The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course Review
A NASA reconnaissance satellite blows up over Australia, and a surveillance beacon lands in North Queensland. Unknown to anyone, it's swallowed by a large crocodile. The CIA sends two operatives Down Under to recover the beacon. Meanwhile farmer Brozzie Drewitt (a wildly overacting Magda Szubanski) is after the crocodile for eating one of her cattle. But none of them have reckoned without husband-and-wife wildlife team Steve and Terri Irwin...
The Irwins are a real-life couple, the stars of a documentary series aired on the Discovery Channel, in which they interact with various dangerous animals. Not just crocodiles: we see Steve handling large spiders and venomous snakes, and rescuing an orphaned baby kangaroo, all the time talking to camera nineteen to the dozen.
Then there's the plot. The Irwins do resolve it, but they don't even become involved in it until over an hour has gone past. The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course isn't much of a movie, more a succession of documentary-like escapades interrupting a thin and not very involving plot about the search for the surveillance beacon. The two strands are seamfully joined together. If anything, director John Stainton draws attention to how unintegrated his film is, by shooting the film in two aspect ratios. The documentary material featuring the Irwins is in 1.85:1, while the fictional bits are in 2.35:1.
In his half of the movie, Irwin isn't required to be anything other than himself, and his encounters with wild beasts look convincingly dangerous. Steve Irwin gets himself listed amongst the stunt personnel, and it certainly looks like there was no fakery going on. The BBFC have made 5 seconds of cuts, removing a couple of swearwords to maintain a PG certificate.
All in all, this is a very bland film. The cutting edge of antipodean cinema this is not, but it's nice to look at and will probably be a Saturday afternoon staple in years to come. The children in the audience at the showing I attended seemed to be enjoying it. For adults, this film will depend on how much of Steve Irwin's relentlessly hyper, professional-Aussie persona you can take.