Plot: What’s it about?
There’s someone who’s an extended member of my family who’s trying to find herself. She’s a college graduate (ironically from the University of Florida), was an officer in the Navy and has now resigned and wants to become an author of children’s books. My first thought was “Yeah, good luck with that.” But when I thought about it, it might not be a bad idea. Looking at some of the more notable books for kids/teens and the like, it’s a ludicrous market. And let me say that I’d never heard of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and had no idea what the books or movie would entail. Don’t get me wrong, I’d have to imagine it was something light-hearted, but a crocodile who sings? Ok, this one might be really good or really bad. Let’s find out.
Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) finds a baby crocodile singing in a cage. How is this possible? We don’t really ever get that answer, by the way. Valenti tries to turn the crocodile into a singing sensation. The only thing is that he’s got stage fright (think of the Warner singing frog for a point of reference). And eventually Valenti abandons him in the attic. Later, the Primm family moves in with Josh (Winslow Fegley) finding Lyle (voiced by Shawn Mendes) and the two hit it off. Despite Josh’s efforts to hide Lylde from his father (Scoot McNairy) and stepmother (Constance Wu), they do in fact find him. They’re wowed by his singing, much to the chagrin of Valenti, who enters the picture one again to plot another attempt at fame.
Movies like this are hard to watch without a smile on your face. And when you couple the “cuteness” of a film of this nature with the vocal talents of Shawn Mendes, well I’d say you’ve got a recipe for success. The characters are, as expected, paper thin – more like an extended version of what we think they should be like. And they take a backseat to the main attraction. But I will say that the addition of Javier Bardem was a stroke of genius. The Academy Award winner has wowed us for years with his talents, hell he’s been a James Bond villain! And now he’s in a movie with a singing crocodile. Don’t read anything into that. Likely anyone who wants to view this knows what they’re in for. I didn’t, and it was part of the fun, but this one is charm is hard to ignore.
Video: How’s it look?
It’s always tricky when the main character of a film is a CGI-based animal. It would seem to open the door for faults to creep in and, well, ruin the viewing experience. Thankfully that’s not the case with this one and Sony’s 2.39:1 AVC HD image adequately conveys the gorgeous-looking transfer. Fine detail is rendered beautifully, giving us a very natural and all around good-looking transfer. Obviously the human aspect of the film looks fine as well, showcasing a wide color gamut, lifelike flesh tones and detail that’s tack sharp. Nothing to complain about here.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Admittedly, the first thing I thought when looking at this film wasn’t “I wonder how good the mix will sound?” Frankly, this isn’t the type of film that I’d expect a mix like that to appear on, but I was mistaken. Given the nature of this film, there are more then a few instances for the DTS HD Master Audio to shine and showcase Shawn Mendes’ amazing talent. Vocals are pure and crisp and directional effects are well-placed making way for a very unique and rich aural experience.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Sing-Along Songs – Karaoke versions of the original songs “Top of The World,” “Rip Up the Recipe,” “Take a Look at Us Now,” and “Carried Away” from Pasek & Paul.
- Storytime with Shawn Mendes & Javier Bardem – Shawn Mendes, Javier Bardem, alongside the cast and filmmakers alternate reading excerpts from the book that set the world of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile in motion.
- Bloopers – Behind-the-scenes blooper reel.
- Deleted Scene – Josh Learns About Lyle’s Stage Fright
- Croc and Roll – Lyle On Set -We will find out what working with Lyle was truly like with interviews with his cast mates and the filmmakers. As they shed light on everything from Lyle’s eating habits to his occasional odor issues, we’ll come to get a better understanding of what Lyle brings to the filming experience beyond his incredible voice.
- Take a Look at Us Now – The Cast – From Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Scoot McNairy and Winslow Fegley to Shawn Mendes, meet the incredible key cast of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
- Music Videos – “Top of the World” and “Carried Away” by Pasek & Paul.
The Bottom Line
Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the movie or book when requesting this and when it arrived, I was like “OK, what…is…this?” But you know what, I liked it. Based off the best-selling books, it’s kind of hard not to like. I was pretty impressed with Javier Bardem’s performance, too. But in the realm of singing animal movies this one takes the…cake?