100 Million B.C. (2008)
Dinos on the rampage, whoo! This is a production of "The Asylum", a distributor known mostly as legendary crap-masters, so don't be expecting much (50 years from now we will be thinking of their movies like we do those of Roger Corman, and that's not a compliment). It is, of course, a rip-off of Warner Brothers' 10,000 B.C., released the same year, a film with a budget (literally) 350 times bigger than the deuce I'm watching here, but, oddly, still not measurably more entertaining.
Let's go on to the show!
We open in sunny Los Angeles in the present day (2008) at a secret military lab. An eight-man US Navy SEAL team has gathered here to be briefed on a super-secret mission. These are your typical "movie commandos", underpaid ten-day contract actors who've watched Blackhawk Down too many times and have no recognizable combat skills or any sense of military discipline, but they do have trendy hair.
The soldiers arrive (so much for carpooling).
There are met by a Navy officer, who is the liaison between the military and this place. He's played by Greg Evigan, maybe the "big name" in the cast, though no one has seen a lick of him since the mid '90s. While Evigan gets top billing, Commander Greg's role is actually pretty small (almost nonexistent for the first two acts), though I can't imagine he got paid that much for this gig (if you'd been reduced to acting in The Asylum productions, you've pretty much given up on life).
Commander Greg (he's been playing Call of Duty
too much, because he's way too gung-ho for his role).
The soldiers are briefed by "the Professor", an ancient, liver-spotted geezer played by Michael Gross from Family Ties. He explains that he's a supersmartyhead scientist type who has been doing ultra-awesome Top Secret work for the Navy since the 1940s (he graduated from MIT in 1942 at the age of twelve, just like me!).
The Professor tells the story of the famed "Philadelphia Experiment" (yawn, just google it...), which he was involved in. His bombshell is that they actually made the time machine work! On November 29, 1949, they even sent back a research team 70 million years ago to the Cretaceous Era to test their theories (they were worried about messing with the timeline so they picked a distant point to travel to). He rambles on about the mechanics of the time machine, of beryllium tubes and electromagnetism and singularities and Mencowski Space and all that. Nice effort, but why even bother? We all know about time machines, they are so firmly ingrained in popular culture that, even if we don't understand the quantum physics behind them, we know what they do and the dangers involved.
A quick shot of the Professor's old US Navy clearance
card is quite amusing (love the casting agency headshot).
So the time-traveling team failed to return and due to some error in the computers, they lost all contact with them and have been unable to recreate the wormhole. After nearly 60 years, the Professor has finally found the error and has built another time machine portal, just like the one he built 59 years ago. His plan is to use it to go back to the Cretaceous Era and save the people he feels responsible for abandoning back in 1949. Proof that the team is still alive comes from some 70 million year-old cave paintings discovered recently that say, "Rita Hayworth as Gilda" and, more directly, "Frank, it wasn't your fault". Of course, that's actually just proof that they survived long enough to paint those notes, not that they are still alive "today", but at least the Professor now has hope.
Also, no chance those pigments would have survived 70 million years.
Ok, the SEALs buy the story and sign on. Off now to a run-down warehouse somewhere in the industrial area of LA. It's a dirty, filthy, place with just a few computer terminals scattered around and a big stargate-looking portal thingie in the center of the room. The Professor's entire staff consists of two nose-pickers in lab coats with clipboards and pocket pencil protectors. This is the "western home of Naval Research"? Is this all? The Professor pretty much said that he's being funded by the US Guv'mint, you'd think that he'd be running a better (and cleaner) operation and all. For that matter, if this did have official funding and backing, there is no way on earth that the Guv'mint would allow it to be used for something as pointless as a rescue mission for some poor slobs that are probably dino snacks anyway. They'd do something awesome with it, like go back to 1942 and keep the Nazis from colonizing the Moon (don't act like you don't know).
The time portal.
The soldiers line up (though not very well, notice the irregular spacing,
these are so-not SEALs).
One of the techies passes out anti-nausea medications and the soldiers are warned that the air 70 million years ago had "half the oxygen of today", which is patently false. [Editor Pam: And if it were true, the percentage of oxygen in the air would be a little above the minimum needed for survival. They're unlikely to be able to do anything strenuous.] Forming a line, the soldiers enter the time portal and zip/zap off. The "special effect" is no better or worse than the first few seasons of Stargate, but still pretty chintzy. Since they explicitly tell us they are going back "70 million years", one wonders why the film is titled "100 million years" (actually, the film's original production title was Prehistoric somethingsomethingSoftcoreboobs). Of course, I typed half this review using the title 100 Million Years B.C. before it dawned on me that the actual title leaves out the "Years" for some inexplicable reason.
