Story

Oddball is based on the true story of Alan ‘Swampy’ Marsh (Shane Jacobson), an eccentric chicken farmer from Warrnambool in Victoria who struggled to protect a penguin colony on Middle Island.

When the movie begins, the colony is under threat from foxes, which have learned how to swim to the island. The foxes have been killing the penguins, and the colony is reduced to only 10 penguins.

Swampy owns an Italian sheepdog, or maremma, called Oddball. Oddball is supposed to guard Swampy’s chickens from foxes, but he isn’t very good at that. He turns out to be very good at guarding penguins, however. Swampy’s plan to have Oddball guard the penguins on Middle Island is supported by Swampy’s daughter Emily (Sarah Snook), a wildlife officer for the penguin sanctuary, and his granddaughter Olivia (Coco Jack Gillies). Emily is trying to juggle her concern for the penguins, her role as a single mother, and a new relationship that could take her away from Australia.

Swampy and his family overcome many obstacles to protect the small penguins and save the colony.

Themes

Wildlife extinction and protection; family and relationships

Violence

Oddball has some limited violence and some accidental harm. For example:

  • Oddball occasionally causes trouble in Warrnambool, running into things accidentally. There is an explosion when a large screen falls to the ground because of Oddball’s actions.
  • Foxes have been killing penguins on Middle Island – no graphic images are shown, however.
  • Oddball is captured by the authorities, and there are car chases when Swampy tries to get him back. No-one is hurt.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
Children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes described above.

From 5-8
Younger children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes described above.

From 8-13
Nothing of concern

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Emily is having a new relationship with a man. It is a romantic relationship, but no sexual content is shown or discussed.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

There is no coarse language in Oddball, but there are some slightly crude jokes. For example, Oddball breaks wind in the car, and Swampy and Olivia say how terrible the smell is.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Oddball is an entertaining and inspiring movie based on a true story. Audiences of all ages, especially people aged over eight years, are likely to enjoy this movie.

The movie follows Swampy as he defies the odds and teaches Oddball how to protect a small colony of penguins. No-one in the community has faith in Swampy or Oddball, so Swampy must go it alone. The movie highlights his strength and determination, his unflinching belief in Oddball, and his dog’s intelligence. It also demonstrates the value of unconditional family support and love.

We recommend parental guidance for children under six years because there are some scenes of accidental harm, including when the dog ranger catches Oddball. Also, some children might be concerned about the idea of penguins being killed.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • being willing to take risks and sacrifice things to make a positive change in the world
  • sticking by your family and friends.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:

  • wildlife extinction and conservation
  • local politics and community relationships.