Dino Dicember #11: The Eden Formula (2006)

Wait, this movie isn’t produced by Roger Corman, how it could it count as the second unofficial sequel/spin-off of the Carnosaur series?

Well, this time the connection is both direct and oblique, as it’s directed (and written) by John Carl Buechler, who worked on the special effects for the 3 Carnosaur movie, and – for whatever reason – he decided to crib stock footage from the first Carnosaur flick. Times.. never change.

Sorry for the screenshots’ abysmal resolutions and quality.

This time it’s not a direct-to-video production, but a TV movie for the SyFy Channel, not that it makes much difference. Thankfully, this time the plot isn’t completely made out of the same scripts, regurgitated and repurposed yet again. Not completely.

Dr. Parker works at Calgorin Industris and has created the titular “Eden Formula”, a wondrous chemical that can reproduce organisms and cure diseases. Problem is, unknown to the good doctor, other scientists at the laboratory have taken his chemical and used it to create a Tyrannosaurus Rex, which they keep in a secret location underground, and plan to impress stockholders with it. Along come spies from other industries than plan to steal the formula and sell it as their own, but they accidentally set the T-Rex loose, which leads to a dino rampage in Los Angeles.

So Dr. Parker, with his friend Rhonda Shapton and a local police officer, has to stop both the rival company and the frigging dinosaur rampaging all the way.

Low quality Tony Todd is still awesome.

After the absolute, joyless pile of absolute shlock (even for Roger Corman) that was Raptor, The Eden Formula would had to work really hard to bum me out or to do worse than a recompiled pile of old stock footage and recycled. It didn’t, because you just had to actually make a movie to be better than Raptor. Even if this one does still use stock footage from a then 13 years old movie.

Having Tony Todd in the cast (even if he has a small part) also helps. A lot, he’s a fuckin treasure, and he single-handedly give this shlocky dinosaur TV movie some class, as he plays the cool cat merc ringleader with shades. He’s the best thing in here, the rest of cast isn’t bad, passable acting for this type of movie, characters are kinda ok too, with the suited head of research that surprisingly kicks a lot of ass, the sleazy second in command, and a typical ensemble of minor characters that are charming in a typical B-movie fashion, like the grumpy mechanic that by chance avoids the T-rex, the sarcastic desk sheriff that doesn’t believe the call about rampaging dinosaurs, etc.

And even some tongue-in-cheek metahumour, with a director-writer filming a cheesy martial arts-action flicks and bitching with the actors about word choices.

Before getting eaten, of course.

While Bluecher re-harshes some footage of the T-Rex from Carnousaur (and re-use some props from it), he also made new special effects, even some stopmotion-like t-rex action, and it looks good… for a 90’s low budget movie. Even at the times, the effects looked dated, but on the bright side, as shlocky and low budget as they are, they’re kinda “good”, far better than most crappy CG dinosaurs. Even if they’re mostly puppets of dinosaurs (with some sparse digital effects), and the stock footage matches the rest of the effects, as you would expect from a FX specialist.

Maybe it’s because it’s hard to find a copy of this movie only with good quality, i had to watch it on Youtube, and the video quality is definitely “vhs to early dvd transfer in low resolution made worse by Youtube compression”, with pixel as big as Minecraft animals, so it’s hard to tell some of details… but regardless, it’s hard to believe this is from 2006 and not 1996. The only thing that make it less unbelievable is some of the music and the low budget “computer hacking sequences”, they definitely feel like something a 2000s or late 90’s cheapo movie would do.

It’s surprisingly entertaining ultra cheap dino flick, one that stars fast but doesn’t drag. Not too bad!

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