Anyway, the team poofs into the Age of Dinosaurs. They only lose one man in transit, a guy who appears half inside a tree. Ah, I see what they're going for here, that man "jumped" through time to a physical point where there was a tree and fused into it, just like in the totally reliable eyewitness reports of the USS Eldridge crewmen back in 1943. Fine and all, but why is it that they have to worry about jumping into a tree but don't worry at all about the level of the actual ground changing. If their entry point was, say, 50 feet above sea level in 2008, who's to say that same point in space/time in the Cretaceous wasn't 300 feet below sea level, or above it? For that matter I don't understand the egress/exit mechanics of the wormhole. The entry point (back in the warehouse) was only four feet wide, but the exit point (in the Cretaceous) kicks them out in a scattershot pattern, with men popping up over a wide area. But when they return, they all emerge through the same small portal. Why is that?
Man in tree, who somehow has turned into a terracotta mask.
So they find a spike sorta thing that apparently acts as a way to stabilize a wormhole entry/exit point. They say that it was left here many years ago when the old team was stranded, but that makes little sense. If you need one of these spike things at an exit point, how did the original wormhole form in the first place? And are they suggesting that this five-foot metal pole has been standing here stuck in the ground in the middle of the jungle for many long years without some wandering Pachyderm or stiff winter wind knocking it over?
The spike, still standing?
They also see a big plant-eater, their first encounter with
the local wildlife, and our first encounter with bad CGI.
They walk up to some caves which match up to a modern photo generally well, though this assumes that the geography of this area is nearly exactly the same after 70 million years. Which is bupkis, of course, erosion by wind and water and time would alter the landscape drastically. But the plot has to get moving, so let's tag along. And, hey, why are they walking anyway? If they can transport large vehicles and twenty-ton dinosaurs (oops, spoiler alert!) through the wormholes, why couldn't they give them some armored personnel carriers or even a helicopter? Seems pretty lame to have your super-frickin-awesome SEAL team hoofing it like coolies through the bush like this.
Who knew topography was this easy?
This is not an idyllic Lost-like jungle paradise, however, it's a foreign world full of exotic dangers and otherworldly risks like nothing that any of them have ever experienced before. Carnivorous plants spit acid, pools of toxic mud bubble, and the fauna is unpredictably fast and predictably always very hungry. They get attacked by some sort of dino-alligator in a marsh and, worse yet, a pack of Jurassic Park-style Velociraptors pounce from the maple trees to taste some human flesh.
His prop H&K looks plastic.
Ha, nice blood.
Anyway, they run from the Raptors, over hill and dale, until they find safety in some craggy rocks. The Raptors return, another man is lost, and it looks like it's going to be messy. Suddenly, four thoroughly modern-looking humans wearing oh-so fake furs and suspiciously worked leather loincloths pop up out of nowhere and fight off the Raptors with stone-tipped spears and bows and arrows. These, of course, are the long-lost survivors of the 1949 time jump.
Chatting with a survivor.
And to top it all off, a T-Rex then attacks them! Now, see the cover art from the DVD up there at the top of this page? Well, don't expect anything that awesome, more like a badly-rendered chunky-pixelled blurry blob green-screened into shots with all the precision of a hand grenade. The bar has been set pretty high for cinematic T-Rexes, it being such an iconic figure in popular culture, and there's quite a history of excellent animatronic and digital model T-Rexes out there (none of them are here). The best I've seen lately was actually in Ice Age: The Dawn of the Dinosaurs (really, no joke).
Surprisingly, not a screenshot from the boss level of Turok, the Dinosaur Hunter.
Found this behind-the-scenes picture from our movie, just thought I'd pass it along.
After they all evac to a cave, we take some time to get to know the survivors. There are only four left out of a team of 21, the rest having expired in various toothy and clawed ways over the last six years (yes, just six years in "their time", relativity be damned). There are two guys and two girls. The main guy is actually the Professor's older brother (though he's only aged six years) and he gets all the best lines. He's played by Christopher Atkins, still trying to ride the wave from The Blue Lagoon nearly 30 years ago, and he's clearly the only actor here firmly aware that he's in a shitty b-movie. Along with this primary guy is a primary sorta-attractive girl with long dancer's legs and stylish hair (I'm not even going to bother with names, they are rarely mentioned anyway).
