A boy (Spencer Breslin) protects a talking koala from the villainous toy-maker (Joan Collins) who wants to exploit the animal’s amazing ability.
Director: William Tannen (as Bill Tannen)
Writers: Michael Lach, Lori O’Brien
Rose as: Caitlin
Cast: Spencer Breslin, Joan Collins, Ralf Moeller | See full cast & crew
Country of Origin: New Zealand | Germany
Runtime: 90 minutes
Completed in 2001, but did not get released.
Release date: March 10, 2006 (USA only)
Genres: Family | Comedy | Drama
When evil businesswoman Maxine Happy conspires to clone the wondrous creature to sell to stores in time for the holiday season, she dispatches two bumbling henchmen to the Australian outback to bring him to America. He is “Kola-napped” and bundled into travel bag for a flight back to the USA. The two goons are seated near young Justin, who is returning home with this airline hostess mother. Escaping from the bag, Ozzie switches places the boy’s realistic looking toy koala, a gift from his mother.
Waking up in the Justin’s bedroom, Ozzie gets into every kind of mischief imagineable, almost managing to destroy the boy’s home! The boy is ecstatic when he hears the koala speak his first words, but cannot convince his mother that the cuddly creature is alive and can talk…she thinks it is nothing more than her son’s wild imagination. He and Ozzie become inseparable friends, and soon soon Justin reveals this amazing secret to some of his schoolmates. However, Ozzie begins to feel homesick and, even though he knows he’ll miss him, Justin recognizes that he must help him return to Australia.
Before they can figure out how Ozzie can get home, the henchmen appear and snatch him from Justin’s house. After a wild chase across town, down to the beach, and on jet-skis across the bay, the thugs escape with the koala and take him to Maxine’s lab. Justin must enlist the help of his closest friends, and use every gadget, gimmick and trick at their disposal to rescue Ozzie and teach the villains a lesson they’ll never forget!
- The film was actually completed in New Zealand in 2001, but first got released in the USA 5 years later – in 2006. The film is called a 2006 film, but as you can clearly tell by Rose’s looks, she was much younger when she filmed the film.
- Parts of the film was filmed at Avondale College in Auckland, which Rose graduated from the same year as this film was released.
- The film was also filmed at the Studio West, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.
- The film came out in european countries around September 2006. In Germany it was called “Ozzie, der Koalabär”, in France “Ozzie, mon meilleur ami”, and Hungary “Ozzie – Kicsi a koala, de erős”.
IMDB Review – Mike Kihei (mauimiguel) – My 5 year old son picked this rental and he loves it! We watched repeatedly over the weekend. I had never heard of it, or noticed it on the shelf before, but I am really glad he did. Full of harmless, silly fun, he laughed a lot at the antics of the Koala and the bumbling bad guys. It has those silly bumbling type of Hollywood bad guys that are not scary, so I didn’t have to worry about scary stuff. More for kids than parents, the kind of movie you can put on while keeping one eye on the kids and cooking dinner or using the computer. The koala is obviously fake which is OK for this kind of movie. Not one the family is going to gather around repeatedly but one the kids can watch alone or with a pal. Surprised it came out in 2001, as this is our first time finding it.
IMDB review – Amy Adler – Ozzie the koala is a legend in Aboriginal Australia. Not only is he furry and adorable, he is the only koala who can actually talk! Long ago, an American toy manufacturer, hearing of the real bear, fashioned a stuffed, best-selling, battery-operated talking koala. But, sales have slumped in recent years for the firm, for the CEO refuses to sell any violent toys or games. This does not sit well with another middle manager (Joan Collins). She is determined to not only get “toys kids want” but also has hatched a plan to kidnap Ozzie. It’s complicated, as she and a wayward scientist will “clone” Ozzie and create a sensation with a real live talking bear! But, after the kidnappers succeed in getting their clutches on Ozzie, they find themselves on a plane with Justin (Spencer Breslin) who has just received a stuffed Ozz from his mother (Rachel Hunter). Naturally, the two bears get mixed up, with Justin taking home the genuine Ozzie. Toy lady is not pleased and orders the nappers to find the true bear quickly! Figuring out their mistake, the two bear-nappers stake out a hidey near Justin’s home and try a hatful of tricks to get the bear back. But, Justin is smart and loves Ozz. He stays one step ahead of the duo. Will the boy, however, be able to dodge the men forever? This was a nice family film with the most lovable talking koala you ever did see! Ozzie is a total joy. The cast is also nice, with Breslin a natural actor and Collins doing the “dragon woman” she does so well. Hunter, also, looks lovely and performs nicely, as does all of the unknown supporting cast. That said, the two nappers are knock-offs of the bumbling burglars in Home Alone and, Peter Bogdanovich, you should be aware that the director lifted a scene directly from What’s Up Doc when a collision between bicycles and glass haulers occurs. Wow, that’s pretty bold. Parents, too, should know that although the film looks wonderful, with nice costumes, scenery, and camera-work, that there may be some objectionable material. Yes, its mostly family friendly but a cafeteria food fight, with no adults present, or a child punching another one in the nose will not be welcomed by all. The final scenes, too, where Ozzie is hooked up to an electrical gizmo, might be somewhat frightening. However, perhaps this reviewer is being too harsh, for it truly is a fun and enjoyable film, especially for animal lovers. If your loved ones are such folks, look for Ozzie soon.
Official IMDB Page