I had seen the blurbs on Prime about “Storm Boy,” but had passed it by. It seemed too mysterious and I wasn’t looking for fantasy, and I dislike hokey. I got neither. My wife, Peg was telling me about this wonderful film she has just watched, but she had forgotten the title. As she described it, I recognized the film, but didn’t know the title, but soon identified it.
The novel by Colin Thiele was written in 1964. We meet “Storm Boy” as an adult. Michael Kingley, played by Geoffrey Rush, is a retired businessman, but still involved with the organization he created. He’s been going along with the changes, updates and goals, but no longer cares.
“Storm Boy” trailer – imdb.com/video/vi1878441241
Michael’s granddaughter is not happy with the direction the company has been taking and asks questions of her grandfather about what is going on with the business and that she’s angry about some new trends. He tells her about his life as a child on an isolated western Australian beach, away from most people.
Young Michael, played by Finn Little, hears gunshots from hunters and finds a number of dead adult pelicans. They had been shot simply for sport. He finds three pelican chicks that will die if someone doesn’t help them. He meets an Aboriginal man called Fingerbone Bill, played by Trevor Jamieson. Bill is friendly and kind. He explains that the killing of a pelican means a storm will soon descend upon them. The two of them work together to save the chicks. Bill refuses to enter Michael’s home without being invited in by his father. Bill has never met the father, but he knows the Aboriginal name he was been given, Hide-Away Tom. Tom, played by Jai Courtney, invites Bill in and young Michael begins caring for his pelicans whom he has named Mr. Proud, Mr. Ponder and Mr. Percival. Mr. Percival as the smallest requires the most care.
As the chicks are to survive, Michael has to learn so much, which he does under the direction of Bill. He explains that they can’t eat whole fish but that the mother vomits up the half-digested fish for them until they can eat them whole. Michael has to devise a way to liquify the fish.
The hatchlings look like pink, bald pterodactyls as hatchlings but by the time they reach adulthood, they are gloriously beautiful with mainly white feathers and black wings and a light pink peak (pelicanus conspicillatus).
As the pelicans grow, they follow Michael everywhere he goes. He has become their parent.
When the pelicans reach adolescence, Michael shows them how to catch fish by diving in the water and catching individual fish in his mouth; he shows them how to fly by running individually with each one and flapping his arms. The pelicans are fun to watch. I didn’t realize how large pelicans were and how much fish is required for them on a daily basis. It was also an eye-opener to find out they live between thirty to forty years.
“Pelicans frequent inland and coastal waters, where they feed principally on fish, catching them at or near the water surface. They are gregarious birds, travelling in flocks, hunting cooperatively, and breeding colonially. . . Australian Pelican . . . Length 1.60–1.90 m (5.2–6.2 ft), wingspan 2.5–3.4 m (8.2–11.2 ft), weight 4–8.2 kg (8.8–18.1 lb). Predominantly white with black along primaries and very large, pale pink bill.” – Wikipedia
Eventually Mr. Proud and Mr. Ponder fly away and don’t come back; however, Mr. Percival returns on his own. Birds like Mr. Percival live in your memory forever.
The imagery is excellent and the mixing of time and space is absolutely wonderful. The film has pathos, charm, and unconditional friendship.
Over the years “Storm Boy” has been dramatized on audio, as a stage play, and made into two successful films (1976 and 2019), as well as a children’s video game. People feel that the 2019 version is not a remake, but rather a re-telling of the film and the book.
Full feature length version of “Storm Boy” from 1976.
A beautiful film
19 January 2019 | by shirley-tebbey – See all my reviews
I really loved this remake of the Colin Thiele classic. The film is moody, atmospheric and absolutely lovely to look at. The indigenous content is sympathetic and well done. Geoffrey Rush has never been better in my opinion and the young boy and the pelicans are nothing short of wonderful to watch. South Australia’s Coorong looks just beautiful. I’m no critic, but I loved this film.
For more information about “Storm Boy” visit – imdb.com/title/tt3340446/