The primary couple (they've looked better).
The other couple is a secondary random hunky former-fratboy-ish guy and a secondary random pretty young thing (yawn...). Uniquely, though, the secondary hot girl had crush on the Professor back in 1949, back when he wasn't so wrinkly and saggy. The fires of love still burn with her, however, and she even gives a few flirty eye-bats and uncoils a couple of suggestive come-hithers to the octogenarian Professor, which kinda made me thrown up in my mouth a little bit.
Random secondary hot girl.
These two "cave girls" look more like underwear models or extras on Gossip Girl than women who've been stranded in the pre-hairspray era for years, but I guess you have to aim for your target audience. Going back to an earlier thought, perhaps my dislike of the big-budget 10,000 B.C. was partially because the cave girls there were...ahem, "authentically costumed" in shabby rags and fright-show wigs, whereas the babes in 100 Million B.C. look like fresh-faced lingerie models. But I digress. Neither actress is even semi-famous, by the way, so don't bother going to imdb.com to look them up (I already checked, just bit parts in these sorts of dumpsters). I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that, in the hallowed pantheon of hitable cave babes, these two far fall short of the (all hail) great and glorious Raquel Welch from One Million Years B.C.. [Editor Pam: Yeah, look at her, now that's authentic.]
The gold standard in prehistoric masturbation fantasies.
So, ok, I'm just stalling here because this movie sucks, but time is ticking, both on the wormhole and on my patience with this movie. They have to make a run for the exit point, though the beastie gauntlet. The survivors change from their furs and leathers into 1940s outfits, including the requisite miniskirt and plunging neckline tank-top for the secondary hot girl. Surprisingly, her glacier-melting hotness does little to protect the team from an aerial attack from a hungry Pteranodon. It's the Professor's brother who brings down the bird (reptile, sorry, Bakker) with an arrow.
Who knew Argentina looked so much like Ventura County, California?
Shooting down the Pteranodon (sure).
Having only lost one expendable minority soldier along the way, the team makes it to the exit point in good order. The Professor announces then that he has to stay behind as someone (him) has to "keep the wormhole open" while the rest of them pass through it. Since he's completed his life's work (saved his brother), he's ready to die. The wormhole is pretty stable, so I'm not exactly sure why the rushed farewells, other than for dramatic reasons, but they say goodbye and jump through. As the scene ends the T-Rex attacks the Professor, does he die? More on him later.
The last goodbye.
And...poof, back to modern-day Los Angeles for the rest of the film. Through the wormhole come the four survivors and three SEALs and there is much rejoicing and back-slapping. The soldiers have only been gone a few seconds in "2008 real time", of course, but have the scars and stories to prove their journey (Einstein would be so proud). But something has followed them through the still-open wormhole, and we all know that the T-Rex will come jumping out of the time portal, right? I mean, seriously, you had to know this was coming.
The T-Rex emerges. If that guy from before jumped into a tree,
then why didn't the T-Rex have the arms of the stargate embedded in his legs?
The dinosaur easily breaks out of the lab and is on the loose. Commander Greg and the four 1940s survivors hope to stop it before it goes postal on the city. They all pile into Greg's Hummer that was parked nearby and roar off in pursuit of the beast. In a *cough-cough* homage to Jurassic Park the T-Rex chases after them for a while before wandering off to find some chorizo tacos. So we now have a full-grown, pointy-toothed T-Rex running about a nearly abandoned Los Angeles, where all the streets are empty and no one is awake (it's like nobody ever goes outside of their house after dark in Southern California).
The size of the dino often changes between shots, sometimes
it's 12 feet tall, other times it's 40 feet tall, depending on what it has
to interact with at the time.
You can't have a movie in Los Angeles without a Hummer, union rules.
They escape eventually and drive to a landing pad where a Seahawk helicopter waits for them. This means nothing to most people, but Commander Greg called "Coronado" to have this helicopter sent up to meet them. The Coronado base is down in San Diego, however, several hours' flight from LA, not to mention that there are several other military bases right there in the city. It's the details that nag at me. Anyway, the helo is all CGI, but at least it looks like a helicopter on the inside, unlike so many other crappy b-movies where the inside of a plane or a chopper is little more than a cleared-out office cubicle with some Sony headphones and a flashing spotlight.
