American boy, Cody, whose parents have died, lives in Australia with his guardian, Gaza. Cody is very imaginative, inventive, and inquisitive. He comes across some strange events happening in Devil's Knob national park associated with an aboriginal myth about "frog dreamings". Cody tries to investigate...Written by
The clown head found by Cody underwater is from a sideshow attraction, known in Australia as 'Laughing Clowns'. See more »
When Cody is lifted up by the excavator, his jumper is surprisingly clean (note the bright white central panel and collar) for someone who has been in dirty water for several hours. See more »
[concerning donkegin hole]
There's only one thing we can do. We can get the air force up here with a couple of them Excocet missiles... nuke the shit outta the entire area... give those friggin' frogs something to dream about.
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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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