paleontologychicken Last month, Husband took a day off and we spent some quality time together.

(With our Tivo, Overlord II).

A series of Florida swamp adventures slowed down my posting schedule, but here at last is what I wrote about the rest of Pop Culture Paleontology Day (low rent edition).

I’m hoping the suspense didn’t kill you after I posted about our warmup flick, lake Placid 3, and then left you hanging when we moved on to 4 truly special dinosaur creature-features: Raptor Island, Pterodactyl, Rise of the Dinosaurs, and Triassic Attack.

(They were special because they were the 4 dinosaur-themed movies we had on our Tivo).

There are spoilers here, but if you’re reading this you probably don’t care.

Before we get to the movies, I wanted to comment on the real-life big news about the Smithsonian getting long-term lone of a super-swank T. rex.

“Tyrannosaurus rex gets long-term lease at Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum.”

That the [Army] Corps had a T. rex to lend was news to many of its senior leaders. “They didn’t know we had a dinosaur,” said Sonny Trimble, who oversees curation and management of archaeological collections for the Corps. People transfer, he said. Many retired. So “the chief engineer doesn’t wake up in the morning saying, ‘How’s our dinosaur doing?’”

I’ve been telling you for years that the dinosaur-human supersoldier project is a secret, so of course they didn’t want us to know they own dinosaurs.

I don’t think that counts as a digression because it’s about dinosaurs. And the military.

raptorisland

First up, Raptor Island (2004).

This movie is a classic, in that it was made in 2004 when SyFy was still SciFi.

The movie opens with a plane crash in the distant, grainy, faux-film effects past. Who was on the plane? What was on the plane? Why are you asking stupid questions like that?

The movie jumps ahead 40 years later, to Lorenzo Lamas and his CIA agent lady-friend and his team of Navy Seals hunting a terrorist in a jungle full of vicious dinosaurs.

Lorenzo Lamas, bitches!

As an aside, the raptors in all these movies were slappers, not clappers. See also: Brian Switek: Doing the T. rex Stretch at the Smithsonian’s Dinosaur Tracking Blog.

Wait! What the hell? While I was looking up that last link, Lorenzo Lamas – Navy Seal, hair gel aficionado, and now, apparently, a dinosaur expert – informed his CIA lady friend that a plane carrying radioactive waste (or maybe weapons-grade plutonium, it’s not clear) mutated the regular animals that lived on this otherwise benign island in the South China Sea. Into dinosaurs! In only 40 years!

Of course it did!

After that brilliant exposition there was some nonsense with some explosives, a volcano erupted, some other military shit happened, and then the movie ended.

On to Pterodactyl (2005), which stars dinosaurs, a volcano, and Coolio.

pterodactyl

Paleontology Professor/heartthrob Michael Lovecraft (Cameron Daddo) and his motley band of grad students pile into a jeep and head off into a forest in Turkey because an earthquake has opened a fissure in a dormant volcano and they plan to look inside! Little do they know, because they ignored the warning at the beginning of the movie, Coolio and his Special Forces team are hunting terrorists in this same forest.

The same forest! What are the odds!?!

Pterodactyl is nothing like Raptor Island.

In Raptor Island some terrorists and some terrorist-hunting military dudes all ran around in the forest (and occasionally in some caves), and they battled dinosaurs, and there was a huge nest of baby dinosaurs, and then a volcano erupted.

In Pterodactyl, some dinosaurs fly around and some terrorists and some terrorist-hunting military dudes run around in the forest (and, occasionally in some cave-like locations), and they battle dinosaurs, and there’s a huge nest of baby pterodactyles. It’s totally different than Raptor Island because in Pterodactyl the volcano erupts before any of the other stuff.

We thought that maybe if we were lucky, some raptors might show up and eat all of the characters.

(We weren’t that lucky).

(During parts of Rise of the Dinosaurs, and definitely through the whole middle section of Triassic Attack, we hoped that some raptors might show up and eat us).

At this point in the festivities we took a break so Husband could make chicken curry for dinner because pop culture paleontology day demands consumption of birds.

(It was hilarious at the time).

