A science team is stranded 100 million years ago in time when a time travel experiment in the 70s failed. 30 years later after perfecting the technology, a rescue team is sent back to retrieve them. Whilst there they encounter all manner of carnivorous dinosaurs and venomous plants. However upon their return to the present, they inadvertently bring back a dinosaur and runs rampant through Los Angeles.
The Asylum have a reputation for being cash-in merchants when it comes to the next big thing. Scroll down their list of films over the past few years and you’ll see what I mean. Whenever there’s a big blockbuster coming out, they quickly run off and make a cheap knock-off version, affectionately known as ‘mock busters.’ To show you how blatant this is, when Transformers came out, they made one called Transmorphers. You’ve got Snakes on a Train (Snakes on a Plane), I Am Omega (I Am Legend), The Da Vinci Treasure (The Da Vinci Code) – see where I am going with this? Usually their version have identikit titles as well as pretty much the same plots just with about one tenth of the budget. Can you guess which one 100 Million BC is supposed to be cashing in against?
However this one shares absolutely no similarities with Roland Emmerick’s CGI-fest 10,000 BC apart from the title. In fact this has much more to do with a solid but highly-berated film called A Sound of Thunder made a few years about time travellers who accidentally change the past and cause the modern day to change into a prehistoric wasteland. That had ideas and designs on being much more than it’s budget allowed which is a shame because it was actually pretty good. This one goes even further and takes away any budget that had and just reworks the story with their usual array of bad washed up actors and atrocious special effects.
The first thing that smacks you in the face is how the film desperately tries to be something it clearly can’t afford to be. The whole idea of time travel and changing the future needs budget to do it. So when this clearly expensive time travelling machine is located in some rusty old warehouse in Los Angeles and manned by a crew of two technicians and an army guy barking orders, you don’t buy it one bit. Even worse are the attempts to explain time travel and paradoxes – just forget the explanations and I’d probably buy it more than the two-bit attempts to describe what happened to the audience.
Actually the first half of the film is as entertaining as it could be as soon as the crew go back in time on the rescue mission. There’s plenty of grunts to be killed off in various ways. If it’s poison-spitting plants, monstrous crocodiles or just good ol’ raptors, these army guys have their backs up against it from the start. The problem starts when the dinosaur on the front of the box shows up. Only it looks nothing like that ferocious-looking thing on the box. It’s red, it’s goofy looking and it’s a travesty of CGI. There’s no other way to describe it. I honestly can’t comment on how pathetic it looks. It just sickens me to know that special effects from 50 years ago still hold up strong today whereas this cinematic turd will be flushed away in a year or so. Unfortunately this is the main threat that the characters will face both in the past and then back in the present. The dinosaur follows them back through the wormhole and proceeds to go on a “rampage” in Los Angeles. This last bit of the film reminded me a bit of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, only without the decent T-Rex and entertainment value. It also gets boring quickly as somehow the dinosaur keeps managing to hide itself and there only seems to be a handful of people doing anything about it. You’d have thought a dinosaur running rampant would cause a bit more of a panic. But this one is smart and tries to keep itself to the back alleys and streets. The front cover is grossly misleading as it looks like the dinosaur is taking on a battalion of tanks and gun ships – the reality is that one helicopter hovers around the action for a bit to keep track of the dinosaur and then the finale involves an armed vehicle.
Poor Michael Gross. For those of you who liked and enjoyed Tremors, he was Burt Gummer, the bad ass gun nut who wasn’t afraid of anything. He looks like he really needed the pay cheque here. He does add a bit of credibility to the science side of the film but I think that’s because he looks old more than anything else. A quick thought on the character that Gross plays: if you are the only guy who can operate a time travel machine, why do you go back in time to potentially be killed, thus ending the chances of your team getting back? Greg Avigan is also listed on the front cover (I’m not familiar with his work) but he has about ten lines in the film as the army commander who oversees the experiment. And Christopher Atkins is also starring. The fresh-faced young man who got to hang around with a naked Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon has turned into a grumpy-looking has-been who takes these two-bit roles to give him a leading role. My anger towards him simply stems from the fact he starred in the dreadful Caved-In: Prehistoric Terror. One thing that he should learn is how to react to something that isn’t there. It’s a hard job trying to act when the monster is added in post-production but countless actors have managed it with success. Given he seems to be taking a few of these CGI monster movie roles, would it be hard to make the effort in future?
100 Million BC is a shockingly bad film let down by everything: the shoddy acting, the ridiculous script and the abominable special effects. One of the most dreadful films I’ve ever seen and that’s saying something.