Crikey! Getting this review copy in the mail made me feel old. Imagine a fish-out-of-water story where a reporter (Linda Kowlowski) discovers a true Australian legend Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) and brings him to New York City for the first time ever, and wackiness ensues.
With a simple but effective premise here, CROCODILE DUNDEE was a sensation upon release in 1986; not only was it naturally a smash hit in Australia, but Paramount released it to great audience success, so much so spawning two sequels. I remember as a kid seeing this on a double bill with TOP GUN when on vacation in California (back in the day when Paramount and other studios would do official double bills late into their run) and this was a big gateway into my love of movies. Watching them decades later as an adult…oh, the first movie has its big issues, but still remains pretty entertaining enough throughout just to recommend on the chemistry between Hogan and Kowlowski, who wound up getting married a few years later and remained together for decades.
I wish I could say the same praise about its baffling sequels, CROCODILE DUNDEE II (1989) and the even more bewildering CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES (2001!) both of which continued the joke and knew the words but not the music. The sequels mostly hang on the antics of Hogan who DOES have moments of charm, but I found myself not really that invested in the storyline. Even Kowlowski seems to be just going through the motions here, even though the two actors found love.
About The Blu Ray:
This is a nicely put together Blu Ray release of the entire trilogy of movies which is a first for Paramount Home Video, having had many DVD and Blu Ray re-releases over the years. The first two movies are just repackaged here, so much so that the original Paramount High Definition logos load in when the movie starts. The first two movies were shot in anamorphic and look totally fine for HD with a good colour balance and film-grain look, and LOS ANGELES was shot in the 1.85 aspect ratio which takes on a very different, if more modern look, for the trilogy. None of these are mind-blowing restorations of any kind, but are totally fine for Blu Ray. Sound-wise, I was a little surprised to see the original movie with DTS 2.0 audio ONLY, while the last two have DTS 5.1 tracks. None of them really stand out anyway and suit the comedy as serviceable.
There are hardly any bonus features to be found here; a trailer for the first movie, a trailer and a quick doc on the second and third movies. The package is your standard Blu Ray case where the first movie is on a spindle and II/Los Angeles are together on the same spindle. Digital Copies are also included which redeem to Apple TV all in HD, which is always a nice touch. While having features isn’t really a deal-breaker for me, I would have still loved to see Hogan pop in on a commentary track or a more modern documentary reflecting on the series that made him famous.
This set is a strange one to recommend; I enjoyed the hit ’86 original but felt the two sequels were really lacking, despite a strong Paul Hogan in the lead with such a likeable personality. The whole series seems to be more of an idea to showcase Hogan but not really following through on a decent storyline or characters. That said, I know that this series still has its fans and I DO recommend this affordable package to them to have all of the movies on your shelf for a little pick-me-up.
CROCODILE DUNDEE TRILOGY is now available on Blu Ray. Many thanks to Paramount PR for sending along a copy for review.