Lake Placid (1999)
By: Devon B. on August 17, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
Fox Home Entertainment (Australia). Region 2 & 4, PAL. 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 5.1. English (FHI) subtitles. 78 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Steve Miner
Starring: Bill Pullman, Bridget Fonda, Oliver Platt, Brendan Gleeson
Screenplay: David E. Kelley
Country: USA
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
I remember watching TV almost a decade ago, and seeing an ad for Lake Placid. I couldn't believe a croc movie was coming to the cinemas, and began going into a special kind of obsessive overdrive I only seem to save for creature features. When my wife got home she was accosted with blatherings about this movie coming out that I was dragging her to. As always, she was thrilled.

Lake Placid has an utterly ludicrous plot, but makes no apologies for it. A crocodile has turned up in a lake in Maine and is eating people that venture into its territory. At first the sheriff and the game warden are confused about what could be attacking people, because a crocodile isn't exactly a logical explanation, but an expert from a museum is sent in to help figure out what's going on and to be a convenient love interest. A rich, eccentric guy turns up to help track the croc, and the team quickly establish that, logic be damned, it's definitely a crocodile. What to do next remains a point of disagreement in the team, and a local old lady who lives on the lake seems to be hiding a few things…

Normally the people in this type of movie are completely disposable, and the more disposed of the better, but Lake Placid benefits greatly with the casting of Oliver Platt as the eccentric and Brendan Gleeson as the sheriff. These two are great fun together, and make even the non-croc related moments entertaining. They don't fully rescue the movie from mumbley Bill Pullman or anti-nepotism poster girl Bridget Fonda stinking up the screen, but Platt and Gleeson were a nice bonus in a crocodile movie. In fact, I suspect they're what made it a movie both my wife and I enjoyed, which is a rarity when it comes to movies I pick. Even more golden nowadays girl Betty White is very memorable as the old lady of the lake.

The script is often funny, and the story moves along at such a fast pace the movie seems like it's nearly over before you've even sat down in your seat. As escapist pap, it's almost flawless, as you are constantly distracted by what's happening on screen, but shouldn't think about what you've just seen at all. This would've been fun to see at a drive-in. Doubled with the equally credible Alligator! It might almost seem like a doco night.

The croc in Lake Placid is brought to life via barely passable CG and some very good traditional effects from Stan Winston. As alluded to, there's not a whole lot of realism involved with this crocodile or its behaviour, but it's living in Maine so what can you expect? This huge artistic license in the film's premise allows you to switch your brain off straight away and enjoy some mindless fun, making this one of the best croc movies I've ever seen.
Video
Lake Placid is presented at 2.35:1. The movie's newer, so is pretty clean, however, it is a film from the era when DVD was just taking off, and technology has improved in the years since. The film is less sharp then you'd expect today, and the colours a little saturated. There are also some spots and specks.
Audio
The sound is a 5.1 track, and you get opportunity for things to whip past you and crunch loudly.
Extra Features
Again, DVD was just taking off, so all we get here is a five and half minute fluff featurette which mentions some Ally McBeal connection that is best ignored. This featurette is really only of interest if you want to check out Gleeson's actual speaking voice, as he always seems to be doing accents his films. Three TV spots are included, and bios for the principle cast and David Kelley (TV Warrior).
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
This movie may be due for a deluxe edition soon, but it also wasn't a tremendous success because people are stupid and don't see greatness where they should. The current release is cheaper than Heinz Spaghetti (if you were to buy like 11 tins or more), so you should get it.

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