March 31, 2008
Just saw Dr Plonk. I’m a fan Rolf De Heer’s work but this one didn’t really do it for me. Clever idea make a silent film in 2007 set in 1907, about a scientist who travels to the future, as he hears about the end of the world taken place in 2008. Interesting message about Global Warming hysteria perhaps, but the film is just a bit boring. The jokes consist of kicking someone in the pants and basic slapstick. Of course that is a feature of old silent movies and should be there, but there is far too much of it. The script is light on for ideas once Plonk reaches the future. A lot needed to happen when Plonk arrives in our time and basically it doesn’t. The script is weak and so are some of the ideas behind it. Plonk is locked up at the end as a terrorist, as a lame comment on Australian policies, I suppose.
I was a big fan of Ten Canoes. But with Dr Plonk, De Heer maybe needs a bit of a slapstick kick in the pants to produce a more accomplished work. This film felt like an after thought or short idea… stretched to a feature. De Heer is like an Australian Herzog at his best and overseas readers really should see his masterpiece Bad Boy Bubby. But Plonk, ka plunks.
If you want a great silent Australian film of recent years look to Mark Savage’s original, daring and excellent Defenceless, from 2004.
Caption for below: Dr Plonk, You Suck!