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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Dean Murphy
Cast:
Paul Hogan, Rachael Carpani, Kerry Armstrong
Writing Credits:
Robert Mond, Dean Murphy

Synopsis:
Paul Hogan is reluctantly thrust back into the spotlight as he desperately attempts to restore his sullied reputation on the eve of being knighted.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 2/16/2021

Bonus:
• “Behind the Scenes” Featurette
• Trailer & Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 22, 2021)

Back in 1986, Crocodile Dundee became a surprise hit in the US. American audiences knew actor Paul Hogan from his popular “throw a shrimp on the barbie” Australia tourism commercials, but no one anticipated his feature film would do much.

As it happens, Crocodile Dundee made $174 million in the US and barely wound up in second place for the year, only a couple million behind Top Gun. This appeared to push toward a Dundee franchise.

Then came 1988’s Crocodile Dundee II. Though a definite drop from its predecessor, the film did fairly well, as it still churned $109 million, a number enough for sixth place that year – ahead of classics like Die Hard and Beetlejuice.

Despite those positive returns, Hogan left Dundee behind for more than a decade. He returned to the role for 2001’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, a massive flop. It earned a mere $25 million in the US, a figure that plopped it in 87th place for the year.

Nearly 20 years later, Hogan returns to the role for 2020’s The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee - sort of. Here Hogan plays himself, an actor in retirement who wants nothing more than to leave his most famous role behind him.

However, the public refuses to do so, and Dundee’s biggest fan – Queen Elizabeth II – wants to knight him. Hogan seems less than excited about this, but his manager Angie (Rachael Carpani) pushes him back into the limelight.

Before Hogan can accept the honor, he runs into a mix of shenanigans that threaten his comeback. Hogan works to keep his reputation intact while circumstances conspire against him.

If I search for a positive here, the simple fact that Excellent avoids the usual sequel process seems like a good thing. I don’t know how much of an audience for continued Dundee adventures exists, but the 2001 flick appeared to demonstrate “not much” was the answer, and I don’t get the impression that situation changed over the subsequent two decades.

As such, the choice of Excellent to provide a wink-wink meta concept seems like an appropriate choice – in theory, at least. The film could potentially bring a clever view of life as a faded celebrity.

It doesn’t.

Excellent starts in a mildly promising manner, perhaps because the concept comes with a bit of energy. The opening scene shows some potential for laughs, and it gives the viewer some optimism.

Unfortunately, from there Excellent just becomes one cheap sight gag sequence after another, with little to connect them. Hogan blunders from one humiliating sequence to the next and attempts to milk chortles from his endless embarrassment.

The occasional chuckle does emerge, mainly via the slew of cameos we find. John Cleese and Chevy Chase manage to locate humor in their brief spots.

Unfortunately, those instances occur infrequently, and Excellent relies too heavily on all these guest spots. In addition to Cleese and Chase, we get appearances from Olivia Newton-John, Reginald VelJohnson, Wayne Knight and Luke Hemsworth, among others.

These usually feel gratuitous, and I sense the filmmakers think the recognition value will become entertainment enough for the audience. It doesn’t, mainly because the cameos suffer through so many stale stabs at humor.

While there’s nothing wrong with the movie’s attempts to poke fun at show biz and the celebrity culture, Excellent can’t find anything new to say. It goes after low-hanging fruit and lacks cleverness.

Poor Hogan looks unhappy to find himself involved in the movie, and he appears bored with the whole endeavor. He plods his way through the proceedings and mails in his performance.

Who can blame him? If I found myself stuck in such a tedious, uninspired endeavor as Excellent, I’d feel pretty glum as well. This semi-attempt to revive the Crocodile Dundee franchise goes down too few interesting paths.


The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus D

The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This direct-to-video effort came with a fine presentation for the SD-DVD format.

Overall definition looked positive. Softness crept into wider shots, but the majority of the movie offered nice delineation and accuracy within the DVD capabilities.

No issues with jaggies materialized, and I witnessed no signs of edge haloes or source flaws. Some light moiré effects occasionally impacted clothes but these instances remained minor.

Excellent opted for a semi-natural palette with only a mild lean toward the usual amber and teal. The disc reproduced the hues in a reasonable manner.

Blacks seemed dark and dense, while low-light shots offered good smoothness and clarity. Ultimately, the image was more than satisfactory given the limitations of SD-DVD.

In addition, the movie’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack suited the material. Music dominated the proceedings, and the songs/soundtrack used the various channels in a reasonable manner.

Effects had less to do, as they focused mainly on ambience. Given the emphasis on music, that was fine, and the sides/surrounds provided enough material to succeed within their limitations.

Audio quality also pleased. Again, music became the most dominant aspect of the mix, and the songs/score boasted fine range and impact.

Speech came across as natural and concise, whereas effects seemed accurate and realistic. Nothing here dazzled, but the track worked for the movie.

Behind the Scenes runs five minutes, 30 seconds and brings notes from writer/director Dean Murphy and actors Paul Hogan, Wayne Knight, Nate Torrence, Chevy Chase, Jacob Elordi, Rachael Carpani and John Cleese.

“Scenes” discusses the Dundee character, story areas, cast and performances, and the project’s development. A few minor insighrs emerge, but “Scenes” mainly offers promotional fluff.

The disc opens with ads for Lena & Snowball and Iron Mask. We also get the trailer for Excellent.

Nearly 20 years after the character’s final film, Paul Hogan semi-revives Crocodile Dundee via The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee. While I appreciate the movie’s attempts to do something different, it lacks creativity, cleverness or basic entertainment value. The DVD gives us generally positive picture and audio but it lacks substantial bonus materials. Though Excellent could be worse, it still becomes a fairly witless endeavor.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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