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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

The Eden Formula (2006)

"Some experiments should never be attempted"

Plot

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, a formulaic Sy Fy Original TV movie which is Die Hard with dinosaurs. 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, who has clearly learnt a thing or two about making terrible low-budget dinosaur films from Roger Corman when the two men worked on the Carnosaur series. In fact, you could consider this Carnosaur 5 in a non-canonical way because that's how this started off development as.


It's quite ironic given Buechler's history of special effects that it's the dinosaur on the artwork which is one of the film's biggest weaknesses. It's absurd. 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 and so it's brought to life via other means and methods. Some shots look like a plastic 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 (and having checked up, they did re-use footage)


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 conveniently 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. Watching the characters try and interact with this ridiculous monster was almost as comical as the dinosaur itself. 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, relegated to the side narrative as the Die Hard elements take centre stage.


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 nonsense like Blue Demon, Dee Wallace just reminds me of Gremlins and The Howling 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 - he understood the assignment here and does his best to lift this schlocky material. 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.

 

Final Verdict

The Eden Formula is so ridiculously awful in pretty much every sense that I feel publicly humiliated for even acknowledging that I watched it in the first place. The token star goes to Jeff Fahey and Tony Todd - despite knowing how bad the film is, they actually put some effort into their performances.



 

The Eden Formula


Also Known As: Tyrannosaurus Wrecks


Director(s): John Carl Buechler


Writer(s): John Carl Buechler


Actor(s): Jeff Fahey, Tony Todd, Alexandra Ford, Dee Wallace, Stephen Wastell, Don Luce, Paula Ficara, Gregory Gast


Duration: 92 mins




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