Pick of the Week – June 30-July 6, 2014

To paraphrase Wil Wheaton, being a geek isn’t about what you love but how much you love it.  By that definition, Steve Irwin was possibly the biggest animal geek who ever lived.  Every episode of his nature documentary television series, The Crocodile Hunter, showed his boundless enthusiasm for the various creatures of the Earth.

My son was a big fan of the show and told us that he was going to marry Irwin’s daughter, Bindi, one day.  As ridiculous as it sounded, I had a flashing thought of being in-laws with the Irwins.  The idea of Steve taking me to the Outback to show me around was both hilarious and horrifying.

While some might question his techniques, there was no doubt that Irwin loved what he did.  But in 2002, near the height of his popularity, he decided (or possibly was talked into) doing something very different: starring in a movie.  That film, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, is my pick for this week.

Ok.  Let’s be very honest here for a moment.  This is not a great movie.  Steve Irwin will not dazzle you with his thespian skills.  According to IMDB.com, he improvised all of his lines anyway.  Actually, he doesn’t seem to know he’s in a movie for most of it, which is pretty much the collision course of the title.  He and his wife, Terri, are off filming their TV series, while in the other half of the movie, there’s a plot involving the CIA and a lost satellite happening.  These scenes of the two storylines are even shot in different aspect ratios until the plots collide.

But if you enjoyed Irwin’s personality and can sit back and go along with a bit (well, a lot) of goofiness, this movie is a fun way to spend a couple of hours.  There’s one bit of dialogue in the movie that summarizes Steve Irwin for me.  He and Terri are preparing to head deep into the outback and tell their viewers something along the lines of the following:

TERRI: This part of the outback is home to some of the most dangerous snakes in the world.

STEVE: And if we’re lucky, we might find them!

For me, and probably most people, finding the most dangerous snakes in the world does not qualify as lucky.  Steve Irwin was not most people, though.  The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course does the smart thing and lets Steve be Steve.  I may have thought he was nuts, but he was sure fun to watch.  

- Alan Decker

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