Koko: A Red Dog Story is a combination of a biography and a comedy about the real-life dog named Koko who was born and raised in Australia. The film shows several interviews from cast and crew along with Koko’s owner retelling her experiences with the famous dog and his discovery by Australian cinema. If you are not aware, Koko is the actor dog whose performance changed Australian cinema when he starred as the lead actor in the smash hit movie Red Dog, released back in 2011. This is his true, untold story.
An ordinary dog named Koko is born, and little did he know he was destined for great things in life; great things that would not only capture the hearts of many across Australia but later the entire world. Koko’s owner, named Carol, started to train Koko at a young age. Carol also noticed a few unique things when it came to Koko’s attitude, mannerisms, skills, and heart for others. Koko also loved biting jewellery, including necklaces.
While Koko was growing up, Carol decided to enter Koko into competitions to compete with other dogs. During these competitions, Koko thrived and walked away with many memorable highlights, prizes and even trophies. The film here also touches on the real Red Dog, how the true story got turned into a bestselling book and how development of this book caught the eye of an Australian director named Kriv Stenders along with his producer Nelson Woss. Both men would soon set out to make a live feature film with a real dog and avoid any use of CGI or animation. Soon the director discovered a dog named Koko and introduced himself to the owner. Arrangements were made, and a deal was agreed on for Koko to be the primary star of the Red Dog film.
Being a significant movie lover myself, I found this film genuinely fascinating. On one side, we learn the story of Koko’s life, and on the other side, we gain a far greater understanding of how the film Red Dog (2011) was made and developed.
There are so many elements about the Red Dog film that I never knew, and this film is incredibly insightful. The film switches back and forth from using real footage, real interviews, and then it provides its audiences with fun re-enactments from a small group of talented actors. While the idea of re-enactments may sound a little off-putting, to my surprise, I loved this concept because it brought an element of humour to the film. I was quite surprised at how often I found myself laughing as a silly joke was delivered on screen. But the film is not just all funny jokes. It’s also filled with heartfelt moments, especially when we gain real insights from interviews of those who were relatively close to Koko. The actors who portray the real-life cast and crew includes Felix Williamson, Sarah Woods and Toby Truslove. They are all flawless and ultimately transform themselves in a whole new level to retell this story. The film’s narration, which is delivered by actor Jason Issacs, is also pleasing.
Overall, this film combines being a touching comedy along with a fantastic biography about a dog named Koko, who was not so ordinary. Koko was not only a dog who managed to feature in a significant Australian blockbuster titled Red Dog in 2011, but he also changed the lives of many and touched hearts across the world. I found this film to be well made as it introduces a filming style, unlike anything I have seen before. This is a family-friendly film with incredible performances. By the third act, I had water in my eyes not because this movie is depressing, but because I found this film to be so touching and pleasing.
Koko: A Red Dog Story (2019) is Now Available on DVD!
Honest Thief (2020) – Movie Review Podcast Is Also Now Available!
A portion of the DVD’s release revenue will be aiding The Dogs’ Refuge Home of W.A. Since 2012 the RED DOG franchise has contributed over $125,000 to shelters around Australia.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden