I'm happy to admit that I'm a big Paul Hogan fan. No matter which movie of his is on I always enjoy his Aussie larrikin sense of humour - probably in part because he reminds me so much of my own dad, similar looks, same sense of comedy. After a fairly long hiatus (probably in part because he is battling the Australian Tax Office) Paul Hogan was back on the silver screens in late 2009 with Charlie & Boots and he's brought along Shane Jacobson, star of another fantastic Australian comedy, Kenny
When Charlie McFarlane (Paul Hogan) withdraws from his life after a family tragedy, his estranged son, "Boots" (Shane Jacobson) decides to drag his reluctant father on a trip to fulfill their lifelong ambition to fish off Australia's northern tip in Cape York. The feisty Charlie wants no part in this crazy idea, but propelled by Boots’ determination, they travel across the country towards their faraway destination.
When joined by a young and upbeat hitchhiker, Jess (Morgan Griffin), they are compelled to view their relationship in a new light. Old wounds are reopened and family secrets are revealed against a backdrop of beautiful landscapes and new perspectives. This heartfelt journey shows two of Australia’s great comic talents in a story that will touch your soul as well as make you smile.
There really are some genuinely amusing scenes in Charlie & Boots including having the car towed by some locals, the rodeo event, telling off the bowling ladies for cutting them off in the car and a classic scene . But it's not all comedy as the movie has a serious side and heartfelt side with Charlie looking to deal with the loss of his wife while Boots looks to repair his relationship with his father.
It's not up there with Crocodile Dundee, and it feels a bit like a tourism promotional reel in places, but I really do enjoy Charlie & Boots as a fun road trip movie. I've seen it a few times now, and it's a movie I would happily watch many times over.
We have to say that after seeing this movie in cinemas we were quite keen to check out the Blu-Ray transfer to see some of the gorgeous cinematography around the Australian landscapes again. Indeed there are some scenes in this AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer, that is encoded in the films original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, that really shine, in particular those outdoor shots showing the gorgeous Australian landscape.
There were, though some scenes which appeared a little grainy including those indoors in low light areas as well as when Charlie and Boots are buying the strawberries (from 16:25 to 17:01).
The second audio option on this Blu-Ray disc is an English Audio Description track encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 192kbps. There is only one subtitle track on this release, an English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired. The subtitles are accurate to the dialogue and audio on screen and clear to read.
One thing that made me very happy was the number of extras on this Blu-Ray. We're not talking 20 minutes of promotional styled featurettes, but hours of actual documentaries which are very entertaining in their own right.
Audio Commentary with Paul Hogan, Shane Jacobson and Sharna Levine (Producer): It's clear the three participants have a good rapport and this is a lively, entertaining commentary. There are quite a few jokes told but also quite a bit of information about the locations and actors in the film.
Making of Charlie & Boots (1:51:26/HD): Running for just under 2 hours this is a quite comprehensive look at the making of the film which covers all the bases from writing the film, to filming. It's very interesting, has some great footage so make sure you check out this great extra which adds a lot of value to this release.
60 Minutes Story with Paul Hogan & Shane Jacobson (13:40/HD): This is your typical 60 Minutes piece which contains plenty of good interviews with the two stars, and also some of the Tamworth locals which is where they were filming. Charles Woolley, the interviewer, is pretty good and you have to love his "scene".
Showtime Special: Interviews/Behind the Scenes/Red Carpet Coverage (9:20/HD): A couple of short promotional pieces that were shown on Showtime. There's not much detail here that hasn't been covered, more extensively, in the other features on the disc.
Review By: Dave Warner