Director: Robert Connolly
Starring: Sam Worthington, David Wenham, Ed Oxenbould, Alex Williams
“Paper Planes” revolves around 12 year old Primary School Student Dylan Webber(played by Ed Oxenbould) and his journey to the world championship Paper Plane throwing competition in Japan. He begins this journey as a student teacher holds a paper plane throwing competition thus sparking a new journey for our protagonist. Along the way he discovers new friendships like Japanese Paper Plane champion Kimi(played by Ena Imai), overcomes personal obstacles such as bully Jason (played by Nicholas Bakopoulos-Cooke) the son of a respected golfer (played by David Wenham) as well as a death in the family and its impact on those close to him such as his father Jack(played by Sam Worthington) still mourning the loss of Dylan’s mother.
Simply out, this is a fun film worth taking the entire family to, especially now that Australia Day is coming up. What better way to celebrate that public holiday than by watching a quality feel good movie that’s made by Australians? It’s something you don’t see quite often in cinemas which are often saturated with American films.
It’s worth noting that the movie follows a simplistic children’s “underdog comes on top” structure as seen in a variety of other children’s movies revolving around similar themes. He makes it pretty obvious on how much of an underdog Dylan is, especially with the stark contrast of smart phones which the rest of his class has with the old school Nokia that has Snake. Sometimes it can be a little predictable, especially when it came to character enlightenments and personal journeys. However Connolly effectively pulls you into and provides a sense of wonder in the world of a 12 year old boy living in rural Australia with amazing scenic shots of both Australian and Japan along with the feel-good soundtrack accompanied with the movie.
I would like to personally praise Oxenbould’s performance in coming across as a mature young lad which nicely carried the film to right up until the end. This is particularly seen in the dynamic between Dylan and Jack which is sort of a role reversal. Dylan plays the quirky, and proactive protagonist keeping in line both Jack and his rebellious Grandfather He takes a stand against his father reminding him and effectively all of us as an audience that even though terrible tragedies can occur, it’s always important to dream and fulfils those aspirations we all have inside of us and to never give up on them.
Dylan’s good natured characterisation would make anyone in the audience want to root for him, especially when it came to the final round which tests all the lessons he learned, a common trope as seen in other children’s films just like this. You cheered when the bully lost and you cheer when the protagonist wins, over and over again. It’s not just with the competition where you see this too.
In the end, the movie would leave anyone with a nice positive feel-good experience which would leave anyone smiling and inspired to follow your dreams. The visuals were impressive but the effects that went to the plane felt at times a little unbelievable.
Review by Thanura Ravindra