The Quest (1986) Poster

(1986)

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One of my favorite movies as a kid
Samus Aran2 July 2002
Yes, this movie was peculiar. Yes, the plot was sort of strange and a bit difficult to follow the first time around ... that is why we watched it many times !

The boy is a great inventor, and goes exploring strange things in this lake... and I thought the movie was just very mysterious and exciting as a kid.

I just thought I would put out this little review, as the other voter quite disliked it, heh. I thought it was superb !
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8/10
Ever wondered what's at the bottom?
eepiwee6 May 2004
It's been many years since I've seen this movie but I'm working on making it a part of my collection. Basically, there's an eerie, spooky, creepy pond that perks a boy's curiosity. The boy, Cody, starts investigating an old legend about "Donkegin" and/or "frog dreamings," all this I don't quite remember but I do remember certain parts as being incredibly intriguing. As a kid, and even today, I've always been fascinated with lakes and ponds, always wondering what's at the bottom. I believe they even get some underwater footage at some point when Cody wears an old-fashioned dive suit! This is an excellent adventure movie that's great for the whole family! Highly recommended!
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7/10
Cool adventure film for kids
pleiades1016 August 2000
Let me start by saying it has been about 8 or 9 years since I last saw the Quest, but I still remember it fondly.

Henry Thomas, soon after his performance as "Elliot" in E.T., finds himself living with relatives in Australia after his parents pass on. He soon begins to investigate a local legend called the "Dahnk-a-gin" (or something like that...), a fierce loch-ness-monster style beast living in an old quarry that has been flooded.

As a child, I was always very inquisitive and imaginative, and loved to explore old buildings and creepy places, so this movie appealed to me greatly. The area surrounding the flooded quarry is littered with scrap metal, beat up shacks, and a cool broken down 50's car that just call to the exploring spirit.

During some scenes, Henry rides the railroad using a modified bicycle that could lock onto the railroad tracks... start pedaling, and off you go! I always wanted one of those...

Anyway, check out the Quest, and see if it doesn't sweep you up in it's imaginative spell!
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Very creepy!
Paul Emmons5 August 2001
Cody Walpole (Henry Thomas) is a scientific, mechanically-minded, and ruggedly individualistic 14-year-old loner. He is also brave to the point of foolhardy, quite the daredevil-- except that he doesn't let anyone tell him what to do. Extremely inner-directed, what he dares and endures are come out of a quiet but fierce determination of his own prompting.

He stumbles upon a seemingly haunted, God-forsaken spot in the Australian wilderness, a long-abandoned mine or quarry flooded with filthy brown water. He knows of an old hermit who spends his vacations living alone in the area. After seeing none-too-recent evidence of this man's presence, he calls out and searches for him and eventually finds his skeleton. It looks as though the man was literally scared to death. This place is not on any map and, after some further investigation, he hears that the local aborigines shun the spot as the legendary lair of a monster living in the murky pool, a being so horrible that the mere sight of it kills. The place seems to exude bad luck and gives everyone the creeps who goes near it.

Cody believes that there must be a rational explanation for this phenomenon and becomes obsessed with the site and discovering the true nature of the creature in the water. This mission requires him to defy and disobey everyone in the local village, even his guardian, another individual so laconic and independent as to be a soul mate, who usually lets this resourceful boy do whatever he wants. Cody's steps in solving the mystery are breathtakingly lonely and dangerous.

As much as I admire individualism and independence, it is difficult for me to sympathize with courage carried to such an extreme for no compelling reason. Although others have recommended this film for children, I can't agree. It is the stuff of which nightmares are made-- I think it could even give me some. And Cody's reckless behavior, despite his admirable traits, makes him something of an anti-hero.

There is no denying, however, that the filmmakers have done a superb job with atmosphere and have captured some gorgeous wilderness scenery. I can understand this being among someone's favorite films. It is certainly different.
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10/10
Welcome in dreamtime...
I was quite young when I first saw THE QUEST (also known as FROG DREAMING,it's original Australian title). I can remember that day and how I felt,no other Film had ever done such an effect on me before that. Now I'm 21 and after all those years I came here to write a review about a Film which is going to remain my favourite one forever,and for many reasons,the most special to me.

