Eden Formula, The (2006)

The Eden Formula (2006)

Some experiments should never be attempted

A group of industrial terrorists break into a lab in order to steal the ‘Eden Formula’ which makes it possible to synthetically reproduce any organism including prehistoric dinosaurs. Unfortunately for everyone involved, in order to accomplish this, the terrorists use a computer to unlock every door in the complex, including the cage door where a Tyrannosaurus Rex has been kept locked away.

 

If you’ve got a unquenchable thirst to watch a really bog awful science-fiction flick with a gigantic toy dinosaur running amok, then allow me to direct your attention to The Eden Formula. Like many ‘monster-on-the-loose’ films of late, the plot revolves a monstrous threat and then some human villains throwing a spanner in the works who eventually take centre stage. Whatever happened to the monster being the star of the show? Too many films have given us human villains for the heroes to fight and battle against, with the monster being relegated to the background until the finale where the villains inevitably get it. This one is no different. Why get a big-assed monster, let it loose and then spend most of the film showing the humans fighting each other? The Eden Formula isn’t the only film to do this but when the whole plot revolves a dinosaur escaping, you actually expect to see it outside causing some mayhem.

Originally-titled the even cheesier sounding Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, this waste of time is helmed by long-time make-up and effects guy John Carl Buechler. It’s quite ironic given his history of special effects that it’s the dinosaur on the front cover which is one of the film’s biggest weaknesses. It’s absurd. I’ve seen a lot of rubbish puppets in my time, but this dinosaur is the worst of the bunch. I did laugh when I saw it. I mean this was made in 2005, not 1975 so why does it look worse than anything made back in the day? Some shots of the dinosaur are CGI but not many. Some look like a crappy toy being waved about in front of the camera. But for the most part, it’s a sock-puppet and the only movement seems to be in the neck and jaws. So whenever it turns its head, its body crumples up. I bet someone had their hand stuck up it to move it around.  Hell, I even think they used some recycled footage from the equally dreadful Carnosaur films.

Watching the characters try and interact with this ridiculous monster was almost as comical as the dinosaur itself. The worst thing is that you see the dinosaur every five minutes or so, usually eating some random hobo or street thug. As with the similarly-themed 100 Million BC, the dinosaur escapes in to the city but keeps itself to the back alleys and streets, avoiding anywhere that may have cost the film some extra cash to shoot a decent scene. To say the film is set over a couple of hours, the dinosaur ends up right outside the lab for the finale. It’s either got a good sense of direction, knowing to return for the big finale, or it just got homesick. And these attack scenes have no purpose to them whatsoever. You’ll meet a character for about ten seconds – a delivery guy, a cleaner, a pimp and his hooker, some thugs, etc. and then the dinosaur shows up and eats them. Then the film switches back to the lab for more shenanigans with messers Fahey and Todd. Repeat this cycle for almost the entire ninety-two minutes and you’ve got a pretty boring flick. Instead of the characters trying to stop it, they are too busy playing hide and seek around the lab. Not once do they think “hang on a minute, the dinosaur escaped and could be terrorising the city and killing hundreds of innocent people.” The dinosaur is the star attraction on the box and the plot but come the actual film and it’s an after-thought.

Quite how Jeff Fahey, Dee Wallace-Stone and Tony Todd were conned into starring in this remains to be seen. I hope Buechler threw away those dodgy nude photos of Mr Todd away when he finished shooting. Truth be told, they are actually the best bit of the film. Fahey doesn’t slum nearly half as bad as he’s done in crap like Blue Demon, Dee Wallace-Stone just reminds me of Gremlins and Tremors every time I see her and Todd, well Todd has this uncanny knack of turning even the most dreadful dialogue into poetic masterpieces. It’s his unmistakeable deep voice which just demands respect each time he opens his mouth. He plays the leader of the terrorists and he’s the best bit of the film, chewing up the scenery and generally being bad ass throughout. After being at each other’s throats all throughout the film, the climatic fight between Fahey and Todd is the best bit of the film. Sad to say, but so true.

 

As far as Z-grade films go, The Eden Formula must rank up with the very best (or worst depending on your point of view). It’s so ridiculously awful in pretty much every sense that I feel grotty and sleazy for even watching it in the first place. The token half star goes to Jeff Fahey and Tony Todd – despite knowing how bad the film is, they actually put some effort into their performances.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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