Directed by: Mark Lewis
Released: June 2, 2011
Grade: C+

Having opened the Brisbane International Film Festival last November, Cane Toads: The Conquest is now receiving a limited release in cinemas across Australia.  It’s been billed as “Australia’s first 3D movie” but don’t go along expecting an Avatar-like experience.  This is an unorthodox documentary about one of this country’s least liked creatures.

The movie opens with information on how cane toads were first introduced in Australia.  We then move west across the country and see the enormity of the plague first hand.  Much has been done to try to stop the spread of cane toads but it’s a battle yet to be won.  It’s hard to fight an adversary who is endlessly reproducing!

I applaud the efforts of director Mark Lewis in making this film but unfortunately, I don’t find cane toads all that interesting.  He’s tried to spice things up with a little comedy (a good move) but it all feels too forced, too obvious.  A humorous scene involving a couple and their pet dog (injured after trying to eat a cane toad) was unconvincing.

I don’t want to sound too disparaging because there were a few laughs at the preview screening I attended.  The audience wasn’t perturbed by the slimy subject matter and they took amusement from those who have kept cane toads as pets.  We even meet one interviewee who has started up his own travelling toad museum.

The market for Cane Toads: The Conquest seems to be limited but if you’re looking for something other than the big Hollywood blockbusters that are clogging our cinemas, this might be for you.