withoutapaddlencbluDax Shepherd, Matthew Lillard, and Seth Green starred in the original ‘Without A Paddle’ which released in 2004. In this direct to DVD/Blu-ray sequel, ‘Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling’ revolves around a younger bunch of guys as opposed to the original which had to do with grown men working at getting their friendship back to what it once was years ago. They embark on an adventure that will take them through one crazy ride. I never saw the original film, so going in I didn’t know what to expect.

The story begins in the early teen years of the friends as we are introduced to Ben (Oliver James) who really likes this girl Heather (Madison Bontempo). There is a hitch though; she has an interest in lab rats so he lies to her that he also likes lab rats. Heather makes a huge mistake by setting the rats free as it costs her expulsion by getting kicked out of school. The film fast forwards years later into Ben’s career as a lawyer. Ben has devoted way too much time to his profession that the personal things in his life have taken a backseat. That means that his friend Zach (Kristopher Turner) is also not getting the attention that he once did from Ben. Zach is still one of those people that is stuck in the High School life even though he is well beyond that in his years. Working at a nursing home, one of the residents that he likes asks him to track down her granddaughter that has been missing.

Once Zach finds out that it is Heather that is missing, he gets Ben into the mix to find her. He also brings along Heater’s step-brother Nigel (Rik Young) to help find Heather. We have the three guys go into the wild where they are in a rollercoaster ride of their lives. They will have to fight off some mean squirrels that are angry, white water rafting, and just simply trying to survive. Once deep into the wild, the trio find Heather who goes by a different name now, ‘Earthchild’. It comes down to the guys being able to convince Heather and her friend to come back with them.

I found the film to be entertaining during its first half, but it began to lose me the second half. A lot of it had to do with the CGI squirrels as they started to cause all kinds of trouble for the trio. It wasn’t even laughable watching these guys have to fend off the squirrels. This is one area that I wasn’t impressed with at all about the film. The scenery and atmosphere was actually rather beautiful looking.
Movie Content: 2.5/5

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. Colors are vivid throughout the presentation and even better once the trio hits the woods. The vegetation, foliage, trees looked really good. Details are also good providing a clear looking image and depth. The print is clean and pristine from any artifacts.
Video Quality: 3.5/5

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. This film is more of a front heavy presentation with this being dialogue driven. Dialogue came through the center channel clear with no issues. The rears didn’t get much usage except for some subtle effects. With this film being more dialogue driven, this is what I expected.
Audio Quality: 4/5

Special Features

  • Up The Creek: The Making Of Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling – Featurette [HD]
  • Furious Nuts [HD]
  • Treehouse Tales [HD]
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel

Special Features: 3.5/5

Final Thoughts

‘Without A Paddle: Nature’s Calling’ is a very forgettable film that is worth renting if you are a fan of the original. The CGI squirrels really hurt this film in the second half and could have been an element of the story that could have been axed. The film on Blu-ray offers strong video presentation and audio that is sufficient for this type of film.
Overall Rating: 3/5 (Rental)