I may have mentioned it before, but I'll mention it again. I have a sick, credulous obsession with insouciant Alien ripoffs. My zest for Aliens ectypes is even stronger. I need help. It's bad enough that I use words like "ectype" and "insouciant." I'm already fighting an uphill battle. I have to go and add a dogmatic appetite for vanilla, shopworn b-movies to my list of hang-ups? Yes. Yes, I do. When screenwriter Michael Palmer was commissioned to churn out a script for Carnosaur 2, he saw an opportunity to apply the skills he learned in high school. I'm not referring to masonry chops or mathematical sagacity. No, I'm talking about the skills that I, too, picked up along the way. Palmer banked on his ability to cheat.
Did you procrastinate and wait until the last second to draft your term paper? No problem! Just do what Palmer did when he was being tyrannized by a remorseless deadline. He took that empty screen and filled it with the script for Aliens. Copy. Paste. Replace character names. Replace "xenomorph" with "dinosaur." BLAMMO! Now, I'm not saying that Carnosaur 2 is marginally derivative of a certain James Cameron epic; I'm saying that it's a fine example of decreed plagiarism. I won't bore you by recapitulating all of the similarities between the two sci-fi/action hybrids (hop over to IMDb for a systematic rundown). What will I do? I'll simply tell you what you already know in your heart to be true...this insurrectionary sequel is a hoot!
The question is, how much of a hoot? I've spent hours - no, years reflecting on this. I can't decide which film I prefer. Carnosaur or Carnosaur 2? Goddamn it, it shouldn't be so laborious picking a favorite. I'm susceptible to leaning in the original's direction, if only because it's darker and weirder. This camp composite does lay claim to more burnished production values, more likeable characters and...well, more dinosaurs. For the record, the central critters are Velociraptors this time around. We still get a T-Rex, and ironically, it's the same robot model that was utilized in the first film. For the most part, miniatures and mechanical puppets subsume the footage that survived the editing stage.
With the exception of two gnarly scenes, the gore is discouragingly sparse. I dug the special effects, though. The budget couldn't have been too ponderous, but director Louis Morneau excels with the resources available. He has a knack for assembling carnage and high-octane violence on a large scale. If you need proof, watch Bats (a fun romp in its own right...don't lie to yourself). As obtuse as the protagonists are, I wanted to see them escape unscathed. I realize that I've neglected to provide a synopsis, but c'mon. A team of whatevers (I'm guessing electricians) in cramped quarters. Toss in dinosaurs. This isn't rocket surgery. On a sidenote, wouldn't it be neat if brains were rockets? Jesus, it's late.
If I could, I'd grant Carnosaur 2 a precise decimal rating. 3.28 maybe? For what it's worth, this is easily the best R-rated dinosaur movie from 1995. It's also the worst.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:23 PM