“The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course” is basically a 70-minute version of the show with an additional 20 minutes of an instantly forgettable premise that barely rises to the level of the term “plot.” That said, the results are often amusing and make for one of this summer’s more entertaining family films.
The disposable story is about American special agents being sent to retrieve an essential US satellite beacon that fell to earth in Australia—and was accidentally swallowed by a crocodile. Of course, Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, believes that they’re poachers and tries to save the crocodile. There’s also a grouchy farmer (“Babe’s” Magda Szubanski) who is sick of the crocodile eating her cows and is devising creative but unsuccessful ways to lure it in and kill it. But the film mainly consists of what the television show’s fans want to see — Steve, his wife Terri and their loyal (and very brave!) dog risking their lives with Gila monsters, venomous snakes, bird-eating spiders, kangaroos, and inevitably, crocodiles.
Fans of Irwin’s “Crocodile Hunter” show on Animal Planet will love this movie, while those uninterested will know to avoid it. For those who are entertained by exotic animals, it is undeniably a lot of fun. There’s never a dull moment when Irwin fearlessly goes after some wild animal that could kill him in a heartbeat, and his instantly recognizable lingo, upbeat personality, and obvious affection for the creatures give him a lot of appeal, a sort of real-life Hagrid from “Harry Potter.” While the plot is strictly from the slush pile, it never meanders. It is by no means a great piece of cinema, but it is a worthwhile introduction to another world and not a bad place to spend an hour and a half for anyone just looking for fun and adventure.
Parents should know that this film contains some violence and bathroom humor, mainly from the animals but a little from the adult characters. The Irwins do put their lives on the line to work with these animals. They also rub their hands in animal excrement and parents should warn their kids not to try this at home, even with the less dangerous creatures they’ll run into near their homes.
Families who watch this movie should discuss whether it’s worth risking your life to get a glimpse at some remarkable creatures and how to make sure that we preserve endangered species.