Sit in the cinema for 90 minutes and luxuriate in the wondrous, glorious, sun drenched images of the Australian outback as Red Dog, True Blue weaves its woof magic around you.

The self-referential intro will leave no doubt as to the origin of this prequel.  It’s cute but a bit over fussy for me, and I would have edited around it, however as a piece of marketing, and scene setting I get it.  (I’m guessing if this does well, and I hope it does, a re-release of the original film, as the sequel will be in the offing).

But before long we are into the lovely tale of Blue, the red cattle dog (and in case the Americans don’t understand the Aussie way of calling everything the opposite of what it is, he gets his name because he’s covered in blue mud when he was a puppy), and how he became the dog that he is (portrayed in the original film, Red Dog).

This story, unlike the original, draws its heart strings from the relationship between a misplaced boy and his dog.  It’s a boy’s own adventure.

Displaced boy meets displaced dog, dog comforts boy, boy and dog bond over shenanigans, much older girl arrives, boy falls in love, boy fights for girl – you know the drill.  It’s familiar territory but told in a delightful way that you forgive it totally.

And it weaves a background of Aboriginal mythology into the story which gives it extra appeal.  The film-makers consulted with Indigenous communities through the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation and the Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation.

Supported by Screen Australia and the mining industry, Directed by Kriv Stenders  and written by Daniel Taplitz it’s not as good as the original but it is a great family film that’s worth your support.  And it’s got a rollicking good soundtrack to boot.

Finally, I have to mention the Cinematography by Geoffrey Hall.  Ok, so the colour pallet is a little over done, but in this Instagram age that can be forgiven, and the backdrop of the Pilbara region of Australia is captured magnificently without being over blown.

In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about the film is that there were only 12 people in the audience when an American film released on the same day was packed.  Come on mates, let’s support our local film industry when it produces good films like this one.

A solid 8/10.

Review by Peter Spann