The huge box office smash of 1986, Paul Hogan won audiences over with his endearing turn as Mick “Crocodile” Dundee. Some people are born for certain roles. The Australian was perfect for portraying a bushman more suited to the Outback than the big city in one of the funniest scripts from the Eighties. A classic fish out of water story with adventure, big laughs, and believable romance, “Crocodile” Dundee entertains as much today as when I first watched it on Betamax. Presented on Blu-ray as part of a double-feature with its inferior sequel, this classic film is one you’ll want to add to your collection.
Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) is a sophisticated New York City journalist. Hearing a report about a man surviving a crocodile attack by killing it with his bare hands, she goes down under to investigate the legend of “Crocodile” Dundee. The film effortlessly introduces the charming Australian, a man adopted by the native Aborigines as one of their own. Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) is the real deal with a friendly, engaging personality. Feeling more at home in the arid lands of the Outback, Mick barely knows anything about Western culture. He barely knows what television is and doesn’t know much of the world beyond his local watering hole and rugged life in the Outback.
Sue has met up with Mick so the native Australian can take the intrepid journalist deep into the Outback, where he survived his fearsome confrontation with a giant crocodile. She is a typical city girl and has a predictably hilarious reaction to roughing it with snakes and the local wildlife. As Mick proves his toughness and survival knowledge are not an act, his easygoing personality begins to charm Sue. One of the great things about “Crocodile” Dundee is in its smooth development of the romance between Sue and Mick. While the story never deviates too much from Hollywood’s standard romantic conventions, nothing in it ever feels forced or hackneyed. It becomes fairly believable this beautiful, independent woman would fall for the friendly Australian.
Nearing the end of her stay in Australia, Sue contrives an excuse for Mick to visit New York City. Mick has never been outside of the Outback and this is his opportunity to explore the outside world. Just as Sue was a fish out of water in the rough world of the Outback, Mick is a complete newcomer to the ways of the modern Western world. He takes everything in about New York City with a wide-eyed and curious approach, often to laugh-inducing results. Will the two end up together or will their different backgrounds drive them apart? Can Mick’s rugged individualism adapt to the crowded streets of New York City? A host of memorable characters interact with Mick to answer these questions.
For many Americans, Paul Hogan’s memorable creation of Mick Dundee is the first thing that comes to mind when they think of Australia. The film’s success is a testament to his extraordinary charisma and personality in the role, not to mention a perfect Hollywood script that smoothly tells Mick’s story. Amazing chemistry between the two leads don’t hurt, either. They barely kiss but Paul Hogan and Linda Kozlowski share a very believable romance in their roles.
The 1986 hit arrives on Blu-ray in a fairly satisfying presentation. Its 35mm film stock mostly survives intact in the properly-framed 1080p video at its native scope ratio. Cinematographer Russell Boyd makes good use of the scenic landscape in Australia. Some of the interior shots and a soft opening scene are flat and dull. This is not an award-winning film restoration but one that does bring new vitality to older film stock in high-definition quality.
The film transfer is a slightly older one that shows hints of minor processing. A touch of ringing results from possible sharpening, though the problem is not particularly serious for videophiles. Exterior shots are reasonably sharp with decent levels of fine detail. The movie’s cinematography is a tad inconsistent, wavering in overall picture quality depending on the location. A nice contrast with solid black levels bolsters the picture quality despite a flat color palette.
Paramount’s AVC video encode effortlessly handles the fine grain structure of “Crocodile” Dundee. The 97-minute film is given its own BD-50 in this double-feature set, a nice touch that many studios try to cheap out on. Averaging a very high 37.44 Mbps for the main feature, every aspect of the film print is cleanly replicated without artifacts.
The older film transfer was likely struck from an Interpositive in better than average condition. It has stable grain and only a few instances of debris make an appearance. This Blu-ray edition is a clear improvement over the DVD and easily worth the upgrade in video quality. It doesn’t quite have the type of ultra-fine resolution common to the newest 4K film scans but still produces an enjoyable experience.
The main soundtrack is a strong 2.0 DTS-HD MA option with serious stereo separation. Intelligible dialogue and clean sound effects are nicely situated in the stereo field, rendered in excellent fidelity. It is a tad shy on bass. but that is a small complaint. For a film that came out of nowhere in the 1980s, the active sound design is robust and sounds better than expected.
A number of sub and dub options are included by Paramount. Dubs include a 2.0 Portuguese Dolby Digital at 224 kbps, 2.0 French Dolby Digital at 224 kbps, and 2.0 Spanish Dolby Digital. The following optional subs display in a dull white font, inside the widescreen framing: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The double-feature set contains very few special features, unless you count the inclusion of the sequel itself as a bonus feature. The original movie only gets a trailer. Please read the review of its sequel for further information about this set.
Theatrical Trailer (02:40 in HD) – The film print for this vintage trailer is in good condition.
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Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.