The Film (4/5)
Frog Dreaming (aka The Go-Kids, aka The Quest aka Insert Title Here) is a film I have heard of pretty much since my wife and I began dating well over a decade ago, but had not seen since the DVD release from Umbrella Entertainment ended up on my doorstep. This is a film that my wife has had fond childhood memories of watching on tape under The Quest title, but had not seen a DVD release anywhere in the world prior to this one. As I haven't been prone to digging around for old VHS tapes, we hadn't gone back to see it.
The film stars Henry Thomas (E.T) as Cody a young orphan boy who lives with his guardian Gaza in an rural Australian outback community. While there he becomes obsessed with a local monstrous legend the "Donkegin". He begins exploring the legend which involves a monster that lives under the water in a nearby dam. Using his limited skills as a builder he tries to invent ways to hunt or get close to the creature to prove his manhood.
Having no nostalgic investment in Frog Dreaming I thought the film would be an interesting experience for me. My wife was glued to the screen because of her memories from the film. I, on the other hand felt a genuine sense of entertainment from the piece. The film has a nice raw quality to both the writing and filmmaking. The kids feel realistic to a point, in the sense that they act and respond to situations like normal kids trying to create ways out of things even if it isn't possible or sensible.
Trenchard-Smith's direction is excellent as always, he keeps the film flowing nicely and with a nice style befitting to the material. Henry Thomas who completes a triumvirate of children's adventure films with Frog Dreaming (he was previously in Cloak and Dagger and E.T.) performs extremely well as Cody here playing the role naturally. I was also quite surprised to see my all time favorite Doctor Who companion Jo Grant (err Katy Manning) in a small role.
Frog Dreaming is presented by Umbrella Entertainment in a quite solid 1:33:1 transfer. I am not sure if this is the OAR, but everything looked quite fine here for the most part. The film itself was shot mostly outdoors, and so things are soft, and very natural looking. There is decent color reproduction, solid detail, I will say I did notice quite a bit of damage from the source material from time to time.
Audio is handled with a English 2.0 mix and sounds quiet solid with dialogue and score coming through clearly.
Interviews on the disc with Everett Roche, Henry Thomas, and director Brian Trenchard-Smith.
Frog Dreaming is an excellent slice of family entertainment from director Brian Trenchard-Smith. I hope this DVD brings more attention to the film, and sells enough to get it on to Blu-ray. The DVD looks quite decent, and of course is an upgrade from the tape, and various bootlegs. RECOMMENDED.