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The real macaw

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In 1870, a macaw parrot is captured by a pirate in the Amazon jungle and taken aboard his ship, along with priceless stolen temple treasure. After a fallen lamp sets the ship afire the ship explodes and the pirate, bird and treasure are set adrift somewhere in the South Pacific. The parrot watches as the wounded pirate buries the treasure on a deserted isle, then dies beside it...

It is 1997 in Sydney and the same parrot, Mac, is now 149 years old and still raising merry hell! he lives with his old buddy, the loveable Grandpa (Jason Robards), a collector of exotic birds. His 15-year-old grandson, Sam (Jamie Croft), also dotes on Grandpa, but their fun-filled world is shattered when Sam's father (Joe Petruzzi) discovers Grandpa is in serious debt and organises to sell his lifetime home and move him into a pet-free retirement centre.

The prospect of being separated from Grandpa is too much for Mac, who reveals to a speechless Sam something he has kept from all but Grandpa - he can talk! Really talk! What's more, he knows where a heap of treasure is buried! so Sam and the eccentric Mac decide to run away on a treasure hunt...

Persons of interest

  • Jamie Croft .... Sam Girdis
  • Deborra-Lee Furness .... Beth Girdis
  • Joe Petruzzi .... Rick Girdis
  • John Waters .... Dr Lance Hagen
  • Jason Robards .... Grandpa Ben Girdis
  • Gerry Connolly .... Lou Rickets
  • Robert Coleby .... Mr St. John
  • Petra Jared .... Kathy Girdis
  • Nathan Kotzur .... Scarlatta
  • Penny Everingham .... Nurse Gimlet
  • Murray Shoring .... Dr Thompson
  • John Goodman .... Voice of Mac
  • Bruce Hancock .... Screenwriter
  • Matthew Perry .... Screenwriter
  • Mario Andreacchio .... Director

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

The real macaw is a funny, entertaining, educational family film that's out just in time for the school hols.

Now, I know the good old talking animal and kid flick has been well and truly done to death, but The real macaw is worth the effort and investment of seeing. It balances the tried-and-true kid-flick formula with some pretty funny 90s stuff, like stand-up comedy, cultural sensitivity and environmental protection.

Tango, the lead parrot (and his stunt doubles Harpo, Groucho and Chico), get all the best lines, of course, and they look just fabulous. They also do some great acting (ever seen the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch?) Jamie carries the weight of the entire film on his shoulders with ease: he's already appeared in a number of quality films, and it shows. Jason was in it to give the film international exposure, but he does the job well. The rest of the main cast are good, too, but I found it a tad annoying to find some of the supporting cast with strong Aussie accents when they're supposed to be somewhere in South East Asia. Oh, well.

This is an easy film to watch, and you and your kids will enjoy watching it (the ankle biters at the preview certainly did).

Security censorship classification


Surveillance time

92 minutes (1:32 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: Undated 1998
Disc: 7 July 2010

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