It’s been a long time since Australia was the focus of an animated feature film, but as Back to The Outback is welcomed into the world, it’s clear that it’s been worth the wait.
First announced just over a year ago, Back to The Outback is a directorial joint venture between Clare Knight and Harry Cripps, with Cripps taking on writing duties based upon a story penned by himself and Gregory Lessans. Equal parts heart-warming and adventurous, Back to The Outback is the sort of story designed for both adults, kids, and kids at heart, with its comedy, music, and message of environmentalism shining through and uniting audiences of all ages.
An animated adventure that sees its main characters trek across the sunburnt horizons of Australia, the film is based around a “ragtag group of Australia’s deadliest creatures” who, after growing tired of being locked in a reptile house where humans gawk at them like they’re monsters, hatch an escape plan which sees them making a break for it and heading – you guessed it – Back to The Outback.
Led by kind-hearted taipan Maddie (voiced by Isla Fisher), the group features the likes of self-assured Thorny Devil Zoe (Miranda Tapsell), lovelorn funnel web spider Frank (Guy Pearce), and sensitive scorpion Nigel (Angus Imrie).
As they plot progresses though, the heroes are joined by an all-star cast, including Tim Minchin as the cute but obnoxious koala Pretty Boy, Eric Bana as the chase-giving zookeeper Chaz, in addition to the voice talents of other local and international luminaries such as Celeste Barber, Wayne Knight, Jacki Weaver, and Rolling Stone Australia cover artist, Keith Urban.
At its heart though, the story’s high-stakes plot-line and action-packed sequences all go towards illustrating the important moral at the centre of its creation; proving just because something’s different, doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful.
Watch the official trailer for Back to the Outback
“I have always been touched by stories of hidden beauty,” explains director Clare Knight. “Maddie is both uniquely beauty and beast, and to get to present that message in comedy is the icing on the cake.”
“Growing up in Australia, I spent a lot of time in the Blue Mountains which has many different types of snakes and spiders,” adds writer/director Harry Cripps, “and I always preferred them to the cute cuddly animals, so it’s such a treat to make a film where the heroes are these poisonous but beautiful little creatures.
“This film is a love letter to Australia’s incredibly diverse and unique wildlife.”
Meanwhile, in addition to his role as Pretty Boy, beloved all-rounder Tim Minchin complements the production of Back to The Outback by contributing a number of original songs to its soundtrack. Having previously won a Helpmann Award and been nominated for a Tony Award for his work on Matilda the Musical, Minchin’s presence helps take the film to another level thanks to his innate command over the worlds of music and lyrics.
Officially in cinemas now, Back to The Outback stands tall as not only one of the finest Australian films in recent times, but one of the most heart-warming family films of the current era. With an all-star cast, a stellar soundtrack, and both a plot and message that aims to entertain as much as it does educate, it’s hard to look past Back to The Outback as a must-see film this summer.
With theatres finally open again following the wake of mass lockdowns across the country, now is the time to embark upon a bit of well-earned escapism by catching Back to The Outback on the big screen, with tickets to all sessions available now.