Red Dog: The Early Years is the prequel to the hugely popular Australian film Red Dog, released in 2011. Based on the true story of the legendary Kelpie dog who wons the hearts of the tough folk of the Pilbara region of Australia.
The story goes that this amazing dog wondered all over the remote areas of Western Australia in search of his long lost master. Now, Western Australia is bigger than India and is such a red hot landscape that it looks like Mars. So, this loyal and loving dog was quite a tough little fella. But, he warmed the hearts of everyone he met. In fact, they even have a statue of him in Dampier, Western Australia.
Red Dog touched the hearts of everyone who watched it. So, when the follow up was announced I could not wait to see it. As you would guess, the title gives away the story a little. Red Dog: The Early Years, takes us right back to the very beginning. Who was this mystery master that Red Dog wandered Western Australia in search of? Well, we get to know and we get to know how they met. Plus more importantly, why they were separated.
We are whisked back to 1968, a young boy called Michael Carter is sent to live with his tough Grandfather on a Western Australian cattle station. With his whole life turned upside down, Michael finds it hard to settle into his new world. That is until he rescues a puppy who is in distress after being caught up in a violent storm. He names the puppy ‘Blue' and the two forge an inseparable connection. Michael and Blue live, breathe, eat, and sleep together. Where Michael felt lonely and unconnected, with Blue by his side his new world becomes a huge wonderful adventure packed full of fun.
It's fair to say that the Director Kriv Stenders, goes for a much more period feel and spreads the sentimentality much thicker than the first film. But to be fair to him he does a great job in capturing the times in a wonderfully authentic way. Red: Dog the Early Years does show off the majesty of outback Australia without being over the top. There are tons of wonderful imagery weaved all the way through the film. Plus the screenplay is by Daniel Taplitz who wrote the original film too, so the two stories do blend well together. Although, Red Dog: The Early Years does seem to be targeted to children a lot more than the original.
As with Red Dog, there are some big names in the list of cast members. For instance, the acclaimed Britsh actor Jason Isaacs is cast as the older Michael Carter. He only appears as the movie leaps back into the future so he is not on the screen a great deal but does a great job. Bryan Brown is fantastic playing the grandfather. Then there is an appearance from John Jarrett, but his character is very different from his role in Wolf Creek, thankfully. Levi Miller does a wonderful job playing the young Michael Carter. Oh and you can't forget ‘Pheonix' the kelpie who plays Blue or Red Dog, let's be fair he is the real star.
All in all, Red Dog: The Early Years is a wonderfully made family film. Just a beautiful story of friendship and loyalty, that is packed full of fun and great Aussie humor. This is the kind of film that is completely inoffensive and harks back to the way that movies used to be made. Plus, at less than an hour and a half long it is an easy watch.