Dino December #3: 100 Million B.C. (2008)

While this isn’t the only “dinosaurs and time travels” exploitative mash up, the premise of Navy SEALs travelling back to the prehistoric times in order to undo another time travel accident (basically implying this what happened as a result of the “Philadelphia Incident”), accidentally unleashing an abnormally large T-rex in modern Los Angeles, it’s at least more interesting and shows a modicum of effort, needed to stand out in the overpopulated dinosaur-xploitation market of cheap raptors and TV movie budgets.

Then again, since is from the director of Swamp Shark, Arachnoquake and Ghost Shark, Griff Furst, credited here as Louis Myman, i guess his favorite pseudonym, since he used a nearly identical one later for Ragin Cajun Gators. Not encouraging that a director “Alan Smithee-s” himself, even more because he’s – more or less – properly credited in his other directing and acting roles.

Here i usually talk about the plot, but i already did, time travel soldiers and dinosaurs, it’s as stupid as it sounds, but it could have been stupid AND kinda fun. For one, i have somewhat of a soft spot for time travel in these kind of movie, and i’m not gonna complain about the fack they go back to the ancient days of a random american forest in some national park, it’s obvious but you kinda have to expect it with a TV movie budgets and the “gestation times” of these products.

But “low budget” can’t be always an excuse for everything, and if anything 100 Million BC it’s a good academic example of this.

I have commented, described and analized bad CG dinosaurs and monsters a lot, i’ve said many things about this subject, but i refrain from saying stuff like “worst effects ever”, because there is always something worse. But i feel tempted in situation like these, since the CG don’t look like they were ever finished or fully rendered, so yeah, the CG is simply unforgiveably horrendous, as it just barely looks better than Yonggary/Reptilian, only because they colored the dinosaurs AND didn’t drywash them.

For example, the scene when a CG raptor “click & drags” away the sergeant is just so bad it’s stunning, leaving you unable of even laughing about it because it was SO bad and quick you’re not even sure of what you saw exactly. It look like the Fxs should be so bad because they’re making a joke about bad CG dinosaurs movie effects, but it’s not on purpose, it just looks shockingly bad and cheap you’d wish Andy Kaufmann emerged from a dinosaur and revealed it was all a ruse.

I mean, the CG dino even basically skip animation frames, so they go from still to open jaws without any transitional movements, but i’m nitpicking big time, since even non-dino related special effects are outright laughable, even more then the obvious green screens and composition that doesn’t even bother trying to hide them and make it all look a bit less phony. Then again, it’s a false problem in some occasions, as there’s a deadly combo of shit editing and bad camera work, so you can’t exactly tell what you’re looking at, even in a clearly illuminated scene and even if you pay attention and don’t miss the “action” by blinking, you’re still looking at visual white noise. To make thing worse, the cinematography is so bad that even when there’s no visual effect on screen it still looks like they digitally added the mountains in the shot.

45 minutes in, the movie decides to basically stop with all this sensible, decently lit scenes where you can tell what happens without squinting, so for the 33 minutes of movie left, it gets darker, and the “dino rampage in city” scene happens at night, but not even the lighting is consistent here, non-dino related special effects are outright laughable, even more then the obvious green screens and composition that doesn’t even bother trying to hide them and make it all look a bit less phony. Heck, they even made the allosaurus-t-rex-something red on purpose to make it more visible.

Characters are the usual putrid pool of one-note cliches, badly written and also mostly badly acted, so you get the sergeant that reacts to a jurassic gator eating 3 of his men like he got an annoying Youtube ad, no one acts or emote like a human. I’d say there are unlikeable but it would requiring ha ving any emotion besides complete apathy, you just find yourself not even caring enough to hate them, so bland the characters are. Michael Cross tries, but has nothing to work with, same for Christopher Atkins, Greg Avigan and the rest of the cast, featuring a depressing lot of people who actually had a career before.

This would be quite enough to make this bad, but for extra points we even have fuckin plot holes, at the very end of the movie, as some character manages to go back in time, somehow, which still doesn’t explain how the fuck he knew when and where to reappear in order to save the day. Not that the conclusion makes any sense regardless, but this reveal is supposed to be a twist, but it’s more confusing then surprising, and it doesn’t make any sense because not even the script abides to its own time travel rules. That’s why most of these movie don’t bother with time travel at all.

Given this, i’m surprised they remembered to have the ending match the prologue where two mountain climbers find a fossil t-rex into some caves.

It’s almost amazing how you can have a movie about “time traveling dinosaurs” and direct it so badly that it turns out a complete pile of bore, a snoozefest that just skates by because things happen in it and it’s not so badly paced to sedate you into sleep, but also doesn’t even manage to deliver some mild or acceptable low budget entertaiment.

And of course it clocks at 81 minutes just because of the 4 minutes ending credits roll.

I’m convinced this was all filmed, edited and post-produced all in 5 days max, quickly shipped off as filler for SyFy or other networks of the like, but apparently it was released direct-to-video, which is… telling, when the channel that says yes to Mississippi River Sharks doesn’t want you, doesn’t think you’re good enough.

I’ve seen worse. I’ve also seen equally crappy movies that didn’t actually try hard at all with the plot, didn’t take themselves so seriously, but were actually watchable and had some entertaiment value, despite it all. Or at least weren’t total snoozefests with CG that looks rushed and almost unfinished even by SyFy TV movies’ standards.

Utter waste of time, at least i just streamed it on Amazon Prime Video for “free”, but even so, i wouldn’t recommend it unless you want to explore all the depths of dinosaur exploitation cinema, and see an example of “trying” that sadly goes completely wrong.

Never thought i’d say this, but Raptor Ranch was better. Kinda.

Un pensiero riguardo “Dino December #3: 100 Million B.C. (2008)

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