Koko: A Red Dog Story is the third film in the Australian Red Dog series. This family-friendly film is designed to please dog lovers, but critics were singularly unimpressed. Source: ACOFB.
Reviewed by Fr Peter Malone MSC, ACOFB
Since dogs cannot be interviewed, filmmakers have to create a situation for them to exhibit their personalities and engage with audiences. This was certainly the with Koko, the dog who was chosen to portray Red Dog in the first film. This reviewer remembers going to one of the previews in Melbourne and the dog himself was a star attraction before the screening.
This documentary is part reconstruction, part interviews. Toby Trustlove portrays the younger version of the film director, Kriv Stenders, while Felix Williamson is the younger version of the producer, Nelson Woss. Sarah Woods portrays the younger Carol Hobday, the owner and trainer of Koko.
Before focusing on the dog himself, this documentary gives some substantial background to the original Red Dog, showing memories of him in the Pilberra and the statue dedicated to him.
In re-created sequences in this film, Stenders goes to great lengths to search for a personable dog to portray the role. He ends up in a Victorian town where they encounter an owner and trainer with her husband. Some pleasant banter is re-created to illustrate the rapport between Stender and Koko, as well as the initial encounter between Koko and some other dogs. When the initial dog, Kamir, was dyed red for the role, he came out in blotches, which left the way open for Koko.
There are interviews re-created by director and producer the time, and then interviews with the real director and producer inserted. After the filming, Carol Hobday gave Koko to the producer, Nelson Woss, and there are scenes of him with the dog at home.
There are a lot of pleasant scenes between humans and dogs, which is certainly entertainment for dog-lovers.
Koko: A Red Dog Story: Starring Jason Isaacs, Felix Williamson, Sarah Woods, Toby Trustlove, Kriv Stenders, Carol Hobday, Nelson Woss. Directed by Aaron Mc Cann, Dominic Pearce. 78 minutes. Rated G (Mild themes and coarse language).
Released in 2019, Koko is available for purchase or can be streamed through Apple TV, Microsoft and YouTube
Koko: A Red Dog Story (ACOFB)
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