Meet a seagull named Jonathan. As a seagull, it is obvious that Jonathan is not like the rest of his kind. He has a different type of attitude, and a unique outlook on life and the world that surrounds him. Jonathan is also a skilled flyer and enjoys experimenting with his speed and his wings. He sees how other seagulls act when it comes to fighting over food and has desires to be something far greater. Because Jonathan is different and does not fit in with other seagulls, he is judged and at the end of his trial, he is banished from the clan. Jonathan is now all alone, flying across the land seeking an adventure which could take him anywhere. As he flies, he will encounter challenges and threatening creatures.
Jonathan was voiced by James Franciscus and we hear his every thought. Some sequences contain no dialogue but are simply Jonathan or others like him interacting with one other or flying around in the skies while a track from Neil Diamond and Lee Holdridge orchestral score plays over it. This film can be classed as a family drama and is rated G.
The film’s visuals are pleasing and there is certainly some great footage here of seagulls and other elements of nature. For a 1973 feature film it would have been a serious challenge to capture such outstanding footage on camera. While some moments have obviously been edited with fake Seagulls instead of real ones, I still found plenty to enjoy visually. The film’s audio track is a mixed bag for me. The sound effects are pleasing but the soundtrack from Neil Diamond lacked some punch on the recently re-released Blu-ray. The narration from Jonathan himself is also quietly spoken and I thought it was an unusual choice to narrate in such a way for this film.
Overall, this is not going to be everyone’s type of film and I feel it will be enjoyed by a selected audience. Granted, a talking seagull who is kicked out for being different is unlike anything I have seen before. Some moments are quite engaging and others are unfortunately quite slow. The film’s soundtrack, delivered by Neil Diamond, like the film’s plot, will also be pleasing to a select audience. Visuals are nice but audio quality relating to the soundtrack and narration was disappointing to me as it lacked quality and punch. The film’s pace was also challenging but lovers of nature (especially seagulls) will have a completely different experience and opinion. It’s clear the filmmakers have taken big risks in bringing a film like this to life and there is still an impressive amount of creativity which I admire no matter my final verdict.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden