Words by Michael McAtomney
Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Eagles and the Patriots was a nail biting game. It ended in an unexpected victory that pleased Eagles fans across the globe and the millions more who just detest Tom Brady. For the others, the game was — as it is every year — all about the commercials. At $5 million per thirty-second ad spot, the advertising game that goes on around the Super Bowl each year is second to none. As a viewer without the faintest idea about football or Tom Brady, the ads were the reason I sat through a sixty minute game that lasts for four hours.
I’ll admit bias here, but as an Australian expat in New York, no advertisement stood out more this year than that of a new sequel to the 80s hit film Crocodile Dundee starring US actor Danny McBride and Australia’s Chris Hemsworth. For weeks prior to the game, trailers for the new Dundee film swirled around the internet accompanied by a spate of rumors as to where this film emerged from and why no-one had heard anything about it. In the end, this delightful package of viral Youtube content turned to be nothing more than an elaborate marketing campaign by Tourism Australia — kudos to Tourism Australia and Droga5 (the ad agency) for such a brilliant campaign. Yet the end of the Super Bowl was far from the end of the internet chatter about the prospect of a new Crocodile Dundee film.
In the week since the event, numerous petitions have circulated calling for someone to fund and make the full feature film as well as actors publicly stating their interest in being involved, which leads one to ask what a sequel to the 1986 hit film would look like. The original Crocodile Dundee is undeniably one of Australia’s most well-known pieces of cinema, it is still to this day Australia’s highest grossing film at the Box Office and it made Aussie comedian and television star Paul Hogan a household name around the world, all while boosting Australian cinema to a truly international audience. Speaking from experience, you’d be hard pressed to find an Australian living in the United States that hasn’t been asked to “put another shrimp on the barbie”. Though 1986 was exactly that: 1986.
Thirty-two years later, Australia has gone through multiple cultural shifts. Though the Australian reputation for larrikinism is still as strong as ever, the commercial icons of Australian culture such as Foster’s have been replaced. In their stead, we have Instagram pictures of avocado toast from bougie millennials and an endless photostream of people wearing activewear on the beach. Melbourne has been voted the most livable city in the world by The Economist and Monocle Magazine multiple times over the last decade with Sydney following closely behind in the ranks. Australia has changed and none of this is bad. It has learnt how to flex its muscle as a soft-power nation with an economy that not only withstood the 2008 financial crisis, but thrived throughout.
Although many people ranging from politicians to actors to hotel proprietors in the far reaches of the country (where the original film was set) have said that they would welcome a new installment of Crocodile Dundee, it is the urban Australia that would most benefit from this renewed global exposure to the modern Australian way of life. There is an ongoing debate about whether Australia actually has a culture of its own, or whether it just chooses to adopt the best of places such as Great Britain, America and South East Asia.
In my humble opinion, it is the multiculturalism of both the capital and regional cities, the unique mixture of cross-generational immigrants from all corners of the globe, that define 21st century Australia. This Australia has yet to be adequately showcased on an international stage (see Australia).
It is hard to imagine how a director should approach a new take on the Australian cult film, although the laid back attitude, affiliation with the outdoors and the bushman-like ways of the legendary Mick Dundee are still present in the Australian attitude.
It should be this new Australia, the urban Australia, the Australia that finally legalised Gay Marriage and offers a quality of life comparable to any nation on earth that should be showcased if the American son of Mick Dundee returns Down Under. With big-screen talent such as Chris Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Hugh Jackman and Danny McBride, it’s undeniable that a new Crocodile Dundee film would attract audiences far and wide. If nothing else it would stir conversation around how far Australia has come as a nation in the twenty-first century.
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