Friday, February 24, 2006

Crikey! I Enjoyed It.

Movie Reviews

Well I had a reptile themed night of film on Wednesday when the netflix disc I expected in failed to arrive. I borrowed from my sister a movie that I had bought for her (at her request) for either her birthday or Christmas several years ago. The movie in question is 2002's The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course. When the folks at MGM decided to give a feature film to the popular nature show host they were no doubt confronted with the difficult task of translating his unique persona and talents to a motion picture format. So as you might expect rather then trying to be innovative the powers that be chose to integrate star Steve Irwins educational format with an inane plot about a crashed US spy satellite.

Through out the film Irwin and his wife Terri speak directly to the camera as though they were hosting one of their nature shows. However there is no camera crew there, at least there is not suppose to be as the Irwins are portrayed as alone in the outback on one of there animal rescue/gathering runs for Austrila Zoo. They gather a wide verity of animals (which they speak to the camera and tell us about) including a very poisonous spider and snake, as well as a 'joey' kangaroo and off course a crocodile, most of these animals come in handy later on. The crocodile in question is a large and aggressive brute who has earned the wrath of a local rancher and whom the Irwins are to relocate to friendlier waters. However this crocodile has also managed to swallow the memory core of a crashed American spy satilite (the core looks like a small metal nose cone).

Now the information in the missing core has been deemed sensitive enough to be able to greatly alter the world geo-political balance were it to fall into the wrong hands. Consequently a CIA team is sent to recover the core under the guise of a routine NASA parts pick-up. Political divisions and rivelry within the American intelligence community results in a split as to who should be tasked with retrieving the core (haven't they learned anything from 9/11). When the head of the American agency that acutely operates the satellite is denied having one of his team come along for the recovery he dispatches a female Australian, who for some reason works for him, to pass herself off as the CIA contact in the region and work toward retrieving the core herself. The CIA and Irwin storylines proceed on almost as parallel movies throughout most the film, the two not making direct contact until about the last 30 minutes or so (its only an hour and a half long movie).

While this all sounds like a really bad movie, and in many ways it is, the whole thing is pulled off by Steve Irwins tremendous energy and enthusiasm in his role as himself. Steve sells the film for you in much the same way a Will Ferrell character makes the stupid movies he's cast in really funny and enjoyable. I doubt we will be seeing a Crocodile Hunter sequel and this isn't a film I'd want to see again anytime soon, but it does work and is not a bad way to spend 90 minutes of your time. Plus you do get to learn a little bit about wildlife.

Also seen by me that night was The Giant Gila Monster which came on a one dollar DVD I purchased from Target for the heck of it several months ago. This movie is a fairly straight forward picture concerning an intrepid teenagers efforts to ride his rural south west community of a Gila with a gland problem (the local sheriff suspects that the animal grew to be so big because of a hormone problem or change in diet). This movie quite deservedly was featured in a 4th season episode of MST3K and is a prime example of 50's sci-fly schlock, though admittedly more watchable then most films in that category that I have seen.


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