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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files (2000)

"He's been tormented all his life, and now he thinks we mean to kill him!"
- Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter

Review By: Dale Dobson  
Published: June 15, 2001

Stars: Steve Irwin, Terri Irwin
Other Stars: various crocodiles, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats
Director: John Stainton

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild danger)
Run Time: 01h:28m:45s
Release Date: May 22, 2001
UPC: 012236118091
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ A-BB C-

DVD Review

Steve Irwin, a.k.a. The Crocodile Hunter, has been thrilling and educating audiences for several years on the Animal Planet cable television network. Best known for his apparently foolhardy willingness to take on crocodiles, snakes and other wild creatures hand-to-hand, Irwin has been only too happy to play this image up in order to educate viewers about the animals he knows and cares about. The success of his original series Crocodile Hunter led to the younger-skewing Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files, four episodes of which are presented on Artisan's DVD release.

The program's style is typical of recent educational TV programming, with a cute opening animation, a rap/techno theme song, trivia bits and pacing designed for short attention spans; in this regard, Croc Files resembles Zoboomafoo and others of its ilk. But Irwin and his wife and partner Terri bring a natural, genuine passion and excitement to the subject‹Irwin's boyish Aussie glee is infectious, and Terri is a capable, intelligent female role model without ever seeming to campaign for the position. Both are knowledgeable and credible, hosting most episodes from their home base at Australia Zoo, a conservationist facility they operate in Queensland, Australia. One can't help but respect the Irwins, as much for their willingness to play to the crowd as for their obvious commitment to nature.

The four episodes on this DVD are fairly varied, but thematically similar, suitable for watching in no particular order. The first, Charlie sends Steve and his colleagues (including Terri, of course, and his dad) to rescue the titular critter, a saltwater crocodile raised in muddy, neglected isolation on a crocodile farm. It's a major struggle to get Charlie into a huge, bolted crate so he can be moved to more hospitable surroundings, where a follow-up visit nearly gets a video camera eaten by the aggressive but much healthier croc.

A trip to the Pacific Northwest brings the show to a very pregnant Terri's old stomping grounds in the USA, where a visit to Oregon's Wildlife Safari park provides a close-up look at bison, deer, snakes, and various North American mammals. The Crocodile Hunter himself utters what has to be one of the most unintentionally hilarious lines of his career, joyously exclaiming, "We're about to anesthetize an elk!"

Aussie Legends surveys the unique mammalian population Down Under, as Steve and Terri visit with possums, kangaroos, wallabies, a Rufus betong, a koala, a bandicoot and a cranky wombat. Young viewers will delight in the variety of creatures on respectful display here, and may even learn that real bandicoots aren't orange.

How to Catch a Crocodile returns to Steve Irwin's roots as a popular entertainer, as he and his team work to capture "Nobby," a huge, dangerous crocodile who has lost part of his lower jaw in a battle and needs to be relocated to a conflict-free zone.

I wish this DVD were more extensive‹the four 22-minute episodes go by very quickly indeed, though every one is fun to watch and educational to boot. Good stuff from Steve and Terri Irwin.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The Crocodile Hunter's Croc Files program retains its original 1.33:1 full-frame television aspect ratio on DVD, mastered from broadcast-quality videotape. Some scan-line aliasing and smeariness in outdoor settings betray the show's video origins, but the DVD transfer is very colorful and studio footage is generally crisp. A decent digital rendition of recent broadcast material.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: Artisan presents Croc Files in Dolby 2.0 Surround format. It's a typical television mix, generally centered with some bass and a few stereo and surround effects. Dialogue is clear, and nothing appears to have been lost in the transition to DVD.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 35 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Steve and Terri's Mission
  2. Fact File
  3. Croc Cam
  4. Safety Tips in Croc Country
Extras Review: Artisan and Animal Planet support the Croc Files disc with ample chaptering and several simple but informative still-image supplements, appropriate to the subject if not particularly substantial:

Steve and Terri's Mission:

A mission statement from the Irwins, setting forth their commendable intent to "promote conservation through exciting education."

Fact File:

Five screens of interesting trivia facts about crocodiles, sure to appeal to inquiring young minds.

Croc Cam:

A photo gallery of 20 color photographs, depicting Steve, Terri and their animal co-stars in candid moments.

Safety Tips in Croc Country:

Six screens of valuable, sometimes surprising tips to keep in mind should one encounter a crocodile (or other potentially dangerous creature) in the wild.

Extras Grade: C-

 

Final Comments

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, continues to impress and educate, even as he risks life and limb for our entertainment. Artisan's four-episode Croc Files DVD release is a nice, if brief, collection for fans young and old.

 


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