The Crocodile Hunter
Film Length: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English and Spanish
I had only somewhat heard of the Discovery Channel
Show Crocodile Hunter where Steve Irwin
and his wife, Terri, risk their lives as they
encounter Australian wildlife. Why anyone would
want to mess with dangerous reptiles is beyond me,
but perhaps with the economy as bad as it is,
there's a job for everyone.
What puzzles me is how anyone could have thought
that turning this TV show into a movie could be a
good thing. Fact of the matter is, it's not.
Collision Course is a foul waste of 90
minutes that lacks the very basics of coherent
filmmaking. In fact, the film is so awful, that
if I had not been reviewing it for the forum, I
would have turned it off before it was half over.
Created as a showcase for Irwin's crocodile
wrestling talents, this is actually a TV show
within a film. As the film begins, A US satellite
seems to have gone critical and exploded just
above the earth’s atmosphere. A small top-secret
beacon is ejected. The beacon carries important
information from the US government and has crashed
down in Australia. A few seconds later, an angry
croc swallows the beacon right up.
Cut to the TV show (shown in windowbox format)
where a hand held camera captures Steve Irwin
throwing himself around in an attempt to capture
a lizard. The film continues to bounce back and
forth from the "plot" with the real actors to
the Irwins, as it constantly changes aspect ratio.
Essentially, Irwin's nature show is intertwined
with a story about a burly redneck woman (Magda
Szubanski) who sets out to shoot a crocodile
living in a nearby river as the CIA moves in to
find the missing top-secret beacon.
Crikey! What crap!
How is the transfer?
It gets harder to think of ways to describe
transfers like this, so for once, permit me be
to be brief: This is a top-notch transfer. Most
of the film was shot in the bright sun, bringing
beautiful vivid clarity and detail to the scenic
Australian Outback. Images are sharp and colors
are accurate. Film grain is absolutely minimal.
Audio was a disappointment here. While the film's
entire 5.1 Dolby surround track is quite strong
across the front channels, the problem is, that's
all you get out of it. There's absolutely no rear
support that I could detect here. LFE response was
absolutely minimal, except for a few explosions.
It's obvious that MGM wasn't banking on this
DVD being popular amongst adults. So, what did
they do? They turned this DVD into family
entertainment by providing some really cool
supplements that nature-loving kids will no doubt
have a blast sifting through. In fact, the extras
on this disc are what make this DVD worth a purchase.
An optional Croc Track provides pop-up
transparent windows that provide some insightful
information on just about every little item in the
film from the burrows the perentie lizard dig to
the decibel level of a shotgun to the duties of
Wildlife Rangers. These pop-ups come seconds
apart from each other, and by the time the film
is through, I guarantee you'll be smarter than
you were this morning.
A Croc in Shot: The Making of Collison Course
started to get interesting until that annoying Amway
pitch man, Steve Irwin, referred to it as "the
greatest blockbuster ever made." At that point, I
just held my breath and hoped for the best. The
entire featurette is narrated by Irwin, who brings
the same sort of hyperactivity that he does to the
movie. We watch as actors get awfully close to
dangerous animals, and the safeguards that were put
in place. The star of this featurette is Australian
actress Magda Szubanski, who was an awfully good sport
with the stressful conditions she was placed under
while shooting outdoors in the wild. Indoors, we
watch the actors try to keep their cool while dressed
in heavy suits. There's a short segment that shows
how Irwin was taught to fight in a duel atop a moving
vehicle. Things really start to pick up when we
get a look at how stunts were pulled off in the
film's water finale. And how did we get those
tight closeups of a crocodile attack? It was none
other than Irwin himself controlling the dangerous
camera maneuvers. Believe it or not, I thought this
was a rather good featurette - far more entertaining
than the movie itself.
(length: approx. 23 minutes)
Behind The Scenes takes us behind the camera
as we watch how 5 different segments from the movie
were filmed. Caffeine-induced Steve Irwin narrates
the first two segments as we watch how sets were built
and safeguards put in place to deal with the
dangerous crocodile scenes. One segment reveals that
Irwin dressed up as the female Brozzie, performing
the dangerous stunts himself. Other segments are
introduced by director John Stainton as we watch
a barn being rigged with explosions and later, blown
up. Finally, a river segment shows how a high-flying
stunt was performed with a Microlite craft.
(length: approx. 18 minutes)
Lights! Cameras! Animals! takes us through
10 different rehearsal shots where cameras had
to be carefully placed and stunts had to be well
rehearsed before the film's most dangerous scenes
were lensed. Most of these shorts are narrated by
the Dexatrim-induced Steve Irwin. It's kind of
neat to watch how well Irwin knows these animals,
carefully planning out each of the stunts and
directing the camera crew on how to stay out of
harm's way when dealing with crocs and snakes.
If you have had enough of watching the dangerous
stuff, perhaps you'll enjoy watching how a mobile
nursery was set up for the baby kangaroos.
(length: approx. 36 minutes)
There are five deleted scenes which include:
* At C.I.A. headquarters, there's an interrogation
into why the satellite veered off course.
* This night King Brown snake capture was removed
because the darkness of the scene did not make the
situation seem as dangerous as it would have if
it were day.
* As Steve is being towed down the river by a
croc, an extra log is blocking his path.
* Why are the CIA agents suddenly in dinner suits?
Here is a removed scene that explains their dress
* The original ending of the film shows two CIA
agents meeting in an underground garage.
Each of these deleted scenes is introduced by
director John Stainton. The scenes add nothing
to the film, and it's funny listening to Stainton
talk about how complex he felt the film's story
The Music Video, Crocodile Rock
brings a nice Bahama flavor to the Elton John song,
now sung by Baha Men.
Outback Interactive Games may have you
fooled at first. Yes, there's a rather large
selection of interactive games that kids can
play using the remote control, but there's some
educational tools here as well.
The games are pretty neat. Ultralight puts
you in a small plane as you dodge the crocs below.
Joeygotchi puts you in charge of caring for
a baby kangaroo. A health and happiness meter
regulates the way you feed and exercise your new
pet. Outback Adventure is probably the
best of all the games here, as you travel through
the Outback, encountering many animals along the
way. Each time you encounter wildlife, you are
faced with having to make a decision, and perhaps,
learn something in the process.
The rest of this area lets kids and parents read
about different kinds of dangerous and friendly
wildlife and how to best observe them from a
distance. You even learn how to protect yourself
in the hot weather. Finally, you can play a little
trivia or even read up a little about Steve and Terry.
A Photo Gallery lets you browse through
a few photos of behind-the-scenes publicity stills,
stills from the film, and some shots of the Irwin
family. If the photos of the crocodiles don't
scare you, the photos of Steve hamming it up for
the camera certainly will.
Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
and teaser trailer is included here.
The DVD itself is only worth purchasing if either
you or your kids are fans of the Discovery Channel
show. The supplements are quite fun to browse
through and will certainly provide hours of
interactive play for pre-teens.
Without a single engaging character to be found
nor any tolerably clever lines, Collision Course
is probably the worst movie that has surfaced in
the past few years. Perhaps a sequel is in order
where Irwin gets to hunt the filmmakers responsible
for making this tangled mess.
Release Date: December 17, 2002