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Review of T. REX -- BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS
I saw a preview of T-REX: BACK TO THE CRETACEOUS earlier this week,
and wanted to share my thoughts on it.
First and foremost, the dinosaur representations were better than
portrayed in the stills seen on the internet. This may be due to the
rendering of the images for 3-D purposes, which might make it
difficult to show the image for normal (non-headset) viewing. I?m not
sure. But the depictions were generally interesting.
I particularly liked the Parasaurolophus. The T. rex had its
forelimbs tucked in toward each other; I was impressed. However, the
shape of the head didn?t seem to be true to the skulls of the AMNH or
?Stan? specimens. The tyrannosaur also seemed a bit bigger in
proportion to the actress than it should have been. The least
successful portrayal in my opinion was the ornithomimid; maybe because
it interacted with the real actress more than the other dinosaurs. It
looked CGI when facing her. A nice Pteranodon is included as well,
but then behaved oddly ? it flew down and flapped its wings above the
actress for several seconds (!), then flew off. Typical unfriendly
All in all, I found the CGI animals in the Jurassic Park movies to be
more effective portrayals of living animals, although they may not
have been as accurate as the dinosaurs shown in T. REX.
As for the movie itself, what is there to be said? Ah me. I wanted
very much to like it, for obvious reasons, but I left hating it. A
preposterous and hokey storyline evidently patched together by a
mental patient in order to show CGI dinosaurs in 3-D (each of which
was on screen for about three seconds, by the way).
When are people going to get the picture that 1) story matters and 2)
children do not need to be treated like idiots?
Here?s the story. Those of you who like to watch the story unfold
before you, as I generally do, will want to skip the next few
paragraphs or risk missing the full excitement of each magnificent
Daughter of world famous dinosaur paleontologist wants to go on his
digs with him but, for some reason, is not allowed to. It?s suggested
in a spectacularly unspectacular sequence that dad keeps her home
because it?s dangerous at a dig (as if everyone on a dig must go
climbing up rock face while at the site), and in another sequence that
the daughter is living with mom in the wake of a divorce/separation or
that mom is perhaps ill and needs to be cared for. Choose your own
rationale! I couldn?t figure it out and figuring things out is what I
do for a living. Anyway, daughter is obsessed with dinosaurs,
particularly T. rex, and has radical notions that T. rex laid eggs and
then cared for them. Dad replies wassamaddayou? He goes on to say
(God help us) that without any evidence, all she has is a *theory!*
Oh, is that all? He evidently learned scientific terminology from
Dad finds some huge eggs at a dig, one of which comes neatly out of
the ground in one smooth piece. Fieldwork is easier than I thought!
Once this egg is back at the museum, he hefts that baby around the lab
like it?s a football. As a result, it falls to the ground while
paleodaughter is visiting and, as will often happen, gases exude from
the egg and paleodaughter is sent, several times, BACK TO THE
CRETACEOUS (actually, as often as not, it?s BACK TO THE EARLY
TWENTIETH CENTURY). First she?s menaced by the T. rex skeleton in the
museum, which comes alive, then she runs into some Parasaurolophus
drinking at a stream. Following that, she runs into Charles Knight
who is painting a fighting pair of Deinonychus (instead of
Dryptosaurus) Knight and paleodaughter utter some stupid nonsense to
each other. Much the same result obtains when she runs into Barnum
Brown. Nothing informative exits anyone?s lips.
Eventually she?s back where we want her, in T. rex country, and
witnesses an ornithomimid eating some T. rex eggs (hey, those look
just like the eggs world-famous dad found!). As she?s confronting the
little dinosaur for its bad manners the T. rex returns, bloodlessly
chases off the ornithomimid, and then, when it sees that paleodaughter
is not going to harm the eggs, has an astoundingly smarmy touchy-feely
moment with her before a certain celestial body streaks down and
rearranges the T. rex's molecular structure (but not before it?s able
to utter one of those trademark T. rex life-affirming roars).
Daughter is rediscovered in the museum (dad?s in a huge panic because
he can?t find her, although she had arrived on her own). She
announces to dad that she has gotten her confirmation about T. rex egg
laying (wink wink). World famous dad agrees to read some report she's
written for a school project, apparently a major victory for
paleodaughter, and finally hands her a locket she had lost in a
Cretaceous forest while fleeing dinosaurs! (So dad knew all along
that she went back? Does he ?drop eggs? all the time to check out the
"trip?" I don?t know. Your guess is as good as mine.)
To make matters worse, this is after all a 3-D movie, so you have the
big headset pulling your forehead down to your nose for 40 minutes.
Many of the 3-D effects were not dinosaur effects, but rather your
standard SCTV Monster Chiller Horror Theater, "oh no, here comes the
squirt of hot dog mustard RIGHT AT ME" effects. I?m not exaggerating
here. At one point we?re expected to be amazed by a vacuum cleaner as
it seems to VACUUM RIGHT BEFORE OUR VERY EYES!
This movie is a great big fat corndog obviously written by some hack
who has not the first clue about current dinosaur science other than
what he or she read and then misunderstood in probably about two hours
of research. It features about three seconds of so-so CGI dinosaurs.
Thespians try to bring some spark to their embarrassing characters,
but are doomed.
Kids are not little stupid people who like bad stupid things. Kids
are little smart people who like good smart things, but may need a
more basic explanation of those things.
Watching this movie was a physically painful experience for me. Avoid
it if you?ve been depressed lately or if you?re on medication of any
So the wait for a fun movie featuring realistic CGI dinosaurs continues.
"It's over, Johnnie."
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