Another of my nitpicky peeves in movies is people talking to each other in a flying helicopter without intercoms. If you've ever been in a helicopter, especially a Sea/Blackhawk, you know how impossible it is to hear/talk over the rotors.
An LAPD chopper arrives to help, but the boys in blue don't seem too interested in dinosaurs (there's a homeless guy stealing a lawnmower down on 93rd Street and all units are racing there). The cops try to use thermal imaging but they can't see anything. It's helpfully explained that dinosaurs are exothermic, that's why you can't see one on heat-vision gear. This, of course, is crap as even an exothermic animal gives off some ambient heat, especially if it's 60-feet long and weighs as much as a bus. Plus, who needs thermal imaging gear when you should have a million 9-1-1 calls pouring in complaining about some dinosaur knocking over mailboxes?
Dude, is that a Jack in the Box down there? Pick me up a Sourdough Jack!
They find the beast and the Seahawk takes some shots but they stop because of all civilians in area (right, because some stray machinegun rounds bouncing around is way worse than a rampaging twenty-ton carnivorous dinosaur). Frustrated with the modern military's hamfisted approach to dino-hunting, the four oldsters leap thirty feet to the pavement from the moving helicopter, bounce up without a scratch, and run off like gazelles (it's noted that they've been living in an environment with "11% more oxygen" for the last six years, so they have the strength of ten men...). They will do this "their way", because, you know, they're experts in killing T-Rexes and all.
The T-Rex is still running around, mind you, munching innocent nightshift garbagemen and stomping on minivans. As the death/carnage toll rises I have to wonder why it is that every single (every damn one!) representation of the T-Rex in film has it be a violent, kill-crazy, man-eating monster that will instantly attack anything that comes within a hundred feet of it in an unstoppable frenzy of teeth and claws. A Great White shark will let a diver pat it on the head if its tummy is full, a grizzly bear will run away from a hiker unless provoked, even Edward the Sparkly Vampire only feeds when he's got the bloodmunchies, but apparently a T-Rex is always starving and always pissed off. Just once I'd like to see a T-Rex that just wanted to play fetch or get scratched on the belly.
Dino on the prowl, just looking for a club where he won't get carded.
Because of the film's paltry budget (most of which it seems they blew on renting that Hummer), they have to shoot out on the streets at night. Unfortunately, you can't keep everyone out of the background of shots that you are going to insert digital effects into later (well, you can, but it takes effort and that's not a word that anyone here understands), and so you get to see random Angelinos strolling down the sidewalks as a massive dinosaur supposedly clomps around ten feet away (also notice all the taxis and cars driving by, not at all concerned by the carnage). While I'm raging, the first half of this movie was filmed in gloriously bright daylight, but the second half, where most of the "action" is, is filmed at night and that just pisses me right the hell off (can't get decent screen-grabs, if you must know the reason for my anger). On the plus side, however, we see that the secondary hot girl is wearing an oh-so-not-1940s thong under that leatherette miniskirt, which is just classy on every level.
Actually, scratch Raquel Welch, the ultimate cavewoman
babe has got to be Betty Rubble.
The new, new plan is to lure the T-Rex into the "3rd Street Tunnel", where they will presumably poke at it with sharp sticks and whatnot. They chase it here and there, giving us numerous chances to see the secondary hot girl's boobs bounce (the primary girl is in A-cup purgatory so the camera studiously avoids her). Meanwhile, one single US Navy fighter jet is loitering over the area, in constant contact with Commander Greg, who now seems to be in complete charge of the entire civil and military chain of command in Southern California. Typical of his awesomeness, Commander Greg casually orders the LAPD to immediately, "Close off all the roads into the downtown!", like that would even be remotely possible.
Nice CGI Hornet.
For their part, Los Angeles' cops dutifully block off the tunnel and a half dozen of them take up positions (we hear that they have "incendiary bombs and flamethrowers", which might explain why the Rodney King riots got so out of hand). The T-Rex, following our heroes, bumps up against the police line and routs them with ease (so much for flamethrowers...).
Run, coppers, run!
