Red Dog: True Blue – How do you follow up on the 10th most popular Aussie movie ever made?
Being English and only in the country for the last couple of years, I missed the cinema release for the original Red Dog.
I had been told that despite it only being around for the last five years, it was already an Aussie classic – one of the most beloved Australian movies ever. It also helped that it reeled in $21m, making it a huge commercial success. Safe to say I was thrilled to be invited to the premier of Red Dog: True Blue.
Naturally, I’ve since caught up on Red Dog – and what a movie. But as I walked into the premiere alongside a fresh off-the-boat American, we quickly realised we were in unchartered Aussie waters. We didn’t really know what to expect, be it from the extravagance of the premiere to the style of film we were about to witness.
The opening night had a great atmosphere, and I quickly realised this was a bigger deal than I had anticipated. There I was in my signature and unfashionable-but-safe black jeans and polo top, completely surrounded by people in smart casual at the very least. That being said, the cast and crew of Red Dog were dressed like me, so I fitted in and spent a lot of the night hoping people thought I was a cool actor.
Before the film began, we were treated to a presentation from the cast members. They spoke about the difficulty of producing a commercially successful movie in Australia without the big budgets of the United States, and how they would like to thank Village Roadshow for supporting the Aussie movie industry. Here here.
And then guess who showed up. Yep, the star of the show.
After that brief bit of fun, we were onto the movie.
The syncing with Red Dog and Red Dog: True Blue is clever, with the adult Michael Carter (Jason Isaac) watching the original film with his kids Theo Carter (Zen McGrath) and Nicholas Carter (Winta McGrath), getting rightfully emotional. From here on in, the film is essentially a flashback.
As a child, Michael is now known as ‘Mick’, and is played by Levi Miller. At a difficult stage in his life, Mick is flown out to a desolate Perth to be with his grandfather. His mother suffers from mental illness following the death of his father. He’s thrown into an entirely new world, and gets lonely quickly.
Fortunately, following a tornado (never thought I’d say that sentence, but hey, movies right?), he finds a young pup in a sink that for some reason sits in a tree. The dog is covered in blue paint, which leads to the name… yep, you guessed it: Blue.
Post shower, Blue becomes red, but retains his given name and loses none of his cuteness. Just look at that face.
From this point on the Red Dog movie vibe kicks in.
The film becomes episodic with the adventures of Mick and Blue. This is a real boy-and-his-dog and coming-of-age story that will have all the youngsters in the audience placing themselves in the shoes of Mick. Who doesn’t want a dog best friend when you’re a kid?!
In true Red Dog fashion there are moments to smile, moments of laughter, and other moments where you struggle to watch because you can’t see through all the tears. There was a particular moment where I think half the audience was crying – one girl in particular letting it all out. Brilliant emotional stuff.
It’s worth commending Levi Miller, who does a cracking job portraying the innocence of young Mick. The same goes for the wonderful performances of both Winta and Zen McGrath. In fact, you can’t help but love how soaked this film is in Aussie talent.
And whereas the first film was mostly filled with old miners, the sequel featured a very young cast, which can often lead to hard work for film-makers. If it did, it certainly didn’t show.
Having watched the original Red Dog, this probably doesn’t quite reach its wonderful heights. But it’s still an absolute gem of an Aussie movie, and one that I would urge you to support.
Here’s the full trailer to give you a taste.
Red Dog: True Blue is being released on the 26th of December and I would urge you to book your spot right now.