Cane Toads: The Conquest

Cane Toads: The Conquest


Reviewed by: Paul Logan

Writer-director Mark Lewis makes a sequel to his own BAFTA-award winning 1988 documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History. This follow-up charts the history of the toad problem and how Australians have tried to find a way of ridding their country of this amphibious pest.

In 1935, the South American cane toad was transported to Australia from Puerto Rico, in order to help tackle the issue of cane beetles attacking the sugar cane crops. But instead of providing a solution, the cane toads started to breed rather than eat the beetles. There are now around 1.5 billion cane toads living in north-eastern Australia and with no real predator to fend them off.

Copy picture

This is a well-researched and interesting film, which blends a mixture of in-camera interviews and dramatisation of problems that have happened in Australia as a result of the pest. These include biologists, environmentalists, farmers, local officials and even a child star from a television commercial, who worked with a cane toad called Dairy Queen.

Lewis also injects humour with a variety of strange tales surrounding the creatures. Apparently, for example, a large explosion occurred due to gas which built up in bottles that were storing collected toxins from the toads and even a few of the locals offer some amusing suggestions. “Send ’em back to Hawaii, says one of original Cairns farmers. “Send ’em back to Barack Obama.”

The film tends lose focus towards the end. It becomes less interesting and repetative, with mundane random facts. Whether all the stories are true is debatable, but on the whole this is an eye-opening tragic tale of man against nature.

This film was reviewed from the 2-D version.

Reviewed on: 03 Oct 2011
Share this with others on...
Cane Toads: The Conquest packshot
In 3D, Mark Lewis explores one of Australia's greatest environmental catastrophes as he follows the unstoppable march of the cane toad across the continent.
Amazon link

Director: Mark Lewis

Writer: Mark Lewis

Starring: Neil Young

Year: 2010

Runtime: 85 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


Sundance 2010

Search database: