Review: Frog Dreaming

Blu-ray: Frog Dreaming (1985)

Frog Dreaming (AKA ‘The Go-Kids’ and ‘The Quest’) is a timeless family adventure movie starring Henry Thomas who was still riding the wave of success from E.T.

Cody (Henry Thomas) is an American kid living in Australia after the death of his parents. Staying with his Dad’s old friend, Cody loves adventure; highlighted at the beginning when he takes a modified bicycle on a timed test run down a train track. He also loves to fiddle with parts of machinery and invent a weird and wonderful variety of stuff; much to the chagrin of people around him.

When he first visits Devils Knob (no sniggering at the back please), he becomes involved in an aboriginal myth about “frog dreamings” that many people dismiss as nothing more than mere gossip.

Cody’s inquisitive nature leads him into a life and death situation where the entire community is brought together in order to try and save him.

Despite working with a budget at the lower end of the filmmaking scale, director Brian Trenchard-Smith (known more to me for his fantastically entertaining action films The Man From Hong Kong, Turkey Shoot, and Day/Strike of the Panther) uses the Australian landscape to great effect, while also utilising his ‘action chops’ to sprinkle the running time with set-pieces that keep both adults and children gripping their seats in anticipation of what will happen next.

Permeated throughout with Aboriginal mystique as to what may, or may not, be happening at Devils Knob, Frog Dreaming has an atmosphere to it that raises it above the majority of lower budget family adventure movies that were being made at the time.

One sequence underwater had me holding my breath while watching, and despite its PG rating, I was genuinely worried that events would play out far worse than they did…especially with Trenchard-Smith at the helm.

If you’ve enjoyed the more well known The Goonies, Stand By Me, Explorers, etc, then pick up this great release from Umbrella Entertainment and spend some time in the mystical world of Frog Dreaming.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR BRIAN TRENCHARD-SMITH, EDITOR BRIAN KAVANAGH, COSTUME DESIGNER APHRODITE KONDOS AND NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD DIRECTOR MARK HARTLEY
  • EXTENDED INTERVIEWS FROM NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD
  • THE DEPTHS OF A LEGEND: LOOKING BACK ON FROG DREAMING (WITH HENRY THOMAS AND BRIAN TRENCHARD-SMITH)
  • THE GO KIDS: LOOKING BACK ON FROG DREAMING (WITH RACHEL FRIEND AND TAMSIN WEST)
  • THE DREAM QUEST: SHOOTING LOCATIONS REVISITED
  • THEATRICAL TRAILER
  • IMAGE GALLERY

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Umbrella Entertainment.