I heard that Gene Siskel's deathbed confession was that he really didn't like this movie at all.

In 1993 there were two movies made and released about dinosaurs being brought back using DNA (which explains everything), and killing everyone. One was a box office behemoth, smashing records left and right, setting the SFX world ahead by leaps and bounds, and is still regarded as a great movie to this very day. The other had a hand puppet someone possibly bought at the gift store of a Natural History Museum, and was made for a budget that was 1/63rd of the other.

Bet you can't tell which one I am going to review?

"Carnosaur" is to "Jurassic Park" as "Transmorphers" is to "Transformers", namely a coat tale movie thrown together in no time flat to leach off the popularity of a bigger name movie. This film (produced by the king of quick shoots, Roger Corman) took 18 days to make and cost an estimated 1 million to produce. Even in 1993 money, that is not a budget for a film, but rather a budget for a commercial. A short commercial. With no frills.

OK, maybe a few frills.

The film tells the story of a evil and crazy scientist (played by Diane Ladd, mother of Laura Dern who was in "Jurassic Park" and also 2001's "Novocaine" with Kevin Bacon. Or how about this one, Diane Ladd was in 1990's "Wild At Heart" with Sherilyn Fenn who was in 2004's "Cave Dweller with Kevin Bacon. That's called dropping knowledge, fools.) has created an evil and crazy virus that targets human women and kills them all dead and stuff, and forces them to give birth to eggs, even though that makes no scientific sense. Also chickens seem to be giving birth to dinosaurs. All of this is going on at the same time, and really doesn't seem to have any meaningful connection to one another that makes sense.

You see, Dr. Evil Lady wants to rid the world of people and give it back to natures most kind and considerate animal, the dinosaur. This isn't a joke, she really thinks they are intelligent and giving and wonderful, even though they had brains in their butts and spiky heads. Nothing good has ever had a spiky head or butt brains. Ever.

Point. Made.

So, with her massive knowledge of DNA, she re-writes the DNA of chickens, because that is something you can do apparently, and has them give birth to dinosaurs, because that is something you can do apparently. If this was all, things would make sense, we would have dinosaurs running around, and, given the sheer number of chickens out there, one could amass an army pretty damn quick. Well done Evil Lady...oh wait, you have more? You have created a virus to target women to kill them off, so humanity will crumble all the faster, OK, I can dig the contingency plan and...and they will shoot dino eggs out of their uterine holes? Giant eggs. Eggs the size off moss melons? But you already have chicken dinosaurs, why would you need more? All this would do is raise suspicious as to why random lady parts are exploding with eggs, as opposed to wondering why people are dieing of influenza, a common disease that has already wiped out most of humanity more than once. Lady, you need to focus, it's like half of your plan was written by your four year old grandson.

Doctor "And the disease shall decimate the population, rending the woman infertile and the men worthless to propagate the species. Within a year I shall have the world bending at their knees, recognizing me, me as their lord and master!"

Timmy: "And there's gonna be dinosaurs!"

Doctor: "Of course dear, grandma's gonna make dinosaurs"

Timmy: "And people gonna make eggs too!"

Doctor: "Sure, whatever you want for your birthday."

Timmy: "Thanks Nana!"

When any part of your master plan, any part, feels like it was made by someone who still hasn't totally gotten the hang of the whole potty training thing, do yourself a favor and rework your plan, it is faulty.

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the war room!

So we have dinosaurs terrorizing a small town, and people dieing of a fever (it should be noted that the fever thing popped up mid movie, and without any prior set up, I think they forgot about it til then), and everything is going nuts all at once. If I had to make one complaint about "Carnosaur" (and that is tough to do, as there are many complaints to be had), it is that the film doesn't make sense until the third act. I can understand keeping a few cards close to the chest until the end, that is a normal part of the story telling process, but everything for the first hour of the film is so very random that it is impossible to get a real grip on what is going on. We have government agents getting attacked in a chicken truck, random dinosaurs, Clint Howard eating, some sort of scientist lady, all thrown at the screen without regard for telling a story. If they had waited and relieved the government agency in the end of the film, and instead just had a dinosaur pop up and start killing people, that would have made the first two acts stronger, but instead too much info is given to build suspense, but not enough info is given to make sense. But Clint Howard is in it, so it is not a total loss.

He makes everything better. That is said with 100% sincerity too, no joke.

What we are given with "Carnosaur" is traditional Roger Corman film-making, decent enough acting coupled with hurried writing, moderate directing and terrible editing and effects; which, no matter how that sounds, is not a bad thing. Corman does what very few people in Hollywood can claim, and manages to produce movies on budget, and on schedule 100% of the time, and never loses money on anything. He makes schlock exclusively, but it is always the best possible schlock, the kind of movies that you can put on with a group of friends and laugh, and drink and just have a good time with; and he's been doing that for decades. People unfairly compare his movies to garbage, or worse, McDonald's  I say nay! Roger Corman's films are not like McDonalds, they are like White Castle, terrible while sober, but manna from heaven when drunk.

You keep making movies Mr. Corman, and I will keep drinking, and our relationship will be just fine.

Rating: C-

Leave a Reply.