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  • Colin Fraser


THREE AND A HALF STARS A country kid who discovers a talent for making paper aeroplanes that might also save his Dad.


Starring ED Oxenbould, Sam Worthington

Robert Connolly (BALIBO, THE TURNING) takes to the air with this endearing kids film which pitches young Ed Oxenbould as a major talent to watch.

Ed Oxenbould (the confident star of the awkwardly titled ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY) plays twelve year old Dylan, a country kid who discovers a talent for making paper aeroplanes. His passion for flight takes him past the Australian finals to the World Paper Plane Championships in Japan. Along the way, he makes good with a school bully, takes on a highly charged competitor, discovers girls, the power of mateship and, with the help from Grandpa (Terry Norris), encourages his recently widowed father (Sam Worthington - AVATAR, DRIFT) regain an appetite for life.

PAPER PLANES is delightfully wholesome and harkens to the broad, unthreatening appeal of yesterday's Disney films. That's both a strength and a weakness, for despite the story's plucky tone and appealingly G-rated content, it suffers from predictable, one-note characterisation that eschews any narrative surprises. Connolly's script, co-written with Steve Worland (BOOTMEN) wants for a little grit that would take the gloss off their stock characters. Dylan's ease with travelling to Sydney then Japan is at odds with his country background, suggesting an early adulthood that's at odds with his back story. Where's the boyish mischief? On the plus side, they've skilfully avoided over-complicating the plot and haven't succumbed to the kind of unnecessary (and unbelievable) villainary that beefs up similar stories.

Yet these are minor quibbles. As Dylan tackles the problem of making his plane fly the distance while pulling his grief-stricken father back into the world, Oxenbould effortlessly holds our attention. There's no doubt he's a rising star. Worthington, Norris, David Wenham, Debra Mailman and Peter Rowsthorn convincingly hold up the edges of the story without distracting from the kids at the centre of the film. Shorn of sharp edges and pitched at early-tweens with a warm, 'you-can-do-it-if-you-want-to' message, PAPER PLANES is a feel good family film that more than comfortably hits its target.

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