Science fiction and fantasy
100 Million BC
directed by Louie Myman
So a large team of cannon fodder step through a Stargate-style portal into a forest world of prehistoric threats and hungry dinosaurs. Their mission is to retrieve the other team and return to Los Angeles without accidentally bringing along one of prehistory's most fearsome predators in their wake.
The effects are acceptable for an early 90's production (which this is not). Obvious green screen scenes and dinosaurs that move like robots don't make for the scariest experience. It's less Jurassic Park, more Barney the Dinosaur. However it would be unfair of me to blame the cheap CGI for this movie's failure to impress, when there's so much else going wrong.
The acting is poor and mostly wooden, to the extent that all the main characters are as forgettable as the rest. Because there's little to distinguish each of them, it's not clear who is destined to die early on and who isn't. You may think that sounds like a good thing, because there's more suspense when you never know who will be dino grub next. In another film that might be true, but in this one I didn't care one way or another what happened to the flat, insipid characters.
Part of the blame for this lack of connection lies with Paul Bales' risible script. It begins with a yawn-inducing technobabble infodump on time travel, in which Reno announces he will avoid the grandfather paradox by going back in time to before human history. So the butterfly effect and the possibility of wiping out the whole human race by accidentally killing off our common ancestors by stepping on them or infecting them with a modern virus is, um, completely ignored. By the end not only do they forget all about the grandfather paradox, they also mix up the personal timeline of a major character for good measure. It doesn't make sense, but that's okay because this is a movie that ignores mere logic for the sake of hackneyed dramatic moments.
These are problems that go with the territory of the time-travel sub-genre, so they're somewhat forgiveable. But other flaws are more glaring. The military recruits all line up for an obvious suicide mission with no clear motivation. They wander around a dino-infested jungle barking orders at each other, with no regard for the dinosaurs any schoolchild could tell you to expect. Back in Los Angeles they try to lure a giant reptile by using themselves as bait, when they shouldn't be able to outrun it and there are millions of other edible people in the city.
The plot leaks like a broken sieve. The characterisations are really thin, so that it's almost like an outline of a film with none of the interesting bits filled in yet. The dialogue has plenty of bad language, but no good jokes to lighten the mood. About the best feature of this half-assed dino rampage is the fact that it's mercifully short.
18th December 2010
If you like this, try:Deadly Species by Daniel Springen
A team of academics find horrors waiting for them in the Florida Everglades when they search for a lost tribe.
Jurassic Park by Steven Spielberg
On an isolated island the ultimate theme park is almost completed, featuring live dinosaurs. What could possibly go wrong?
Stargate by Roland Emmerich
When Dr. Daniel Jackson deciphers the markings on a device found in Egypt, he has no idea how far it will take him.