A little theory, which is mine, regarding film. This theory, at its simplest, holds that the following is a self-evident truth: that the film has not been made that cannot be improved by the addition of dinosaurs. The corollary is that there are strict limits to how bad any film with dinosaurs can be. by extension, the replacement of dinosaurs with a monster of some sort of description is acceptable. I can tell by the skeptical rise of your eyebrow that you donâ€™t believe me.
I invite you to put the theory to the test. Letâ€™s use Steven Spielberg as a case study. A great many people have found flaws of one sort or another with Jurassic Park. Fair enough. But if you are one of those not overly fond of the film, consider how much more you would dislike it if there were no dinosaurs at all in it. See? It would completely suck. On the other hand, letâ€™s think about Schindlerâ€™s List. Sure, great movie and all, moving, powerful, yadda yadda yadda, but what if the climax had seen a T-Rex show up to stomp that nasty death camp flat. Now that movie would have rocked.
I present this theory at this juncture because I recently saw a trailer for something called Dragon Wars. Now, dragons arenâ€™t dinosaurs, I realize, but I refer you to the first paragraph, and as monsters go, the creatures visible in the trailer are very clearly reptilian, so weâ€™re definitely in the dinosaurian neighbourhood, and close is good enough for horseshoes, hand grenades, and this theory. The film is being released September 14, and given how soon that will be upon us, the film if flying very low under the radar for such an expensive production. Not a good sign. Nor, for that matter is Varietyâ€™s review, whose first paragraph I present here:
â€œBad-mutha Korean serpents trash downtown L.A. in English-language monsterfest “D-War,” a feast of A-grade f/x married to a Z-grade, irony-free script. After some eight years in planning, production and post, and just over two years since live-action shooting wrapped, South Korea’s biggest-budget production by far (reportedly $70 million) looks likely to end up the most expensive cult movie on DVD. Though often visually entertaining, and superior to helmer Shim Hyeung-rae’s last monster outing (1999’s “Yonggary,” aka “Reptilian”), pic looks to have an uphill fight in the hardtop arena.â€
Even here, though, we note how the presence of the monsters is what keeps this movie watchable. This can also be said of another film that came out late one summer, to relatively little fanfare, and which closed quickly (deservedly so): A Sound of Thunder. This oneâ€™s been out on disc for some time now, and if genre fans (specifically fans of the quality-challenged) missed it in the theatres, well… perhaps they should continue to do so. It is a completely terrible film, and would be absolute torture to watch were it not for two elements:
1) Ben Kingsleyâ€™s terrifying hair;
2) the dinosaurs and dinosaur-derived creatures.
I submit to you that this film is the final, incontrovertible proof of my theory. Sit down. Watch it. Go on, I dare you. And try to imagine the experience without dinosaurs.
You will weep tears of blood.