[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
BBC's "THE LOST WORLD" # 2
In 2001, Arthur Conan Doyle's Maple White Land is portrayed by New Zealand (where the unmentionable Canadian-based television travesty is filmed): the eery limestone strata of NZ's Nile Valley near Charleston; the Skull Island-like rainforests of Lake Lake Brunner, Karamea, and Lake Mahinapua; the "empty" landscapes of Flock Hill and Denniston. Take together, one is given, indeed, a conjuration worthy of co-producer's Tim Haines's other projects. The dinosaurs are a combination of FrameStore (who are also doing Dinotopia) CGI and animatronics (designed by Richard Gregory), enveloped in the music of Rob Lane -- all nearly crippled in the sophomorically "correct" (read: mindless) script by Tony Mulholland. The dinosaurs (the only reason to watch the programmes), like those of Walking With Dinosaurs and When Dinosaurs Roamed America, are pr!
ocative in non-human ecosystems. However, it is unclear how: 1) they survive and breed on a small plateau (even Franz Nocsa's "dwarf" dinosaurs would find it difficult); 2) 65 million years ago, survived the K/T events of: volcanism > increased CO2 > raising of the Earth's atmospheric temperatures + lowering of planet-wide sea levels + (within 1-2 million years) a meteor slamming into the Yucatan and creating the Chicxulumb impact crater.
Like Alan Grant, the 2001 Professor Challenger is surprisingly ignorant of his own discipline (cinema guerrillas in the midst), compulsory heterosexist bombast and (dis)articulations substituting for even the most rudimentary knowledge of expeditionary field observations or archosaurs. Cinematic linguistics of "monstrosity" derive from the "pleasures" of terror(ism) (to borrow from Tania Modleski). New bodies/identities are constructed from corpses/ideas, and, since the 1925 The Lost World, "monstrosity" is gendered and racialized; even in "documentaries", one has "alpha male" dinosaurs, coyly elusive females, much like a high school cafeteria. To cite an irritating, recent example: Valley of the T. rex, seems to revel in its simplistic ignorance of the complex social systems and breeding strategies of "scavengers" Jack Horner should spend a year studying the pioneering research of the teams studying the behavioral!
evelopment and physiological substrates of free-living spotted hyenas being published by Kay Holekamp, Laura Smale, and L.G. Frank, rather than making innane comments about "stinky" "ugly" carnivores. These mammals -- ecologically being the "velociraptors" of their habitats -- are worthy of paleontologists' attention. At one point, Valley of the T. rex uses an edited sequence borrowed from When Dinosaurs Roamed America of a juvenile tyrannosaur chasing down an Anatotitan, stating a tyrannosaur (read: adult with different morphology) was actually not capable of such an act. Jack Horner never mentions juveniles probably hunted prey in packs, the prey cornered then bitten to death by adults, nor does he mention that vultures have bare-skinned heads because they plunge them into dead bodies to eat.
Just as gendered "slasher" films reify quintessential misogyny, it would seem scinematic remakes of ACD and pseudodocumentaries must have analogous representational elements of sexuality, gender, and violence. In ecosystems, there is asymmetricality between power and gender. Because a camera is unable to illuminate the inside of a dinosaur's body and mind, one is given nonsyllabic shrieks, grunts, roars, running, jumping by CGI representations to expose the dinosaurs by inference (has anyone in these productions ever considered that dinosaurs may have been non-vocal most of the time?). The 2001 BBC incarnation of The Lost World is an admixture of Edwardian self-flagellations and the introduction in the dinosaurs' realm of metonymic hominids (they are what film scholar Kaja Silverman calls an "acoustic mirror": sound substituting for the original written page). "Horror" films, television series, etc., have tried to use dinosaurs!
hrough predictable modes of "suspense", literalizations, and exaggerations. It is a pity that ACD's original text was not used.