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Dr Plonk - Nigel Martin, Paul Blackwell, Magda Szubanski, Rolf de Heer

Threat advisory: Guarded - General risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

A comedy about the end of the world.

It is 1907... Dr Plonk (Nigel Martin), scientist, inventor, calculates that the world will end in 101 years, unless immediate action is taken. The Prime Minister (Mike Rann) wants proof beyond sheets of impenetrable calculations, so using his faithful servant Paulus (Paul Blackwell) as guinea pig, Dr Plonk invents a time machine in order to be able bring proof back from the future.

Calibration problems lead to an incident ten thousand years ago, but soon the intrepid adventurers manage their way a hundred years forward, to the year 2007. As evidence mounts that Plonk's theory is in fact correct, he returns and convinces the Prime Minister to accompany him one hundred years on, to see for himself what a bizarre place the world has become. But in a fateful meeting with the incumbent Prime Minister of a century later, the future of the world is sealed.

Theatrical propaganda posters

Dr Plonk theatrical one sheet image

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film Australia comedy silent science fiction time travel end of the world future inventor mathematics

Persons of interest

  • Magda Szubanski .... Mrs Plonk
  • Quentin Kenihan .... Trolley Man
  • James Colmer .... Paramedic
  • Nigel Martin .... Dr Plonk
  • Mike Rann .... The Prime Minister
  • Paul Blackwell .... Paulus
  • Jeff Lang .... Police Man #1
  • Reg the Dog .... Tiberius
  • Rolf de Heer .... Screenwriter
  • Rolf de Heer .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The end of the world it might be but the be-all and end-all of cinema it is not. Dr Plonk is a homage to old-time filmmaking but it has a half-hearted feel. It's as if the cast hasn't quite got the feel of being Federation performers; they're turn-of-the-century actors but they're in the 21st century rather than the 20th. Also, this film is something of a one trick pony. Plonk (and Paulus) travel to and back from the future more times than Michael J Fox. There are plenty of fish out of water gags to be had but a steady diet of mullet is too much for anyone. And it's way too long: shaving off 12 minutes would do wonders for the buttocks.

While I'm at it, I was surprised to find that more wasn't made of Nigel "Mr Spin" Martin's physical comedy skills. It's a bit like casting Dame Joan Sutherland in a movie and not letting her sing.

All that said, Dr Plonk is often funny and it's good to see a filmmaker trying something different.

The Australia, comedy movie Dr Plonk is directed by Rolf de Heer and stars Nigel Martin, Paul Blackwell, Magda Szubanski.

Media intelligence (DVD)

  • Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Languages: Silent
  • Picture: Widescreen
  • Special features:
    • Australian Teachers of Media study guide
    • Featurettes:
      • The making of Dr Plonk
      • Juggling Dr Plonk
      • The ball-crazy dog
      • The hand-cranked camera
      • The Dr Plonk score
    • Trailers: Theatrical

Government security censorship classification


Surveillance time

86 minutes (1:26 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 30 August 2007
DVD rental: 12 March 2008
DVD retail: 12 March 2008

Cinema surveillance images

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