Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Crocodile


AKA Further Evidence (If Any Was Needed) of the Demise of Tobe Hooper’s Career…
2000
Dir. Tobe Hooper

When you begin to watch a film about the rampage of a giant crocodile, you pretty much know what to expect. None of what you expect will be good. I’m guessing.
When you begin to watch a film about the rampaging of a giant crocodile as directed by Tobe Hooper, you might die a little inside from the sadness and shame of what this once sort of interesting and inventive filmmaker has been reduced to.

Take some annoying, buffed and polished ‘hot’ characters (thirty-somethings playing teens never grows old). Add some mind-numblingly stupid dialogue, a cute/rubbish dog, an utterly tripe soundtrack full of cheap rip-off rock music. Throw in an artery-hardening dose of really bargain-bin and downright-shoddy-even-for-a-low-budget-film ‘special’ effects. Hey presto, you have just concocted the shameful wonderment that is Tobe Hooper’s Crocodile. *gasp*

The only thing that had me hiding behind the couch during this one was the fact that it was just so head-achingly, mind-deadeningly, heart-breakingly bad. You might ask, ‘what did you expect?!’ And you’d be right to. Well, to answer your question, the movie was everything I expected it to be. I'm not complaining - someone gave it to me as a present and I had nothing better to do with my time. Really.



Characterisation in a film like this is beyond redundant – most viewers will probably just want to see nubile young bodies being chewed on by a giant crocodile with a dubious modus-operandi (said nubile bodies stole croc’s eggs for a laugh, you see. Hilarious). We don’t care if the guy with less spiky hair than the other guys is in love with the girl called Claire. Anyway, Claire is too busy getting her arse out to care, so why should we. We also don’t care if Annoying Jock #2 is like totally flunking his mid-terms, and thinks ‘Pizza is like sex’. But, you gotta take the rough with the smooth in a movie like Crocodile. Just. Die.

One of the girls wears contacts and disapproves of Annoying Jock #3’s friends, so I’m guessing she’s supposed to be the intelligent one. There are also a couple of ole’ Redneck boys fishing in a restricted area and discussing the unfathomable wonder that is the universe. Actually they don’t discuss that at all, but they do say stuff like ‘cock-sucking animal rights hippy bullshit’, spit a lot and get eaten very quickly by the giant croc. Said giant croc then disposes of the evidence by pushing the men’s car into the lake… clever croc.

During the obligatory camp-fire scene the teens discuss the old abandoned hotel in the middle of the bayou. Apparently the giant crocodile scared away all the tourists and the owner of the hotel went insane. This is revealed to have never happened but it sounds more interesting than the rest of the rubbish spouted by these morons. The next day the teens frolic in the water and the guys indulge in some homo-erotic pulling down of each other’s pants while the girls (apart from the ‘intelligent’ one) dreamily look on and say stuff like ‘Wow, isn’t Chad like the cutest!?’ Every now and again we are treated to glimpses of a giant plastic crocodile floating ‘menacingly’ close by our group of teens.

Upon discovering a severed arm and the fact that a couple of their friends are missing, there is much swishing of hair, hands on hips and idiots saying, ‘ok guys, I think we’re like totally lost.’ Like, oh my god.
The crocodile attacks are limp and laughable. But as they continue they just get depressing. Character stands too close to water. Giant, badly computer-generated crocodile snaps them up. It’s as quick and tensionless as that. When we finally get to see the croc in all its shoddy glory, it is beyond bad. It will most likely make you yearn for the ‘croc-vision’ used at the beginning of the film to make a return.

Eventually we are left with three characters in a gruelling scene involving a wheelbarrow and bug spray. And not gruelling in the way you might think, in that ‘oh they’ve made it! How gruelling.’ Just gruelling. Bad.

‘You guys? What if that thing is really magical? That means we’re not safe!’
The only time Hooper offers us a glance of his ‘usual high standards’ is in a scene featuring a creepy Gator Farm, complete with grotesque props, grimy skulls and dirty walls and a vague hint of sweltering and stifling atmosphere. When the characters arrive at Bob’s Convenience store you almost hope that Leatherface greets them at the door. There is also some unsettling talk about ‘death rolls’ and humans being reduced to ‘flappin’ bits of meat’ and there seems to be an attempt on the writer’s part to mythologize the giant beast.

Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Except the scene where the giant, badly computer-generated croc jumps clean out of the water, soars above the boat in slow motion, pirouettes and gobbles up the sheriff. You should watch that bit.

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