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On the wild side with Steve Irwin

[an error occurred while processing this directive] By BILLY NORRIS

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 8, 2002

Movie : The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

  • Rating: PG

Summary: When a CIA spy satellite self-destructs and its pieces fall to Earth, its most crucial part (containing thousands of spy photographs) lands in Queensland, Australia. The agency sends two undercover agents there to recover the vital piece before it falls into the wrong hands. In the interim, the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, and his wife, Terri, are in the Outback river system searching for a mischievous croc that's been causing mayhem with the locals. Unbeknownst to them, the CIA suspects that Steve and Terri are international spies trying to get hold of the spy information, so they become the primary targets.

Crikey! It's the crocodile hunter!
[Photo: MGM]
When Steve Irwin goes after a crocodile, there’s always danger, danger, danger.
My View: I really wasn't sure what to expect. Actually, this movie was interestingly constructed. It was a documentary, with fictional plot thrown in. I liked the way that worked. The director of the film, John Stainton, was so taken by the reality of Irwin's Crocodile Hunter television show that he wanted to make it a large part of the big-screen version. He wanted to avoid putting Steve totally in a big screen, make-believe role. That makes watching this film like watching Animal Planet. Pretty much all of his encounters with the extremely dangerous animals are real and a lot of his lines ad-libbed. The fictional component of this movie is kept pretty simple, but Irwin's on-screen antics make up for that. This surely won't be an Academy Award winner, but it's a decent summertime distraction.

Favorite Part: Steve's comments when dealing with these animals were often unintentionally funny. His genuine but exaggerated reactions to the crocodiles' movements, and the way he talks to them like they're children, were comical.

Recommendations: Any fans of the show will love the movie. It's Animal Planet with a twist.

Grade: B-

-- Billy Norris, 14, will be in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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