Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course
Edition - 2002 (2002) - MGM
by Adam Jahnke of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
89 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced,
keepcase packaging, single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch),
A Croc in Shot: The Making of Collision
Course documentary, 5 "behind the scenes"
featurettes, 10 Lights! Camera! Animals!
featurettes, 5 deleted scenes, Crocodile
Rock music video by Baha Men, optional
Croc Track text commentary,
The Outback (3 interactive
games: Australian Critters,
Survival Trivia, Meet
Steve and Terri), original theatrical teaser and trailer,
photo gallery, Easter eggs, animated film-themed menu screens with
sound, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1),
French and Spanish (2.0 Stereo), subtitles: English, French &
Spanish, Closed Captioned
whole movies-based-on-TV-shows thing is now officially out of hand.
Obviously they're here to stay and there's nothing anybody can do
about it, but come on. A whole movie based on the most popular show
on Animal Planet? At this rate, I fully expect to see a trailer for
Trading Spaces: The IMAX Experience
any day now.
If you've been doing without basic cable for the last few years,
you may be unfamiliar with The Crocodile
Hunter. Basically, Australian croc-tease Steve Irwin and
his American wife Terri wander through such remote locations as the
outback, unnecessarily provoking dangerous reptiles while exclaiming
"Crikey!" a lot. There's plenty of that kind of thing in
Collision Course, too, but in
an effort to ratchet up the excitement, the filmmakers strand the
Irwins in the middle of a direct-to-video spy plot. Seems a
surveillance satellite has crashed and burned in Australia. Warring
American government agencies are dispatched to retrieve a vital
Black Box-type recording device, chock full of top secret info. But
the high-tech gizmo has been swallowed by a giant croc that's been
devouring cattle owned by Aussie rancher Brozzie (Magda Szubanski,
better known as Mrs. Hoggett in the Babe
movies). The Irwins are sent out to capture and relocate the croc.
Naturally, they cross paths with the spies, whom the Irwins think
are poachers. Crikey, indeed.
Somehow I can't picture Marlon Perkins taking part in such a
bizarre project as Mutual of Omaha's Wild
Kingdom - Collision Course but Irwin chomps into the
challenge with his usual exuberance. Perhaps realizing that Steve
and Terri aren't really ready for the big screen, the filmmakers
keep them apart from the other unfolding stories for virtually the
entire length of the film. This isn't a bad strategy but it does
mean that nobody ever really collides in Collision
Course. It's like there's two completely different movies
going on at the same time, a feeling that's heightened by the fact
that the film is shot in two different aspect ratios: 2.35:1 for the
"movie" sequences and a smaller 1.66:1 frame for the "documentary"
sequences. Ultimately, it feels like everyone involved with the
project just gave up. The movie doesn't really end. It just kind of
trails off and is capped by a stammering monologue in which Steve
fills us in on what happened to all the other characters.
On the other hand, I'm the first to admit that I am not this
movie's intended target audience. This is a family-friendly comedy
adventure and as such, it's better than some. Compared to some other
recent kids movies, this is perfectly innocuous fun and there's
certainly nothing wrong with the Irwin's pro-conservation message.
You do actually get to see some interesting animals along the way
and learn a thing or two about them. And as far as I'm concerned,
any modern kids movie that I can make it through without coming down
with a splitting headache is aces in my book.
MGM's DVD looks and sounds just fine. It's not going to give your
home theater system much of a workout but I don't foresee anyone
being bitterly disappointed by the technical aspects of this disc.
The disc is packed with extras and like many discs aimed at the
younger set, they're kind of a mixed bag. The "making-of"
documentary is a rah-rah bit of promotion narrated on-camera by
Steve that reveals absolutely nothing about the making of the film.
The Behind-The-Scenes featurettes focus mainly on effects and stunt
work, while the Lights! Camera! Animals!
featurettes divulge more information on the featured animal actors.
Director John Stainton introduces five deleted scenes, most of which
flesh out the spy plot and were obviously cut when Stainton realized
that the spy plot needed no fleshing. You can play an optional
Croc Track during the movie
that gives more facts and figures about the animals and other, more
tangential matters in Pop Up Video
style. The interactive games and features in The
Outback section are aimed squarely at kids. The games
seemed pointless and unwinnable to me but other sections focus on
educational features like animals of the outback, how to survive in
the wilderness, and that kind of thing. The trailer and a teaser
that's actually funnier than anything in the movie itself are also
included, as is a music video featuring the film's awful cover of
Crocodile Rock (aka Who
Let the Crocs Out!) performed by Baha Men, unsuccessfully
trying to avoid one-hit wonder status.
If you're in the market for a halfway decent kids movie, you could
certainly do worse than The Crocodile
Hunter - Collision Course. But you could also do a whole
lot better. If you or your kids are fans of Steve and Terri, you'll
likely be left wishing for a lot more animal adventure and a lot
less espionage slapstick. If you're not... well, if you're not a
fan, I can't imagine why you'd pick this disc up in the first place.
Collision Course won't give
you any new insight into the weird popularity of Steve and Terri
Irwin. But it is a lot less painful way to see cute baby kangaroos
than sitting through Kangaroo Jack.