Much like the Philosopher’s Stone allowed us to finally translate the ancient languages, I think “Triassic Attack” has allowed us to finally come to some sort of unified field theory of SyFy Channel original movies. At the end of this review, I want everyone reading to use the things you’ve learned and write your own scripts – be sure and put in a part for a brave and devilishly handsome film reviewer, though.
SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY:Put it where it doesn’t belong. We drill somewhere we shouldn’t, or explore where we shouldn’t, or our experiments are just too experimental. Not the most original observation.
Straight away, no fooling, dinosaur skeletons attacking people! Are they zombies, or magic, or weird robotic creatures? We don’t know yet, but they look pretty badass. A brief blast of action, then “24 hours earlier” (surely my least favourite trope in all of film) to see a University about to take over a small run-down Native American village and turn it into…who knows? Probably a car park, or something with the word “Executive” in the title. The guy who played the villain in “Top Secret” is the Dean of the University, but of more interest to us is Emilia Clarke, who must have been minutes away from signing the contract to play Daenerys in “Game Of Thrones”, as the Sheriff’s daughter, the Dean’s soon-to-be-stepdaughter, and the girlfriend of one of the fraternity pledges. Oh, and she’s the grand-neice of the primary Native American character.
SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY: The evil authority figure. It’s a Government science experiment, or a secret military thing, or something. This isn’t a particularly amazing revelation (again).
We then meet the Sheriff, who looks incredibly similar to the Sheriff in SyFy Channel show “Eureka”. Turns out this was directed by Colin Ferguson, who plays that Sheriff, so I can only assume he wanted to play the part as well, but SyFy turned him down so he hired his double. His wife is about to marry the evil Dean.
SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY: The estranged couple and their teenage children. This is the biggest of them all – from “Sharknado” on down, SyFy movies are rotten with husbands winning back the love of their wives thanks to their ability in a crisis. Compatibility and mutual trust? Get back to the 60s, hippy!
The native chief, pissed off that he can’t save his town, does a magic spell and brings all the skeletons in the local museum back to life. Meanwhile, the daughter whines at the Mother until she’s allowed to go and hang out with her boyfriend and the rest of the people trying to get into the fraternity, while the wife takes out a group of archaeology students to look at bones.
SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY: Cannon fodder. The kid of the main couple will be part of a larger group – cheerleaders, football players, tour buses, groups of horny teenagers – and it is from their ranks that the monster will get most of its food.
The main body of the film is people making poor decisions, then other people getting eaten, while the stars try and figure out a way to stop it all. While it’s hard to hate a film like this, it does its best to make you – the wife being the most egregious example. My notes read “I HOPE YOU DIE, YOU’RE SMILING ABOUT AND ALL YOUR STUDENTS AND YOUR DAUGHTER’S FRIENDS ARE DEAD”. She’s a former beauty queen, like ISCFC favourite Shandi Finnessey, but unlike Shandi she’s a horrible charisma vacuum of an actress.
Remember that flash-forward at the beginning? The way they work is, you either need to resolve them fairly quickly, or fairly near the end. It’s like a cliffhanger of sorts, or a setup to the world of the movie. What you don’t do is put the resolution to it 45 minutes in, and have it make no difference to the ending of the film at all.
SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY: “Haha, all our friends are dead”. Regular readers will know and love this – when the problem is resolved, no matter how many of your nearest and dearest are dead, have a laugh with the other survivors!
This film has an extremely high number of British people in central roles. All four of the main people in the film are British, even though only one of them uses their real accent, which adds a layer of oddness when we see Emilia Clarke doing a rain-dance and chanting towards the end. She also has the film’s dumbest line, when Sheriff tells her that her Uncle can’t do magic, to which she replied “He can if we believe!” NO HE CAN’T, DUMMY!
The coolest moment in the film comes when the T-Rex and pterranodon skeletons get blown up next to each other, so when they reform themselves, Terminator 2-style, they turn into a super-scary flying T-Rex. Sadly, there aren’t enough cool moments in the film, and despite its fairly decent pace and effects, it’s a pretty boring film. It feels like an extended episode of “Eureka”, to be honest, with Native American magic replacing scientific craziness.
Don’t dwell too closely on the themes running through this film, dear reader – if native Americans can bring virtually indestructible dinosaur skeletons back to life, why didn’t they do so when white folk were killing and displacing them all? I hope Native Americans would think this film was as dumb as I do, and would be annoyed at the constant poor decision making demonstrated by the wife too.
Rating: thumbs down
FINAL SYFY MOVIE MAINSTAY: Twist of nature. Almost all the baddies in SyFy Channel movies are twists of nature – powerful storms, mutated animals, powerful mutated animal storms, etc.
So now I’ve given you the building blocks to write your own film! And if the handsome film reviewer could maybe have a model girlfriend in your “Croc-Pocalypse” script, that would be great too.