Fly Away Home (1996)

Though *I* was ready to gag, the rest of the kids in the audience 
entirely enjoyed this well-plotted and superbly shot story of a 
young girl (Anna Paquin, getting considerably more screen time than 
she did in JANE EYRE) who rescues, raises, and redirects a gaggle 
of geese, by helping them migrate from a farm in Ontario to the 
pre-hurricane battered coast of North Carolina.  The latter is 
accomplished through the use of an ultralight aircraft that nobody 
thinks to name the Spruce Goose II.  First in flight is the girl's 
estranged, eccentric father, played by a shaggy Jeff Daniels.  His 
character is all at once an inventor, sculptor, and amateur aviator 
whose most remarkable feat is teaching a thirteen-year old to fly a 
homebuilt aircraft after a rather, ah, "gravity intensive" design 

Beyond the potentially scary opener-- featuring a fatal car wreck 
that, like last week's BOGUS, sends another Mommy to the morgue-- 
the drama in FLY AWAY HOME is 100% kid-proof.  The young ones will 
laugh, for example, when a wildlife officer gets beaned with a 
popcorn bowl and they'll cover their eyes when a goose gets bumped 
bitty bumped bumped by an aircraft in midair.  For the rest of us-- 
those whose hearts don't automatically swell at the sight of webbed 
feet and feathers-- the amusements are fewer and farther between.  
An Air Force base scrambling to intercept the incoming honkers is 
entertaining enough.  And I laughed at the high-drama of hunters-- 
gasp!-- who threaten, but never succeed in adding the color of 
crimson to photographer Caleb Deschanel's soothing amber tones.  
Warm, fuzzy, and ecologically friendly, FLY AWAY HOME is a family 
film that even Bob Dole could endorse.  Too bad they couldn't work 
in an explosion or two.  Directed by Carroll Ballard.  (Rated 
"PG"/110 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: October 24, 1996

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