"Crikey! He's got my arm!"
The universally stupid come in all shape and sizes. There's the people who get hit in the crotch on "America's Funniest Home Videos" by their own children or inventions; there's Mike Tyson, nipping people's ears off during historical sports matches; and then there's Steve Irwin, the king of all that is puzzlingly deranged. Irwin is everyone's favorite Aussie crocodile hunter, a mix between Indiana Jones and Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. While he's wrestling a croc to the ground, he's mugging to the camera for all he's worth. Irwin and his right hand wife, Terry, have officially achieved celebrity status as the only wedded couple who wrestle huge, dangerous lizards during the day, then each other during the night. Artisan Home Entertainment presents Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files, a children's companion of the famous show on Animal Planet, featuring four separate episodes on one DVD. Let the hunt begin.
Facts of the Case
Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files includes four separate episodes on one disc. The first is entitled "Aussie Legends." This episode deals with the different types of animals featured in the outback, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, and other fuzzy, cute animals running around Australia. This is a cute episode for those of you who want to see animals that could be stuffed and mounted on a 10-year-old's bed. There's even a little gerbil-like creature that's apparently so ferocious that he kills scorpions and other mice. They also go on such a mating frenzy, that they sometimes mate until they die. Lucky fuzzy devils.
The second episode is titled "Charlie" and is about a large croc named Charlie (surprised?) who now lives in a billabong on the Irwin camp. This vignette follows Steve's adventure of trying to get Charlie out of a concrete croc farm that he's lived his whole life and to the Irwin's lush and beautiful home. This entails everyone piling on top of Charlie, covering his head with a bag, and moving him into a large wooden box. A case of the raging stupids strikes again.
The third episode, "Pacific Northwest," features Steve and Terry trying to rescue a wounded buffalo from the herd, as well as heading down the Oregon Trail here in the states, finding such treasure as a spring loaded bear trap, and in Washington, some different animals in an old abandoned house. Terry even calls a night snake a "cutie." Further proof that Australians are apparently digesting narcotics at an alarming rate. Also included is Steve and Terry's encounter with a bobcat at a rehabilitation center for animals ("I started smoking squirrels, and I couldn't stop!"), as well as finding other cute and monstrous animals along the way.
The final episode, "How To Catch a Crocodile," is about Steve and Terry teaching us the best way to catch a croc, featuring strategies, equipment, and actual footage of the Irwin's snatching their prey. This episode also features what I consider to be the most idiotic stunt I've ever seen, Steve and Terry capturing a huge croc at night. Lord almighty.
Along the way we are treated to quizzes, fun facts, croc cams, and all kinds of little bits and nuggets about the man…the legend…the Crocodile Hunter!
Steve Irwin is a complete enigma. Why in the name of everything that is holy would you roll around in the mud with an animal that could eat your entire arm in one big gulp? Anyone? If you know, please email me as soon as possible. I have this continuing argument with my mother. Once in a while we have watched the show together, and she's often commented on how brave Steve is. That's how people of this caliber are perceived. See, if you can topple a reptile without being eaten, you are considered immensely brave. If, however, you get your left leg chomped on like a Boston Market meal, people will think you have apple cores in your cranium. Baffling, isn't it? On another note, do you notice how his wife often stays out of some of the "heavier" action? She's the smartest lady on the planet in my book.
While I think the Irwin family is off their rockers, I do believe they make for great television. "Crocodile Hunter" is a show that you can't help watching once you come across it. Even though I know Steve isn't going to get mortally wounded (sadly, the show's not filmed live), you still feel a tension that he might become something's dessert at any moment. That's what makes the "Crocodile Hunter" so much fun (sort of like "The Tom Green Show" without the flatulence).
Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files is a somewhat watered down version of the show, tailor made for kids. Though it features the Irwin's doing wildly outrageous things, I don't think it's quite as thrilling as the show from which it originated. No matter, as kids and adults will still have a good time watching these two dodge 'gators, pet kangaroos, and step inside a cage with a baby bobcat. It's all in good (if not dangerous) fun, and for kids who are into this stuff, it's very educational (Steve and Terry's official statement is "Our mission is to promote conservation through exciting education," so there you go). Steve Irwin as such a winning, enthusiastic presence that he makes even the most banal thing, such as a small mouse, seem exciting.
Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files is presented in 1.33:1 standard full frame. Though the package says it has been formatted from its original version, I don't think that it was every filmed in a widescreen scope. 1.33:1 is what you get when it's on TV, and it works for this DVD as well. The picture is clear and clean (mostly shot on video), and works well for what this disc is. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, and like the video portion, works fine in the confines of this disc. I stress that this is mostly video, so it's all about as good as it's gonna get for that medium.
Special features include "Steve and Terry's Mission Statement," "Safety Tips in Croc Country," and a "Fact File," all of which are printed and can be read at the viewer's own pace. Also included are some photos from the Irwin's personal collection, located under the heading "Croc Cam."
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Did I mention that I think Steve and Terry slept under heavy paint fumes when they were kids?
Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files is a fun disc for kids, and adults may actually enjoy repeated viewings as well. It's not quite as exciting as the Animal Planet show, but this four episode adventure disc should satisfy any child who has the desire to strap on their khaki shirts and get down in the land down-under. The DVD is pretty long at 110 minutes, and there are some good messages that Steve and Terry give about animals and the environment. If you need to pick between this and Pokémon, stick with the crocs.
Acquitted on all charges! She's a beaut, ain't she?
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