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Cane Toads: a frustrating DVD for a frustrating documentary

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Cane Toads: a frustrating DVD for a frustrating documentary

Old 10-28-03, 08:29 PM
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Cane Toads: a frustrating DVD for a frustrating documentary

I've been really looking forward to seeing the Australian documentary "Cane Toads." (It got a Bad DVDTalk Review but I still thought it sounded interesting). Besides, I just wanted to see a DVD with as great a cover as this:

The basic idea is that toads were introduced to eat grubs and beetles that were killing the sugarcane crops. Instead of solving the problem, these toads ended up eating everything BUT the beetles and toads, and ceaselessly mated until large parts of Australia were overrun with toads. How can you go wrong when you're starting from there??

Well, unfortunately, the documentary itself leaves much to be desired. There are some interesting moments here, but the general premise ends up being more interesting than the documentary as it unfolds. It isn't quite a comedy. It certainly isn't a serious scientific documentary. It could've easily gone one way or the other and been great. Instead it just waffled around and was pretty bad in general.

My favorite scene was with the little girl on the cover. The toad she plays with (which happens to have multiple names, but the best name is "Dairy Queen"... a great name for a 10 pound male toad if I ever heard one!). But after you've watched the little girl hold Dairy Queen by the arms and jiggle him around ("He's dancing!") and chase him across the yard, then tickle his stomach a few times... there isn't much more replay value

I had seen reviews calling the DVD transfer poor, usually saying it looks like a VHS recording. Unfortunately, it's WORSE than that. This was obviously originally made for television, so I was very confused when all the titles were cut off on the right side of the screen. My first thought was that they had cropped a widescreen version (but why would they have made one in the first place?). Could this have been the result of really poor PAL -> NTSC conversion? I don't know.

Cane Toads is really a sad DVD transfer of a sad film. This could've been a fascinating film. Instead, it just wasn't.

I like bizarre and eclectic movies and REALLY wanted to love Cane Toads. Unfortunately it's a renter at best, and then only if you are irresistably drawn to watch the little girl on the cover play with a toad as big as her head. Otherwise, the vast majority of people should steer clear.
Old 10-29-03, 08:43 AM
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I completely disagree with your assessment of the documentary itself, I've watched it many times and truly enjoy it. I've found it to be a hilarious and fascinating study of the devestating effects of human ignorance of island ecosystems. It's funny, informative and consistently entertaining.

I have no idea about the disc, but seeing as this is a somewhat obscure Australian documentary shot in the early eighties on video, suffice it to say I'm not surprised it sucks.
Old 10-29-03, 08:59 AM
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Yeah, what Hiro 11 said...I've got the dvd and the picture & audio indeed sucks,but I still love it.
Old 10-29-03, 10:51 AM
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I just wished it had gone a bit further into either the campy category or the science category. The pseudo-scientists seemed to just say the same thing over and over. That being said--I'm glad I was able to track it down and rent it and I'm glad it's on DVD.

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