The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

Wildlife guru Steve Irwin, known for his eco-friendly TV derring-do, makes an unsteady jump to the big screen in this bizarre mishmash from 2002. He and wife Terri talk directly to the camera while they capture spiders, snakes, and of course crocodiles; playing awkwardly around them is a farcical story about the CIA trying to retrieve part of a satellite swallowed by a croc in the outback. We get plenty of jokes as Steve picks up animal droppings and discourses on their contents while crocs and dogs snap at other people's bottoms. We also get a nice message about disappearing wild places. But the film's two aspect ratios are on their own collision course: Irwin's sequences adopt the conventional 1.85 frame, while the spy plot is in CinemaScope. This creates a weird kind of suspense, as we wonder what will happen when Steve goes wide-screen. Kids used to watching him on TV might find it all perfectly normal, but for adults it's almost an acid trip. Directed by John Stainton. 90 min.

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