Storm Boy is the story of a boy, who forms an unlikely friendship with a pelican, which remains as mesmerising as ever with the recent remake. Storm boy lives a lonely existence with his father Hideaway Tom, in an isolated remote area of Coorong, South Australia. He forms a friendship with an orphaned pelican, Mr Percival that changes his life forever. A grown-up Storm boy, Michael Kingley, tells the story of his childhood to his granddaughter, Maddy, in the hopes that she doesn't repeat his painful history by rebelling against her father.
Based on the adaptation of Colin Thiele's Australian children's book, the new version isn't exactly the same as the 1976 predecessor but it hits the same tender and touching moments. Director Shawn Seet (whose credits include Two Fists, One Heart) and screenwriter Justin Monjo, update the story to modern times, which makes for a riveting family-friendly story with the addition of Geoffrey Rush who plays grown-up Storm boy and Jai Courtney as Storm boy's father.
It opens with dream-like sequences with views of the beautiful and reverent Australian landscape. An idyllic stretch of pristine coastline, living in a simple wooden shack, wandering the deserted coast amongst the dunes that face out to the Southern Ocean; this is the world of Storm boy.
A weary Storm boy is all grown up as Michael Kingsley (Geoffrey Rush) who is summoned to Adelaide for an important board vote for a company he founded, which is now run by his son in law Malcolm (Erik Thomson). The matter at hand is the leasing of Western Australian farmland to a mining company which Michael's granddaughter Maddy (Morgana Davies) is opposed to. Malcolm wants Michael's vote ,whilst Maddy is unable to join the board to cast her vote until she turns 18.
Michael's fisherman father (Hideaway Tom) is haunted by a family tragedy and remains uncommunicative - as a result, his relationship with Michael suffers. Hearing shots being fired, a pelican mother is killed and Michael rescues three orphaned pelican chicks. He finds great joy in nursing them back to health with the help of Fingerbone Bill. In the process of raising the birds, Michael and his Father grow closer raising the birds. Michael names them Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and Mr Percival.
On the advice of his father, the pelicans are to be returned to the wild, however, Michael is distraught at the thought of letting go. After he releases them, Mr Percival returns to never leave Michael's side. In amongst the happiness, tragedy strikes again and Michael, in his emotional state, abandons his relationship with his father which he deeply regrets. The theme of regret is prevalent throughout the film through the use of flashbacks of Michael's past, merging in with scenes from the present.
Years later, Michael recounts this story to his granddaughter, Maddy, so that she doesn't make the same mistake. The film ends with hope as Maddy agrees to repair her relationship with her own father.
The movie Storm Boy is an emotional coming of age story, about trying to find your place within the world, painful family dynamics between father and son, growing up, resisting and accepting change and finally embracing one's identity. Storm boy deals with difficult emotional situations from the past to the present; seeing Maddy so angry with her father, it seems that adulthood can't prepare you for all the storms you need to weather.
The film is set in Australia and highlights the need for maintaining habitats for the birds, finding balance with society and respecting the indigenous peoples' culture. This film speaks of building deep connections with nature and the rewards that go with practising this, rather than avoiding negative consequences in the case of the vote for the mining lease to go ahead.
Colin Thiele's 1964 best selling novel Storm Boy was made into a film in 1976 and is one from my childhood that I have fond memories seeing. Shawn Seet has done a brilliant job with the remake of Storm Boy as it's beautifully done, highlighting Australia's mesmerising coastline and bringing to modern day life to the story of Storm boy.
Finn Little plays the character Storm boy very well and the talented Jai Courtney plays the boy's father. I particularly like that the original Fingerbone Bill actor, David Gulpilil, makes a cameo to play the father of Fingerbone Bill, forty-three years after the original film was made.
It's a film that hits at the heartstrings and certainly flapped memories into my kids and will be enjoyed for generations to come.
Just reading your story, and see that you refer to an orphaned Penguin in para 1. I think you mean Pelican.
It's an easy thing to do, especially if predictive text was in full swing.
Thought you'd like to know.
On another note, I thoroughly enjoyed your review. Can't wait to see the movie, and will definitely take tissues!
All the best