Sam Neill Update: SuperCroc, Apartheid, Boat Kidnapping

SuperCroc (2001 TV)
Not to be confused with the monster movie of the same name, this is a National Geographic documentary narrated by Sam Neill!

It didn't walk with dinosaurs... IT ATE THEM!!!

The Movie: The documentary follows a paleontologist and a crocodile expert traveling the world to study modern day crocodiles in an attempt to make educated guesses about what the ancient supercroc (or Sarcosuchus, if you want to get technical) was like. The documentary began with digging up some Sarcosuchus bones in the Sahara, including a massive skull, but without more of the body they needed measurements and ratios from modern versions to guess at how big supercroc was (answer: about 40 feet long, 8.75 tons). Interspersed with capturing and measuring the world’s different crocodile and alligator species is kind of bad computer animation about what we imagine prehistoric supercroc was like. And it chomping down on dinosaurs.

Also I learned that this exists

The Character: Since this was a documentary he was narrating, I never actually got to see Sam Neill, which, as you can guess, was a bit of a blow since you know I love making fun of his clothes. He was really good at narrating, though, providing some ironic detachment from the alligator expert, who was annoyingly excitable. I think he would do really well recording audiobooks! I still enjoyed this more than A Cry in the Dark; thanks for teaching me something, Sam Neill!

Best Sam Neill Quote: (after annoying alligator guy has captured a big crocodile and tied it down in the back of his pick up, asking can you IMAGINE what supercroc would be like?) “You’d need a bigger truck”.

Thing I Learned From This Movie: Alligators have medicine in their blood that heals their wounds from the inside!

Would I Have Watched This Without the Lure of Sam Neill?: Yes, but only while doing something else, like cooking

Skin (2008)

This movie was based on a true story, so, once again, I learned something! You’ve just spent this week educating me, Sam Neill!

Also, Sam Neill's Afrikaner accent is crazy!

The Movie: Sandra Laing looks black (is black? This terminology is a major issue in the movie too) but both of her parents are white Afrikaners in apartheid-era South Africa. Obvs this causes all kinds of problems, such as is she allowed to attend a white school? And how to stop everyone from being terrible to her there? Who can she marry? Can she legally even live with her parents? At one point a professor explains that she is probably the result of African/European intermarrying at some point far back in her parents’ ancestral past, something he claims most Afrikaners have in their genes at some point. Sandra takes a lot of crap, even from her own family, and eventually runs away with a black man, whom she can’t even legally marry since she is technically classified as white. Their relationship can’t survive their differences in background–he gets really pissed when she keeps trying to contact her mother–and she eventually runs away from him, starting a new life with their two children. Eventually she reunites with her mom, but her dad dies, leaving her money but never speaking to her again. The part I remember the most is just a simple scene without any dialog, showing Sandra and her mother going shopping for a new dress. Because Sandra isn’t allowed inside the store, her mother and a saleslady stand in the window with the mannequins, holding up various choices while Sandra stands outside, pointing to ones she likes and pantomime pleading with her mother for the one she wants.

Sam Neill, as always, at the height of fashion

The Character: Of course Sam Neill is Abraham Laing, her stubborn, domineering father. He is pretty much ace at playing troubled dad characters at this point. He pushes the government continually until they finally decide to determine race based on ancestry, not appearance, and just as stubbornly tries to force Sandra to have a “normal” life, even going so far as to not care when some guy sexually assaults her since at least he’s white. He delivers an ultimatum after she runs off with her black boyfriend: return home now or never see your family again. He then spends most of the rest of the film burning her letters and trying to prevent his wife from seeing her through creepily serious death threats. “If I ever see her here again, I’ll kill them. And then myself.” Towards the end of the movie, when Sam Neill is dying of cancer, he tries to leave the house to find Sandra and apologize to her, but his wife won’t let him, claiming that they don’t deserve her forgiveness. Which is a nice sentiment, but, you know, Sandra is pretty much homeless and starving so maybe put your high horse away, mom. Sam Neill’s Abraham Laing is believably terrible to his family, sticking with the government-sanctioned racism that would definitely have been the status quo at the time this movie is set. I still end up feeling bad for him at the end when he realizes what a dick he’s been. Oh, Sam Neill, it’s so hard to hate you for realsies.

Thing I Learned From This Movie: Sandra Laing is a real person and most of the events in this movie really happened!

Would I Watch This Without Sam Neill?: From reading the description, no, but if I started it I would end up liking it.

Perfect Strangers (2003)

Pretty sure Sam Neill agreed to this movie because he got to spend a lot of it pretending to be dead inside a freezer.

The description made it sound like a romcom, and it is, if you like CRAZY

The Movie: Melanie lives a pretty boring life, until one night she decides to go home with a mysterious hot guy she meets at a bar. Except when she wakes up the next morning she is on his boat, since his home is on a remote deserted island! Plus, he seems to know a lot about her, and keeps saying things like “I would do ANYTHING for you!” Then he cooks them a romantic dinner, burns her old clothes, and insists that they can’t sleep together until she loves him. In her attempts to escape the next morning–since she is apparently too dumb to realize there are two locks on the door hotel room style–she ends up accidentally stabbing The Man (that’s how he’s listed in the credits–we never know his name), and then trying to nurse him back to health. Of course, he ends up dying, but that’s cool, she just stashes his body in the freezer and starts hallucinating him, imagining an elaborate and romantic relationship between them. Eventually some guy she used to know arrives, and apparently it’s really his house but The Man just rents it? And she tries to kill him too? But then he’s cool with it? And they get married? The last scene is her dancing with her hallucination at her own wedding to the other guy! Yeah, supper sweet.

I assume they chose Sam Neill because he makes a great corpse

The Character: Sam Neill plays The Man, and he acts the hell out of it! The Man doesn’t have too many lines, preferring silent mystery/being dead, but in the beginning of the kidnapping I was really unsure if I was creeped out by him or wanted to date him. Then Melanie revealed herself to be crazy to the power of twelve, so Sam Neill definitely now appears to be the most sane, attractive character in this film. It’s like she waited to get Stockholm syndrome until he was already dead, so she just had to fall in love with his corpse/hallucination. My favorite part is when she has a gun out, trying to shoot the Island Owner, and she asks Sam Neill’s specter if you can kill someone twice. Sam Neill shrugs and suggests that she just better try it to see. Then she throws a little pity party about how she never meant to kill him, which is weird since she did stick a knife in his stomach.

Thing I Learned: Pro tip: When the girl you’ve kidnapped locks you out of your own house, the best thing to do is start a smile fire under it and smoke her out!

Would I Watch This Without Sam Neill?: Yes, thinking it was a romantic comedy! Then I’d end up finishing it despite mounting unease out of a morbid curiosity.

Previously: Merlin (again), Erotic Artist, Tragic Dingo Victim
Next: Total Player, Overbearing Dad, Crackpot!

2 responses to “Sam Neill Update: SuperCroc, Apartheid, Boat Kidnapping”

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