Plot: What’s it about?
As the world famous Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin stalks the lands of his native Australia for various forms of wildlife, in distant space a satellite goes out of orbit, which will soon cause some ripples in Steve’s life. As it passes through the atmosphere, the satellite is burned and all that remains is a small capsule, which contains a homing beacon and of course, some valuable photos that could alter the world’s power structure, should they fall into the wrong hands. But just as rival intelligence agencies in the United States prepare to send teams out to recover the device, the capsule winds up swallowed by a massive crocodile. This croc happens to be involved in a skirmish with an Australian local also, one who seeks to protect her cattle with a shotgun, even if it means sinking the croc, as well as whatever’s inside of it, to the creek’s bottom forever. Of course, Steve has been told about the croc’s presence and plans to capture it, relocate it to a proper new home, then watch it flourish as nature intended. But little does Steve know that the beacon inside the croc has alerted the U.S. agents as to its location, which means Steve, Terri, and the croc itself are all wanted, so they’ll need to be extra sharp to elude the agents…
After the wild success of his television series, Steve Irwin has moved The Crocodile Hunter to the big screen, with positive results. The film turned a solid profit and offered more of Steve’s outlandish antics, only this time around, he was risking life and limb on the silver screen, not the small one. Steve and his wife Terri are in fine form and seem just as they do on the show itself, which means fans of the series should be pleased. Unlike most of today’s cinema, the stunts and outrageous moments are all real, as Steve is well known for putting his life on the line to save animals, study them, and educate the public about them. So when you see Steve wrangle a lethal snake and dodge attack after attack, he doesn’t use computer graphics or mattes, he’s really holding this highly dangerous creature in his own hands. His movie debut is a series of vignettes like we’d see on his show, with a separate storyline that slowly starts to cross Steve’s path, which means it isn’t complex or deep, simply there for humor or to allow for Steve’s trademark actions. I happen to love The Crocodile Hunter and so I enjoyed this picture, though those uninterested in Steve’s style of conservation won’t be won over here. As MGM has furnished a nice package, I am giving this release a more than solid recommendation to Croc Hunter fans everywhere.
Video: How does it look?
The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As has been tradition with recent MGM new releases, this one looks excellent and provides a top notch visual presentation. The print is almost pristine, as it should be since its a new release, with a clean and very sharp overall presence. The outback’s scenic sights come through well, with lush greens, deep browns, and smooth blacks, so all of the grass, animals, and even Steve’s clothes are tip top here. I saw no problems with contrast either, as detail is high throughout and never dips in the least. In other words, a real beauty of a visual effort and another terrific day & date release from MGM, who continue to impress.
Audio: How does it sound?
I wasn’t sure what to expect in this area, but the included Dolby Digital 5.1 is, by crikey, quite memorable. Of course, Steve’s trademark vocal patterns come across in fine form, as does all the other dialogue elements, with clear vocals and no hints of volume problems. The mix kicks in whenever Steve’s out and about, toying with animals or dealing with the agents, as the various croc growls, snake hisses, gunshots, water splashes, and assorted other ingredients are well handled and provide ample punch. In truth, I had minimal expectations for the audio here, but this mix is very good and proves to be a total success. This disc also includes Spanish & French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As this is a Special Edition, it houses a number of bonus features, though sadly, no Steve & Terri audio commentary was produced. Instead, we have a general behind the scenes featurette, which contains the usual interviews, bland behind the scenes footage, and a few clips from within the movie itself. This one isn’t bad as far as promotional featurettes are concerned, but I think an audio commentary would have been more welcome. You can also view two brief featurettes on the special effects and the animals used in the picture, which are more focused and on the whole, more enjoyable as well. This disc also includes some deleted scenes, a subtitle information track, a selection of still photos, a Baha Men music video, outback interactive games, and the film’s theatrical trailer.