Monday, February 25, 2019

(Don't) Feed the Birds

You know what's fairly short, at least in terms of human measurements? A bird. Yes, they immediately fly higher than most of our heads, but you know...9 years of Shortenings means I sometimes have to reach (PUN!).

Quick Plot: Small town sheriff Wayne has one last day on the job before he moves to the big city with his scholarly wife for her research work. Naturally, no good cop can retire without experiencing a raging birdemic.

This one comes courtesy of some shifty Mennonite farmers and their overprotective ways. When mad cow corpses get pecked by a gaggle of ravens, chaos reigns faster than you can clear your throat for a proper Hitchcock impression.

Directed by Sheldon Wilson, Kaw is essentially exactly what you want from a Birds-inspired cheapie, right on down to casting good sport Rod Taylor as the kindly town doctor. Canadian treasure Stephen McHattie lends some quality as the town drunk, and the better-than-it-should-be combination of CGI and a few well-trained avian actors makes it clear that we're not playing in Asylum Studios territory.

Still, Kaw doesn't seem to have the resources or ambitions to overcome its baby budget, leaving it as a pleasant enough SyFy Channel bit of entertainment.

High Points
Maybe it's just the recent influx of anything bird-related coupled with the film's obvious low budget, but all in all, Kaw is surprisingly smart about its bird graphics, cleverly blending real birdings with bargain (but passable) CGI 

Low Points
Rod Taylor aside, it's a shame that there isn't more spark to the townspeople, though credit should be given to the fact that a few stray teenagers manage to make it out with personality

Lessons Learned

Never bring a rifle to a bird fight
Mennonites have very bad hearing (and even worse cattle-raising instincts)

Kaw should be a breezy stream, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be readily available. I watched it via a "long wait" Netlix DVD queue disk, the benefit of which is that I had a chance to jump into the extras: an affectionate making-of short and a lovely interview between director Wilson and the classy pro Rod Taylor. 

It's still not exactly a movie worth owning, but if you come across a bargain copy, it should satisfy your itch for a bunch of impressively trained raven thespians plucking the life out of a few good-spirited Canadian actors. 

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