The now supremely pissed-off T-Rex is about to munch our heroes when suddenly a wormhole opens and a WWII-era halftrack materializes in front of them! WTF!? The dozen or so soldiers in the halftrack open up with machineguns and rifles, driving the dinosaur back. Now, another pet peeve of mine is skin-of-steel movie monsters that are impervious to modern military firearms. A .50 caliber round (like what is blazing away from the back of the halftrack) has an insane penetration factor, you can't tell me that the skin of any terrestrial animal that ever lived, dinosaur or not, could turn one away. But this is Hollywood, so they might as well be shooting spitballs at the beast and the T-Rex squashes the halftrack flat.
Opening fire (nice pyro effect on the bazooka).
The T-Rex now helpfully takes a five-minute cigarette break as we get some exposition. One of the soldiers (from the halftrack) jumped off in time and he now comes up to talk to our heroes. Amazingly, this 20something baby-faced lieutenant tells them that he's actually the Professor! From 1950! Huh? 1950Professor explains that 2008Professor didn't die when the T-Rex attacked back when they were warping out of the Cretaceous (remember?), but, in fact, somehow managed to leap into the wormhole as it was closing and escape. But for some reason (shit, wha...?) he emerged, not in 2008, but in 1950. And he contacted "himself", 1950Professor, and told him what happened. The two Professors then created a time portal machine thingie and they sent 1950Professor forward in time to 2008 with a halftrack full of GIs, just in the nick of time to save our heroes from the T-Rex. Wait, how did he know what was going to happen with the T-Rex in 2008? 2008Professor didn't know, he isn't here, he didn't come back with them so he would have no way of knowing that a T-Rex is loose in LA. And how did they know to jump right here to this tunnel at this exact moment?
1950Professor gets a brotherly hug. Didn't anyone see A Sound of Thunder?
Not an hour ago she was kissing on his 78-year old future-self,
if that's not nightmare fuel, I don't know what is.
Hey, here's a thought. Assuming he knew it was even here, why didn't 1950Professor, knowing that the T-Rex was virtually impervious to small arms (via 2008Professor), not send through the wormhole something more effective than some mustachioed doughboys with dinky rifles? Like a tank, or maybe a nice howitzer. For that matter, if 1950Professor had a working time machine back in 1950, why doesn't anyone in 2008 know about it? Anyway, 1950Professor tosses an extra time travel spike thingie into the charging T-Rex's mouth. Poof! No more T-Rex, sent back to his own time. I should note that during all of this, the entire city of Los Angeles remains asleep and blissfully unaware of the whole dinosaur rampage thing.
The wormhole sucks in the T-Rex.
So, the wormhole to 1950 is still open, and for some reason 1950Professor wants to go back (huh, why?). Because the secondary hot girl was in love with 1949Professor (and she got all kissy both with 2008Professor and now with 1950Professor, barf) she decides to go with him back to 1950 so they can have babies and stuff (even though she now knows what he's going to look like by 2008, which can't be a good thing). The secondary hunky guy also wants to go back to 1950 because he left a wife and child back in 1949 (he gets a pass, though he's going to be pissed to find out his wife is now married to Marshall from accounting).
Like before, someone has to stay on the 2008 end of this wormhole and close it up (why bother? If they all just go through, who cares if it then closes up?). The Professor's hairy brother takes the bullet willingly, in repayment for 2008Professor doing the same for him back in the Cretaceous. Since the brother and the tall boobless girl are a couple, it's no surprise that she decides to stay with her man in 2008. That's fine, because they don't exist in this timeline, as they both disappeared in 1949, so they can't run into geriatric versions of themselves here in 2008 (unlike the dead bodies of those GIs that might have "alive" versions still kicking around some nursing home in Coral Gables at the same time, causing Einstein's head to catch on fire again). The movie ends as the happy couple closes the wormhole and then skips down the (still empty) street. And...closing credits, thank god.
Of course, none of this makes any damn sense at all. But I don't really care, because it was just a silly movie and I only paid 99cents for it. I would like to mention, however, that 1950Professor (thanks to 2008Professor leaping into his era) now has a time machine (or, since it's 2008 in "real movie time", he's had it for the last 58 years). Maybe it broke again and he couldn't get it to work, but maybe not, and you'd think that there would be some butterfly-ripple effects on the 2008 timeline if time-travel were possible since the 1950s. At the very least someone in the Guv'mint would gone back and stopped disco music from emerging, which should be job-one in my book. I'm over thinking this, aren't I? [Editor Pam: 'Fraid so...]
One last unrelated cave babe picture to wash the
horridness of this movie out of your brain...
Written in May 2010 by Nathan Decker and edited by Pam Burda.
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