Indeed FROG DREAMING is a very special Film,I would even say that it is unique. The screenplay was written by Everett DeROCHE,a brilliant scriptwriter full of talent and imagination,who did a lot for the Australian Film industry. Director Brian Trenchard-smith managed perfectly to create an eerie climate along with Production designer Jon Dowding (who also did the Mad Max Films). There is a wonderful photography and Brian May,the famous Australian composer,did an amazing music score,exceptionally effective in mood-setting,using Aboriginal instruments such as sticks,didjeridoo and bullroarer.

FROG DREAMING is a Film about a young boy,Cody (Henry Thomas)and the mystery of an Aboriginal dreamtime myth. A story about how myths are created and where is the truth or is there a truth , it is also about how some people just do not want to question themselves,fearing that the answer might be followed by even more questions.

No,FROG DREAMING is not the most famous Film in the world,no it is not an Hollywood highly commercial movie made with an incredible budget,but does it mean that this is not a great Film ? Maybe a little-known Australian production based on a great and imaginative screenplay has got more interest than a blockbuster only based on special F/X ,it's up to you to decide. I think that everybody should enjoy this Film,of course someone only interested in slasher movies full of blood would,probably,not like it. But I think that if you can watch it with Cody's eyes,if you have imagination,if you can dream and if you are still capable of questioning yourself,you will undoubtedly love FROG DREAMING.

There are Films that you can't remember the day after you watched them,but sometimes there is a Film which is different,a Film which gives you something more than any other and which becomes a part of your own life. To me,FROG DREAMING is that Film and I am deeply convinced that it is a GREAT FILM.

The day I saw FROG DREAMING my soul went at "Donkegin's Hole" and it never came back.

May I remain there forever...in dreamtime
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10/10
Critics really hate this film.
Zacha18 August 2000
It's been a very long time since I saw this film. It was called "Frog Dreaming" in Australia. It has a simple, slow rhythm, like in "The Year my Voice Broke". It's not "ET" and its not "Close Encounters", and that's probably what bothers people who pick it up at the video store. Critics hated this film at when it came out at the cinema. I loved it.
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9/10
If you saw this as a child... and didn't like it, you probably have no soul!
rich_percival18 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I have not seen this in 15 years but it has stayed with me enough to look it up here, (more than you can say for most films aimed at kids.) At the time I think we did watch it hoping it would be another 'Goonies.' What we found was different and slower but still fantastic at inspiring the imagination. Frankly if you found it confusing or overly wordy then you were either very young or pretty dumb. The pragmatic lead kid is sure there must be a rational explanation to an Aboriginal story about a spooky lake. He does indeed discover that the 'donkegine' is really just a donkey engine left at the bottom of the lake (maybe the writer was watching Star Trek the motion picture or something) but he learns about an alternate and interesting culture as well as I suppose grasping that there isn't an answer to everything out there. It's a charming 'coming of age' story that I'd like to see again.
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Not a Bad Flick
ScottG745 July 2001
I have not seen this movie in over 10 years, but it must have been good because I still remember it. I saw it when I was 12 and it seemed really cool at the time. The plot didn't seem boring to me, kids looking for a lochness-type monster. Had a lot of dialogue, but good stuff. I remember thinking the young girl in it was so cute. That is the whole reason I looked this movie up, to see what her name was (Rachel Friend). Unfortunately, she never did much else. Anyway, I think pre-teen and young teens would still like this movie.
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10/10
The best movie of my childhood
Scott15 July 2002
I first saw this movie when i was 3 or 4, I'm 18 now, but i can still remember the first time i rented it with my mom and sister. We had picked it up simply by just looking at the box cover, it looked like a movie i might like, or so my mom thought. Back then, i thought it was just a plain old "cool" movie, i looked up to Cody's character in fact, but now when i look back, i find this to be one of the more interesting ideas in movie history, to me at least. See the movie and you'll see what i mean. ****
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10/10
The Quest
mysticalruby9 November 2006
I have to say that growing up and watching movies like this has made me who i am i'm a dreamer and i'm all for finding how if it's true or if it's all made up and this movie has it all from not wanting to list to his dad to finding a truly fun thing to do with your day's and time...

