FLY AWAY HOME: SPECIAL EDITION
Review by Alex Haberstroh
Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany, Terry Kinney
Director: Carroll Ballard
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese)
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai
Studio: Columbia Tri-Star
Features: See Review
Length: 107 minutes
Release Date: August 7, 2001
When Fly Away
Home debuted in theaters, I intentionally avoided it.
The premise sounded nothing short of sugary-coated family fare that would
only make me contemplate beating myself to death with the arm of the movie seat.
The story centers
on fourteen-year-old Amy Alden (Paquin), who in the first five minutes of the
story suffers through a violent car crash when her mother somehow loses control
of their car, leaving her mother dead and Amy mentally/physically traumatized.
When her estranged father Tom (Daniels) shows up in New Zealand shortly
thereafter to take Amy back to his home in Canada, she resists, as she has not
seen him in ten years, and feels she doesn’t need him any more.
What results is a
series of awkward attempts by Tom to bond with Amy, yet it is not until she
discovers some abandoned goose eggs, left by the carnage of the local
developers’ bulldozers, that he is finally able to connect with her.
Raising the geese as their surrogate mother, Amy is able to find new
strength and love that the fatal accident had almost burned out.
this is where the actual point of the story comes), as the Canadian geese grow
older, they have an instinct to fly south before winter hits.
But since geese, just like most mammals, learn much of what they need to
know from the previous generation, Amy is ill-equipped to teach them about
flight and migration paths. Thus,
if the geese’s wings aren’t clipped they could fly into power lines, fences,
or be turned into a tasty meal…mmmmm.
Not wanting to clip
their wings, Tom, who has quite the talent for invention and a love of flying,
decides that he can get the geese, who follow Amy everywhere, to follow them in
a gyrocopter down to the coast of southern America.
As I mentioned in
the beginning, this was something I thought would be akin to putting my head in
a meat grinder. Knowing that Canada
geese are typically highly territorial, cantankerous birds, I thought it would
be hard to shed a tear over them. Going
in with low expectations, though, I was quite surprised.
The acting is quite good, particularly the performances of Daniels and
Paquin, who seem to bring life and honesty to a story that could have otherwise
drowned in sappiness. Instead, the film seems like an honest feel-good movie rather
than a cheap one, which tries to manipulate our feelings through music cues.
This one is a great
title to get for, or to watch with, your kids.
Check it out!
Columbia once again proves why they are one of the premier
DVD companies. This is an
eye-opening anamorphic transfer that is bright and crisp.
Especially impressive were the close up shots of the geese that were so
clear, I could even distinguish their pupils.
The audio is
another pleasing treat as well. Not
only has Columbia included a vibrant Dolby Digital 5.1 track, but also Dolby
surround tracks in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
In terms of
performance, the 5.1 track is a winner across the board.
The opening music comes across well as both smooth and haunting.
Furthermore, there are some moments where the subwoofer performs at
surprisingly low levels, providing the crunching bass of construction equipment.
Thankfully, even with the occasional loud moments of music and sound
effects, the dialogue isn’t lost in the mix; instead Columbia has offered a
strong track that is quite active.
Next up the
approximately fifty-minute documentary “The Ultra Geese,” focuses on the
work done by real life preservationists William Lishman and Joseph Duff.
Although it’s sometimes a bit long, this is still a very informative
documentary about imprinting done with birds like geese, swans, and cranes.
After that are two
featurettes. The first,
“Operation Migration: Birds of a Feather,” discusses imprinting and other
things mentioned in “The Ultra Geese,” although they do add a few points
here and there, so it’s worth checking out for those highly interested. The second included featurette is “Leading the Flock: The
Making of Fly Away Home”. I
generally dislike HBO featurettes, as they are usually just promos for the film,
making them worthless once you’ve already seen it.
In this case, the featurette isn’t painful, but isn’t exceptional
Rounding out the
package are trailers for the film and other children’s fare and filmographies.
All in all, this is a nice package that should please both fans and