Spud 3 – Learning to Fly

2014-11-28 12:43
 
What's it about:

As Spud Milton continues his awkward stagger through adolescence, he learns one of life’s most important lessons: When dealing with women and cretins, nothing is ever quite as it seems.


“I’m practically a man in most areas,” writes Spud confidently on his sixteenth birthday. The year is 1992 and, in South Africa, radical change is in the air. The country may be on the bumpy road to an uncertain future, but Spud Milton is hoping for a smooth ride as he returns to boarding school as a senior. Instead, he discovers that his vindictive arch enemy is back to taunt him and that a garrulous Malawian has taken residence in his dormitory, along with the regular inmates and misfits he calls friends. Spud's world has never seemed less certain; he attempts to master Shakespeare, wrestles constantly with his God, and the power of negative thinking, and develops an aversion to fried fish after a shocking discovery about his grandmother, Wombat.

What we thought:

What is a film without marketing? I hadn’t even realised the new Spud movie would be premiering soon until I saw it on the screenings list. Compared to the previous films, which had in-your-face advertising months in advance, it would appear that Spud 3: Learning to Fly couldn’t get itself off the ground.

Another school year, another year that the Crazy Eights cause havoc as they all vie for ‘prefectship’, except for Spud it’s a matter of life or death as the school threatens to take a way his scholarship if he doesn’t shape up.

If you were expecting the same crazy antics from the previous films, you would feel a little let down. Director Donovon Marsh from Spud 1 and 2 did not go on to direct this one, with John Barker (Bunny Chow) taking over. And you can immediately see the difference. As the scenes unfolded, it felt like there was no passion in them, as if the actors were just going through the motions and not getting the right coaching from the director. The previous films held its zany, chaos-inspiring ethos throughout the scenes, even the more relaxed and serious points, but in Learning to Fly the oomph had gone out of it.

The latest addition to the Crazy Eight, Garlic played by YouTube personality Caspar Lee, was quite a non-character. In the book, Spud was constantly annoyed by him and felt like he was trying to replace Gecko as part of the crazy eight. In the film, he’s only a minor annoyance and Spud hardly acknowledges his annoyance. I don’t believe it was due to the failings of the actor, but rather the writers and director, although his YouTube fan following would probably make up a big part of the audience.

Not to say there weren’t some great moments, mostly attributed to the awesomeness that is John Cleese and comedic gold from Spud’s parents played by Aaron McIlroy and Julie Summers. These two are as volatile as Coke and Mentos, but still make it believable that underneath it all they still love each other passionately.

And one cannot forget Vern, the Rain Man, played by Tom Burne, whose insanity at least keeps one going through the Spud’s voice overs. The rest of the crazy eight however, besides Rambo, seemed to have gotten lost somewhere in the plot, especially Boggo who used to come up with all the schemes. Simon has always been a non-feature of the group, even in the books, but he had more screen time than Boggo, who I usually find quite entertaining.

Although the previous films were not exactly true to the book, I still enjoyed them for what they were and had a good laugh. Learning to Fly, however, seems to have lost the mojo, and I hope they get it back for the final film.


Read more on:    troye sivan  |  movies

Raymond St 2014/12/02 9:27 AM
You forget to mention an important character in the antagonistic prefect Norman Whiteside played by actor Luke Tyler. His performance described by Sue de Groot (Sunday Times) as "perfects a sneer Draco Malfoy might envy".
megan 2015/04/21 6:20 PM
i love the movies they are so funny and i love troye Sivan and i thought that casper was really funny playing garlic in the film spud 3
megan 2015/04/21 6:20 PM
i love the movies they are so funny and i love troye Sivan and i thought that casper was really funny playing garlic in the film spud 3
megan 2015/04/21 6:20 PM
i love the movies they are so funny and i love troye Sivan and i thought that casper was really funny playing garlic in the film spud 3
megan 2015/04/21 6:20 PM
i love the movies they are so funny and i love troye Sivan and i thought that casper was really funny playing garlic in the film spud 3
megan 2015/04/21 6:21 PM
i love the movies they are so funny and i love troye Sivan and i thought that casper was really funny playing garlic in the film spud 3
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