i'd say this movie was truly great of the best and i have been LOOKING for years for this movie i growing up watch more movies then anything and this one always stuck in my head only i forgot the name and we are now in the age of DVD's and very little VHS's and you can't find anything.... on VHS's anymore..... I truly hope this movie comes out on DVD for it's movie i want all my kids and Gran kids and so on...... to watch for it's truly a family fun movie.
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7/10
Decent tale of adventure, if nothing too extraordinary
Atreyu_II3 July 2010
'The Quest' is how this Australian production is named in the USA. In Australia it is titled 'Frog Dreaming'. In the UK it was ridiculously called 'The Go-Kids'. For me, the most appropriate title is 'Frog Dreaming' (it's the one which identifies most with it) but 'The Quest' also suits it well.

The star of this movie is Henry Thomas. There's no denying that he was much more than just "Elliott". He was a very capable actor and one of the few child actors who grew up without trashing his life and that is one thing that I admire on him.

Henry Thomas is Cody, a very determined boy with a strong will for adventure. So determined and adventurous that he doesn't hesitate to take great risks to find the mystery of the monster-like thing on a dangerous and creepy pond, even if that implies disobeying orders or advices.

While the movie is predictable, it is entertaining and has a great deal of adventure. Henry Thomas, once again, offers a great performance (here as an adolescent and with an already changed voice).

What enchanted me the most was the beauty of the exotic Australian scenario, all natural settings and a reminder of the healthy habits and adventures kids had back in the good old days, a completely different reality from today's deplorable habits and ideas of "fun".

This is much more of an adventure movie but it also has some dark and sinister moments, which are creepier for being at night.
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8/10
Great Film For Younger Kids & Old
ekestler29 June 2008
The story concerns an American boy named Cody who now lives in Australia with his guardian Gaza. He sets out with two of his friends to explore a lake that is said to inhabit a mysterious creature known as 'Donkegen'.

The opening scene is really well done. The film score is fantastic and the acting gives this film a very realistic feel.

Even though it's a kids film, it never plays down to a lower intelligence and understands that a kids film doesn't have to use slang in order to reach it's target audience.

I honestly believe in the age of too many video games and TV, this is a great film for young or old. Better to show to young ones in the hopes they understand you can have so much fun by just exploring and creating/building things. Perhaps when they are older they will look back at this film and realize one of it's overall messages.

Let's hope for a proper DVD release soon.
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7/10
An Entertaining Family Adventure
Muldwych21 September 2007
'Frog Dreaming' is a fun, light-hearted Australian kid's film about a boy named Cody who investigates the disappearance of a friend who was last seen near an unmapped pond deep in the Australian bush. His search for the truth soon brings him into the world of Aboriginal mythology. Is there something supernatural going on at the pond, or is there a simpler explanation?

While strictly low-budget, 'Frog Dreaming' compensates by being filmed in the depths of the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, which is almost a character in itself, mysterious and ancient. This also gives the film a distinctly Australian flavour, accentuated by the romanticised image of a small-town community where everyone knows and looks out for each other, and relations with the European and native community (who live entirely separately) are sanguine. The cynicism of the modern world is far distant, and every character is imbued with an untouched innocence. The Americanisation of the culture is nonexistent, and many a line of dialogue is punctuated by an Antipodean colloquialism. The acting can at times be a tad theatrical as a consequence, but everyone turns in a competent performance, and the target audience won't even notice.

In any case, this rose-tinting hardly matters. This is an adventure film first and foremost, full of warmth and mystery that should keep children solidly entertained. The thrills are never gratuitous, and suspense is built up at a good pace, to a satisfying conclusion. This non-sensationalist down-to-earth approach should ensure enjoyment from adult viewers as well. I had the pleasure of enjoying 'Frog Dreaming' as a child, again as an adult, and can recommend it to both parties.
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7/10
A dream you haven't had before
ironstream122 May 2012
I got an IMDb account specifically to review this movie; if that tells you anything. Before the internet existed, and then before torrents become viable, I had no luck finding it after watching it once as a rental; the other "The Quest" kept getting in my way. I spent a lot of time searching for a copy of this. It's difficult to explain the movie to people who aren't familiar with it, and the premise isn't so hot on paper. Objectively, it's not an AAA title, but it just might be my favorite film. There is a mythic quality to it; some primeval fascination - from the standpoint of an evolutionary biologist, I would say that there was good reason for our ancestors to pay a lot of attention to strange bubbles and ripples in the water, and perhaps for that reason, the mystery at the heart of this movie is eerie and compelling. Dreamlike is the best word for this movie - it doesn't make a great deal of sense, but it is invested with some cryptic and deeply felt meaning; like a strange recurring dream.

Structurally it really is similar to both E.T., the Goonies and in a way Stand By Me; it has a little bit of star wars to it in terms of feel and aesthetic. The setting, the music, and the strange little premise take it away from those more familiar reference points and into a very strange place.
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8/10
One of the best children's films ever
Leofwine_draca17 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
FROG DREAMING is one of those films that always seemed to be showing on TV in the UK in the 1980s. I remember in the early days of the Internet, everybody ALWAYS used to ask the question, what's that movie with the mechanism under the pond that people think is a monster? I was one of them and it took me many years to figure out the movie and then track it down in order to finally watch it. I'm glad I made the effort, because this is a highly decent children's adventure film. It's certainly ahead of THE GOONIES in terms of quality and it's the kind of film that the recently-made SUPER 8 could only dream of being. The reason FROG DREAMING is so good? It's full of character. Australian films don't get more Australian-feeling than this. The characters are quirky and interesting, and the film is full of natural humour that never feels forced or out of place.

FROG DREAMING also has the benefit of being directed by the one and only Brian Trenchard-Smith, one of my favourite B-movie directors who always knows how to make entertaining produce on limited budgets. The resultant film is snappy, fast-paced, and packed with mysticism, atmosphere, and spooky scares. Okay, so the central conceit of the Aboriginal monster is augmented via a rather obvious twist which will be guessable soon after starting viewing, but that doesn't stop the story being eerie and engaging. I love movies that engage with local folklore like this. Henry Thomas, child star of E.T., is a delight as the imported American lead and future NEIGHBOURS actress Rachel Friend (she played Bronwen) is suitably fitting as the would-be love interest. I particularly enjoyed Tony Barry's heartfelt turn as the father figure.
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5/10
Dance with the Devil... SOME SPOILERS
Brian McAleer10 January 2016
Warning: Spoilers
After "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" was a massive hit in 1982, most of its cast seemed to disappear from screens, save for Drew Barrymore who would go on to make some racy teen flicks and a string of personal problems before cleaning herself up. But E.T.'s main star, young Henry Thomas, would be offered the opportunity to play the leading role in a small Aussie film called Frog Dreaming. Thomas was the main draw card of the film, coming off the massive success of E.T and after arriving in remote Victorian towns such as Woods Point and various parts of Healesville and the Mornington-Peninsula, he must have been the superstar of the shoot, playing along side a string of amateur Aussie actors. The kid proved he could act in E.T., playing the passionate and juvenile Eliot, but his brilliant performance can also be attributed to the directing duties of one Mr. Steven Spielberg. He does reasonably well in Frog Dreaming, but the amateur feel and look of the film can distract from the fact that his character Cody, is well thought out and compelling, but the young actor wasn't in the hands of an actor's director. Now onto the story…

The films opens looking out onto the deep, murky waters of an uncharted lake, where something sinister awaits. First, bubbles start to appear on the surface, slow and small to begin with, then stronger and louder. As the surface of water changes, a dark, grotesque shape materialises, rising above the surface to take whatever so happens to be floating on the surface. An absent minded man in a small fishing boat cannot escape the power of the beast coming from beneath him.

Young Thomas plays Cody Walpole. Moving to Australia from the United States after his parents died, Cody lives in a small country town where he spends his time inventing things and breaking as many rules as he can to see those inventions realised. We meet him as he's about to embark on one of these elaborate stunts, where he's fitted out his BMX with an engine and wheels that can attach it to the nearby rail tracks. Whizzing along the tracks, with no regard for whether or not a train could come along and flatten him at any second, the whole town turns out to watch Cody. He completes his silly stunt without a scratch, but not without getting a telling off from the local chief of police.

On one of his local nature hikes through Devil's Knob National Park with two girls in tow, Cody just so happens to stumble upon the previously mentioned lake. It is an eerie place in every sense of the word, but also strangely beautiful. Brown muddy water is towered over by tall yellow stone cliffs and rugged trees that could only be as old as the land itself. Always with a sense of adventure, Cody ventures to a cliff top and jumps into the water. Fun and excitement soon turn into fear, as there is clearly a presence lurking not just in the water, but all around the lake itself. A rusty old windmill starts to spin, with no breath of a wind to help it, and objects are seamlessly pulled towards the centre of the lake. Cody and the girls get away, but as any fourteen year would, Cody must get to the bottom of the truth of what he saw, even if that means venturing into the bottom of the lake itself.

He asks around the local town, but no one seems to know this waterhole exists, as it doesn't show up on any maps. Turning to some of the local Indigenous peoples, Cody hears about the truth behind the mysterious lake. He is told there is something down there, and it's known to the Aboriginal locals as "Donkegin". Whatever, or whoever, enters its territory will not live to tell the tale. However, the fearless and enterprising Cody isn't phased by this and will discover the truth of the legend of Frog Dreaming, whatever it takes. But before he can, he will first have to Dance with the Devil himself.

Like the mystery of the Loch Ness monster, playing with the question of "Is it there, or is it not there?" Frog Dreaming toys with this idea as well, and has a lot of fun with. The director builds up a great sense of atmosphere throughout the film, that is both tense, mysterious and foreboding. Cody is probably a little too curious and daring for his own good, and even goes as far as to rig himself an underwater breathing apparatus out of a fishbowl and oxygen in barrels he creates from pressuring water – seriously, this kid is smart and can make anything out of just about anything. Again, another appealing aspect of this film to me as a kid. Remember the times in your own backyard when you thought how cool it would be just to invent something? Or wondering if you could sneak into that old junkyard, pick out a few parts and build something cool? I might have attempted that as kind at some point, nothing to rival the technical skills of young Cody.

Although small in scale and amateur in its production, Frog Dreaming is still effective in it's stronger parts and continues to hold up today almost thirty years later as a great family film. It pays respect to the legends and ideas it toys with, and although not everything is as it seems in the lake as Cody discovers, there is surely a spirit there of some kind; connected to the Dreamtime, which the Aboriginal people's speak of and protect, with only a select special few, including Cody, coming to know the real truth of Frog Dreaming.
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2/10
stupid and pointless
mca393021 February 2006
Let me start by saying that I liked E.T. I thought Henry Thomas was great in that film. That being said, The Quest was a lame attempt to cash in on Thomas' fading stardom. The story is, a kid named Cody goes on an adventure with his girlfriend, grownups tell him no, he find some great treasure, and everyone is happy in the end. I rented this movie when I was nine and I couldn't even finish it. Even then I thought the movie was bad and I still do. If you happen to come across this in a Blockbuster, keep walking by. You won't be pleasantly surprised. I guess I'll give it two stars, since Henry Thomas is in it, and I feel sorry for him that he took this role.
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Extremely boring!
Blaze-1721 May 2000
This is one of the most boring movies I have ever seen! I was interested in it when I first rented it, but when I watched it, I almost fell asleep! It's very confusing and it didn't get me very interested. Maybe a couple of parts got me a little interested, but that's all. Mainly, I thought this movie was a total waste of time. Rent it if you want, but I'm warning you, you might regret it...
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3/10
Really Bad (slight spoilers)
ColeSear22 July 2002
Warning: Spoilers
It must take some kind of odd, abnormally brutal 'talent' to take a 90 minute film and make it seem at least an hour longer. I don't mind a slow-paced film at all but in most of them things happened. Almost nothing happens in this movie at all. Henry Thomas, the star, doesn't appear for the first 10 minutes of the film. The effects or lack thereof are awful, it's almost a joke and then in nearly MST3K style they incorporate their low-budget into the story making you wonder what the 'monster' really was. Ultimately, this film is a testament to how a cool one sheet can suck you in for a terrifying ride.
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