After dinner, it was on to…

Rise of the Dinosaurs (aka Jurassic Attack 2010), in which a plane crashed in the jungle and then some military dudes hunt terrorists and battle dinosaurs.

Only kidding!

They’re hunting rebels.

Hey! The military dudes just came upon a nest of dino eggs!

Hey! That was Corin Nemec, co-star of House of Bones

Now they’re battling dinosaurs!

After some “dramatic” action and they escape in a helicopter. Like you do.

As they fly back to civilization, having forgotten that in the beginning of the movie the central conflict was that they were all infected with a bio-weapon that meant they would have to be killed or something and could never go back to civilization, two of the characters have this exchange:


“How do we explain all this?”
“We don’t!”

Fine. Whatever. The movie is over? I’ll take it.

triassicattackLast, but not least: Triassic Attack, which stars Kristy Mitchell, star of Lake Placid 3. When I saw that I was sure that this was meant to be!

(Or, at that point, I’d reached the optimum blood-alcohol to achieve some sort of b-movie equanimity. Who can say, really?)

Triassic Attack has the annoying elements of Movie Archaeology combined with the annoying elements of Pop Culture Paleontology.

When we watched Lake Placid 3 this morning, I was confused because I remembered it as a bit of spoof of Eureka, starring Colin Ferguson.

It wasn’t.

That’s because I was confusing it with Triassic Attack, which is a bit of a spoof of Eureka, directed by Colin Ferguson.

This movie is aggravating on many levels. It confuses archaeology (humans and artifacts) with paleontology (dinosaurs).

In brief: the Chief leading the American Indian repatriation protest at the paleontology museum does a ceremony to re-animate the dinosaur skeletons and your brain rolls over and fakes a coma for 90 minutes and it’s best to just go with it.

Oh, here, let’s just make this super-easy:


[embedded video: Triassic Attack trailer]

If you’re a super-nerd, you might enjoy this Pterodactyl trivia. It’s the kind of thing we cared about before we watched 5 of these movies in one day and broke something in our insides.

I’ll just quote wikipedia because it’s all I can muster at this point:

Many of the characters are named after famous science-fiction and fantasy writers – Burroughs (Edgar Rice Burroughs), Clarke (Sir Arthur C. Clarke), Donaldson (Steven Donaldson), Heinlein (Robert A. Heinlein), Herbert (Frank Herbert), Lem (Stanislaw Lem), Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft), Serling (Rod Serling), Yolen (Jane Yolen) and Zelazny (Roger Zelazny).

As I finish editing this draft (6 weeks later), we’re watching Swamp Shark, which includes dramatic dialogue like, “If it breathes, it can be killed!”

Now that’s some quality writing. The acting is even better.

Clearly we don’t ever seem to learn our lesson.

I’ve seen every episode of Supernatural way too many times. It’s not healthy, but I can’t control myself. I can’t even claim I can stop anytime, because that would be a lie.

It seemed wrong not to re-watch at least one ghost-centric episode this month specifically in honor of Ghost Month. (Ghost Month? Is that what I’m calling it? I keep getting confused. I’m tagging everything for 2010 31ghosts, by the way, in case you need to catch up).

I was having trouble deciding which episode to choose, so I let my Tivo, Overlord II, choose for me. The first episode it selected was…the first episode. It’s not bad for a pilot episode. Sam and Dean solve a mystery involving a woman in white, which in the show’s lore is a variation on the Latin American myth of La Llorona.

I was going to embed the opening scene from the episode, which is chock full of Supernatural mythology, but embedding is blocked. Here’s a link, instead.

I’m sure I have more to say about Supernatural and I’m sure there were better ghost episodes than this one, but Husband just walked in and we got distracted obsessing over Escape from Dinosaur Kingdom and I lost my train of thought.

Do nothing and each month a new monkey will be delivered right to your door.

IMG_0013

I’ve been amassing these to share with my brother.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I have to keep them all because I can’t send any to him, we don’t know where he is or what he’s doing. Husband told me – and I choose to believe this – that he’s in charge of a special Top Secret* genetic engineering project that’s creating dinosaur super-soldiers, probably right over there in the basement of the Pentagon.

*Top Secret until now, I guess