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Film / The Real Macaw

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An ancient talking Blue and Gold Macaw named Mac (originally voiced by Daniel Murphy, redubbed by John Goodman for the North American release) becomes the saving grace for an elderly man (Jason Robards) threatened with a nursing home, when it is discovered that the talking bird knows the whereabouts of a buried treasure from its day with a pirate. His grandson Sam (Jamie Croft) decides to go off on the hunt, only to discover that a resort now exists where the treasure is buried. He is pursued by both his family (Deborra-Lee Furness and Joe Petruzzi) and by a greedy museum curator (John Waters — no, not that one). Hilarity Ensues, though the movie does have some very emotional moments.


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The movie has the following tropes.

  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Lance Hagen is seen on the TV news in one of the first modern day scenes, responding to allegations of artifact theft and historical vandalism.
  • Delayed Reaction: While venting to Mac about his father's decisions, Sam takes a moment to notice when Mac starts talking back to him.
  • Disney Death: Mac appears to die in the climax, with Rick urging Sam to leave him behind. He recovers by the end of the scene.
  • Dodgy Toupee: Worn by the hotel's head of security, which Mac steals from him when he tries to have Sam arrested.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Hagen is shown smoking a cigar in several scenes. Mac calls it a filthy habit before using it to set his boat on fire.
  • I Choose to Stay: Mac chooses to stay behind in the South Pacific. He then changes his mind in the final scene upon being reunited with his mother.
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  • Insult Comic: In Mac's improvised "ventriloquism" act, he makes fun of humans for how they normally interact with parrots, calling the audience brainless lemmings, and getting them to yell it back to him.
  • Intellectual Animal: Mac demonstrates human-level intelligence once he starts talking to Sam.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Mac being over a hundred years older than Sam.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Sam (human teenager) and Mac (macaw).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rick Girdis can be abrasive with his family, but he clearly cares about them and he's not wrong to be concerned about his son's school performance or his father's financial issues.
  • Long-Lived: Mac states that he's 149 years old.
  • Never My Fault: Rick blames his father for putting ideas in Sam's head while ignoring his own treatment of him. Grandpa and Beth both call him out on it.
  • No Name Given: Grandpa is never named onscreen or in the credits, not even by his daughter-in-law.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Jason Robards' American accent is not shared by any of his onscreen family.
  • Papa Wolf: Rick, when he tackles Dr. Hagen to stop him escaping.
  • Parrot Exposition: Parodied when Mac tells Sam about the treasure. "Will you quit repeating everything I say? I am the parrot!"
  • Playing Possum: Mac does this when Rick takes him to a pet store, giving Sam time to catch up to them.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Sam and Mac have a heated argument in the climax when Sam is ready to give up on getting the treasure, leading Mac to tell him his father was right about him.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Mac can talk, as well as make other rather convincing sound effects (phones, kettles).
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Early in the movie, Sam's father calls him out on his tendency to give up when things get tough. Mac parrots this when Sam is ready to give up on the treasure hunt, mere inches away from success.
    • Grandpa calls Rick out on his treatment of Sam, telling that somewhere along the way he lost any sense of joy.
  • Saying Too Much: After Sam sells Dr. Hagen Mac's ringlet, he unintentionally gives him a lead on where the rest of the treasure is.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Sam and Mac get the treasure, but Grandpa refuses to let them by the house back, persuading Sam to instead return it to the temple it was stolen from in the first place.
  • The Shut-In:
    Sam: Grandpa, you should get out more.
    Grandpa: Are you crazy, there's people out there!
  • Stop Saying That!: As Sam is counting his paces up the hill, Mac keeps saying "Hippopotamus" in between. After Sam tells him to stop it, Mac starts saying a different animal each time, which isn't much better.
  • Talking Animal: Mac talks.
  • Tap on the Head: Mac tries to distract a security guard by dropping a coconut on his head. It doesn't even knock him unconscious or keep him from throwing Sam out.
  • Title Drop: Mac describes himself as The Real Macaw during Sam's "ventriloquism" act using him.
  • "X" Marks the Spot: The treasure is supposed to be buried under a tree with an X carved into the side. Sam and Hagen try every tree outside the hotel, but it turns out that hotel was built around it.
  • Wham Shot: When Sam finally sees a tree marked with an X, inside the hotel restaurant.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Dr. Hagen has no qualms about throwing Sam out of his boat to Leave No Witnesses.

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