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Cane Toads: The Conquest (2010/2012)
Opened: 09/14/2012 Limited
Trailer: Click for trailer
Genre: Australian Documentary
Mark Lewis Takes a 3D Journey On The Trail Of A Modern-Day Menace
"The story of the cane toad might be an epic disaster, a comedy of errors or a tale of rousing success -- it all depends entirely on your perspective." -- Mark Lewis
The South American Cane Toad's unstoppable journey across the Australian continent has long been the focus of great controversy and bizarre fascination.
The Cane Toad was introduced to Australia from Hawaii in 1935 in an attempt to control the greyback cane beetle, which at the time was decimating Queensland sugar cane crops. Hailed as a savior, the toad was enthusiastically welcomed. Unfortunately, the toads were disinclined to stay in the cane fields and eat beetles. Instead, they set about doing what cane toads do best - multiplying, migrating and thriving.
75 years later, in a country equipped with unprecedented scientific capabilities and unabated public will to battle the invasion, it seems nothing will stop the march of the toad. Science and genetic mutation have failed, so too has physical aggression. Fences and traps have proved ineffectual, as have natural predators or topographic barriers.
No other species has occupied a nation's consciousness like the toad, which has achieved both criminal and cult status. Its physical design is ingenious and the sheer tenacity of its nature admirable. Throughout history it has proven itself to be the ultimate survivor in the face of great adversity. It spreads, it grows, it devours.
Cane Toads: The Conquest explores the history, the science, the human conflict and the bizarre culture surrounding this notorious environmental blunder. As we follow the march of the toad across the Australian continent, director Mark Lewis (Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, The Natural History of the Chicken) injects his trademark irreverence and humor into a story filled with engaging characters and incredible first hand accounts.
The cast includes the scientists, community groups, politicians and locals who have crossed paths with the toad on its inexorable march across the country. Meet Kevin Ladynski, toad taxidermist, and his 2.5kg pet toad Melrose; Monica Krauss remembers her massive childhood friend Dairy Queen; Merinda Sharp explains why she sends toads on 'trips to Alaska'; Tip Byrne laments the day his father released the toads onto their Cane Farm.
This is a truly poignant environmental cautionary tale on the issue of invasive species and human folly. Some will see this story as a tragedy, some a comedy of errors, and still others a heroic journey across a harsh yet beautiful continent.
Despite its international origin the cane toad has become uniquely Australian - yet its story holds universal relevance. As the world wrestles with the idea that we have irretrievably altered our own ecosystem, these bulbous creatures may be the ultimate metaphor for the inevitable path upon which we have set ourselves.