Release Date: November 22nd, 2006 (Village East Cinemas) by Strand Releasing.
The Cast: Vince Colosimo, Jacqueline McKenzie, Christian Byers, Sapphire Boyce, Peter Callan, Denise Roberts.
Directed by Peter Cattaneo.
BASIC PREMISE: Kellyanne (Boyvee), a young girl, causes a stir in her Australian hometown when her imaginary friends, Pobby and Dingan, disappear.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Kellyanne lives with her family in an opal-mining community in the Australian Outback. As unordinary as she seems with her two imaginary friends, Opal Dream is rather ordinary and by-the-numbers. Her mother, Annie (McKenzie), plays along with her imagination by setting their dinner table with two extra plates along with lollipops which they like to eat. Rex (Colosimo), her father, and her brother Ashmol (Byers) don’t quite like her abnormal behavior. Rex brings her imaginary friends to a mine, accidentally leaves them there, and, upon Kellyanne’s request, he searches for them in the mine only to get arrested for trespassing on somebody else’s mine. Meanwhile, Kellyanne becomes physically ill during this conflict. He must convince the town that he trespassed simply to help Kellyanne’s unique condition. Some scenes, especially those surrounding the Rex’s trial, feel contrived and a bit corny. More humor would have helped to enliven things up a bit as well. Christian Byers gives a convincing performance as Ashmol, but, given the dull script, Sapphire Boyce doesn’t have enough of opportunities to shine as Kellyanne. More character development seems necessary. If only co-writer/director Peter Cattaneo had as much imagination as Kellyanne does. It’s alright that he never shows the audience exactly what Kellyanne sees, but he could have at least given her imaginary friends more descriptive details other than that they like lollipops and make her happy.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The clichéd yet powerful message that resonates through Opal Dream is the importance of having an imagination during childhood and not being afraid to use it, even if it seems outlandish. Inevitably, everyone, now matter how old, has to believe in something intangible throughout their life—i.e. love, kindness and hope. Kellyanne doesn’t suffer from seeing her imaginary friends but rather from not seeing them. In sweet, moving and uplifting scenes, her family show their love and care by feeding her powerful imagination which gives her plenty of happiness. What’ll happen with her imagination when she becomes a teenager is a whole other story—perhaps she’ll write a book or become a painter.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: None, as long as you suspend your disbelief.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
IN A NUTSHELL: Sweet, moving and uplifting with an occasionally corny and contrived plot.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "O" Menu