No one loves miniature things more than Charles Band and Full Moon Entertainment (in this case, Moonbeam), and “Prehysteria!” is a great example of such a statement. Not only does Charles Band manage to find a way to squeeze dinosaurs on to a film with such a small budget, but he does so in a very creative way. In the decade, dinosaurs were in vogue with everyone putting dinosaurs in to pop culture, and “Prehysteria!” is one of the better products of the time. It takes dinosaurs and makes them cute little critters with rock star names. And yes it’s a childhood favorite.
It’s a shame that we’ve reached this milestone, but it warrants noting that “Jurassic World” is the first “Jurassic Park” movie to ever put me to sleep. I’m not saying “Fallen Kingdom” is an awful movie, it’s just that it’s not a very good one. If “Jurassic World” became a Saturday morning cartoon to entertain kids between bowls of cereal and bathroom breaks, “Fallen Kingdom” would be the pilot episode. It’s thin on narrative, but crowded with a ton of half baked, under developed characters, all of whom are so paper thin we barely get to know them, or engage ourselves with them all over again.
“Dinosaur Valley Girls” is a film I remember watching in the days of cable TV when it was a haven for bad films. Much of the nostalgia flashes back with what is a guilty pleasure that revolves around boobs and hammy acting. Tony Marco, an actor tired with the monotony of a mansion, fame, a gorgeous sex starved girlfriend, and a mistress, finds himself wanting more in life. Who could ask for anything more, eh? Well, for Tony, he desires much more, something more down-to-Earth, and natural—especially now that he’s haunted by dreams of a blonde cave woman.
I’m not sure who is to blame for this film, but this is a terrible way to close out the “Prehysteria!” series. What began as a novel movie turns in to a piss poor series of kids films with diminishing returns thanks to the budget that gets lower and lower with every film. The original family that discovered the small dinosaurs must not have loved these animals too much, as when the third film opens, they’re once again being cared for by the eccentric old man from the second film who proceeds to lose them once again.
It’s a shame that “The Good Dinosaur” will forever be regarded as one of Pixar’s black sheep titles. Because as a whole it’s one of their most original and unique tales that channels the modern Western to invoke a tale about family, getting over one’s own shortcomings, and learning that life is often senseless and unfair. Pixar uses the aesthetic of the dinosaur to help induce the idea of nature and how the environment around us is both an element we must fear and respect in the long run. As with most Pixar films, “The Good Dinosaur” doesn’t justify the idea of death with simplicity, nor does it coddle the intended target audience. It instead takes us through a large journey and tells us that yes, life is hard, yes life is very unfair, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop living.
Like every studio, Moonbeam and Charles Band were seeking their fortune with their own version of “Home Alone” that would bring in the big bucks. With sub-par efforts like “Remote,” there was also the “Prehysteria!” movies which always featured the owners of a foursome of miniature dinosaurs battling evil grown ups of some kind. Set immediately after the original, the foursome of dinosaurs now live with their new family The Taylors in the green house. Seeking to have their chance to feast on the family’s large crop of raisins, they’re accidentally scooped in to a large crate and sent off for shipping by local farmers. Luckily, they’re discovered by bratty but lonely rich boy Brendan, who befriends the miniature dinosaurs, and tries to keep them a secret from his mean house keeper Miss Whitney.
Watching “Josh Kirby” is like watching a lost series from the Action Pack stunt from television in 1995, where you almost expect it to air alongside “Hercules.” in truth, the series of six films unfolds like one short kids television adventure series, and even for a movie aimed at kids, it’s hard to catch up. There’s so much about this universe, that the movie opens with a five minute montage of scenes from the movie that’s somehow meant to keep us up to speed with what we haven’t seen yet. Really, it feels like filler and an odd place to place such a device when it’d be suited more appropriately for the second part of the film series.
“Jurassic World” is the “Gremlins 2” of the “Jurassic Park” franchise. It’s filled with call backs to the original film, and garners a tongue in cheek attitude about itself, while commenting on the ills and woes of consumerism, the media, and theme park spectacles. And the very spectacle that became of “Jurassic Park.” There’s one instance where the technicians groan at Verizon sponsoring an animal exhibit, and there’s constant talk about how consumers always want bigger, better, and toothier. And that’s what “Jurassic World” is. It’s bigger, toothier, yet not exactly better.