spurs young Dylan on and he's enthused about his research and spends time trying to come up with the perfect paper plane that takes flight to championship levels. Time spent on this project also serves another purpose. It takes him away from where he's at in his mind.
Young though he may be, he's the mature one that takes care of his dad and unwittingly gets involved in his grandfather's law breaking escapades. Along the way he makes a friend, finds a competitor and meets the Japanese champion who challenges the way he thinks about winning.
Sam Worthington takes a back seat in this film as does David Wenham, with the children the stars of the show as it was meant to be. With young children of his own, Director Robert Connolly started to take notice that whenever he took his kids to the movies during the school holidays, in all of the films American kids were the heroes. He suddenly came to the realisation that Aussie kids were growing up with American kids as their heroes. It's not fair he thought and it was that thought that inspired the making of this children's film and to come up with our very own Aussie heroes for kids.
In a world filled with so much technology the idea of paper planes appealed to Robert after watching an episode of Australian Story called 'Fly with Me'. The idea that one sheet of A4 paper and a lot of imagination can be a great source of great entertainment was something that twigged his interest. He got in contact with the 22 year old subject of the TV show who had competed in the 2009 World Paper Plane Championships in Austria and whose name was Dylan. The rest as they say, is history. I give this a 6.5 out of 10.