SupergatorPosterSpoilers? Sure. Maybe. I doubt it.

Supergator. Produced in the land before time (2007, when SyFy still had “i”s). Like many Sci Fi/SyFy originals, Roger Corman is producer/executive producer (depending on which credits you check). I mention this because when B-movie nerds, usually male and of a certain age, speak dismissively of SyFy craptaculars, they usually point out that Corman was the master of the genre – he did it first and he did it better. It leaves them flapping their jaws a bit like carp when one points out that the Corman/SyFy dichotomy is a false one and thus their pronouncements are silly.

But I digress.

Supergator.

Kelly McGillis is de-extinticting a supergator. In Hawai’i. Like one does.

It’s a secret.

Since the project to bring Supergator back from extinction is a secret, no one except Kelly McGillis knows that Supergator has gotten loose on this very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island.

A plucky geology research team is there to study the impending volcanic eruption that isn’t a big concern to anyone else, even though it’s a very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island.

Even though at several points in the movies it’s emphasized that the volcano is dormant.

Except when it’s not.

Whatever.

The research team is lead by a pompous volcanology professor. Accompanied by his annoying grad assistant, a blond woman who is apparently a geologist, and a reporter/ex-geology student played by Bianca Lawson (whose resume is actually miles longer than anyone else in this movie and probably should have gotten top billing), he bravely investigates the dormant and/or active volcano by hiking 5 minutes into the deep and remote jungle on the uninhabited and/or densely populated island.

They arrive at a waterfall where they spot a rock covered in blood:
bloodrocksupergator

The pompous volcanologist explains that it’s probably a birthing stone. You know, a big pointy boulder that women perch on to give birth. The implication being that the native women-folk of the swanky tropical resort have no need for hospitals or flat surfaces or logic.

I don’t know what this weird bit of dialogue was supposed to reveal about these characters, but it failed on every level except the one wherein we began to actively root for Supergator.

The waterfall is Supergator’s Supersecret feeding ground where he’s been chowing down on people since the movie began.

By “people” I mean “actors you can’t wait to get rid of.”

Soon, the running and the screaming begin.

Go, Supergator, go!

Through the whole movie, a wannabee model in a hot-pink thong bikini runs around looking for help because her photographer and another model were eaten by Supergator at the beginning of the movie at that waterfall on the very small, inhabited Hawai’ian resort island that is sometimes very close to the resort and other times very far away.

None of it matters. It’s Supergator. Stop thinking so much.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, when you were still paying attention, Supergator was made in 2007. It was followed 3 years later by Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010). I’m sure I watched that one when it aired but I think I’ve repressed most of the details. Luckily (?) our Tivo, Overlord II, recently recorded it for me. The heatwave has been highly conducive to staying indoors and watching crappy movies while I catch up on all the other household chores I’ve been putting off, so I’m sure I’ll get to it soon.

I choose to believe that Supergator battles Dinocroc to save humanity, because Supergator is the friend of all children.

Husband tells me that Gamera is actually the friend of all children.

Whatever.

Go, Supergator, go!

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.

Yesterday Husband and I had lunch at a place with a dinosaur decor, a coral reef themed bar, and a haunted ladies room.

IMG_3822

Yes, we ventured into the T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney.

This place is always packed and you have to make reservations for dinner. We’re usually only in the area when we’re foraging for dinner and drinks or headed to a movie so we’ve never even bothered to go inside. Yesterday, we happened to be killing a little time, looking for lunch before heading to the airport. The bar was empty when we walked in since the restaurant was just opening for the day. We were glad we did – it was awesomely tacky.

It was no Dinosaurland, though. You just can’t replicate that kind of roadside charm, but we enjoyed it anyway.

Whenever the “meteor shower” lightshow would start, the Pterodactyl, dinosaurs and mammoths (I know, I know) came to life and started roaring and pitching a fit. This was noisy. I’m betting even when the place is packed with children you can’t hear any of their fussing or screaming over the din, so that might be okay.

Husband and I are both certain that the dinosaur roars used on Land of the Lost for Big Alice and Grumpy’s vocalizations are part of the T-Rex Cafe soundscape, but I’m too lazy to look into it.

A giant octopus formed a canopy over the bar and it would periodically menace us with it’s tentacles. I never got any video of this, but it amused me every time.

IMG_0601

Oh yeah, about those ghosts – I was the only one in the ladies room and I was standing at the sink washing my hands when the door to an empty stall suddenly slammed shut. It was probably a problem with an air conditioning vent or maybe an animatronic effect gone horribly wrong, but let’s chalk it up to ghosts just because we can.

A sister establishment, the Rainforest Cafe, has a similarly elaborate concept design. I found a short article by the sound designers, Frattalone & Associations about the concept design and installation of Rainforest Cafe system.