By RICH FOLEY
I don’t know about most people, but I’m not very impressed by the movie industry’s growing practice of making more and more sequels and slightly different versions of any movie that happens to do well at the box office. I suppose people who liked the original movie are happy, but how about a limit on this?
When was the last time a year passed without another James Bond, Star Trek, Star Wars, Fast and Furious or other attempt to cash in by basically making the same movie again with a few cosmetic changes? Do we really need a Hangover 3?
I’m thinking it’s time Hollywood finally makes a movie of the Dinosaurs Attack trading card series, which debuted way back in 1988. I’ll explain the plot in a minute. The Topps Company, which produced the set, sold the movie rights at the time and Tim Burton was set to direct the motion picture. The idea was shelved when word of the production of “Jurassic Park” leaked out.
Yes, back then, Hollywood balked at the idea of two dinosaur movies coming out in the same year. Instead, Burton directed a movie based on another Topps trading card product, the classic Mars Attacks! set from 1962. This one still shows up on late night television. If you haven’t seen it, don’t read the rest of this paragraph. At first, it appeared the Martians would conquer the Earth, but in the end, the music of Slim Whitman proved to be the secret weapon that defeated them. Thanks again, Slim.
But back to Dinosaurs Attack! A scientist, Dr, Elias Thorne, has developed a process that bathes the Earth with some sort of a particle beam from his space station lab. The beam allows him to “unfreeze” moments in time and display them in a wall of light in the space station. Thorne decided to begin with studying the age of the dinosaurs.
Things went well at first, until a pair of huge reptilian eyes appeared on the screen, followed by several explosions on the space station. Then word reached the station that many thousands, if not millions, of dinosaurs have appeared all over the planet. Things go downhill rapidly after that.
Three dinosaurs materialize at the White House and eat the President, First Lady, and several Secret Service agents. You’d think that Nancy Reagan’s astrologer would have warned her about the imminent threat.
The dinosaurs go on to kill millions in especially bloody ways, targets including the Statue of Liberty, our military, and a thinly disguised McDonald’s restaurant (the sign reads “Over 3 quadrillion sold”).
My favorite card in the set is called “Rock Concert Carnage.” The front depicts a pair of dinosaurs wreaking havoc on stage at a rock concert. The reverse side of the card is the really entertaining part. Like several cards in the set, it’s an actual photo with cartoon-like balloons containing quotes from those pictured. The three performers in the photo are dead ringers for Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
The Stills look-alike is saying, “It was crazy, man! Some *#!#*! dinosaur jumps on the stage and starts tearin’ my hair out!” The interviewer concludes, “Apparently the plant-eating creatures mistook the hair of these rock performers for the tops of trees they fed upon a hundred million years ago!”
A nearly bald duplicate of David Crosby simply says “Heavy,” while a reasonable facsimile of an almost hairless Graham Nash stands behind his band mates, pensively considering the situation. Luckily, Neil Young was apparently not touring with them at the time.
Meanwhile, back at the space station, it becomes clear that the giant eyes seen on Dr. Thorne’s screen belong to an evil reptile overseer of the dinosaurs. While he attempts to find a way to reverse what he caused, the reptile is able to reach out of the screen and pull Thorne into the past, where he is killed. Finally, Thorne’s beautiful widow, Helen, is able to complete calculations and reverse the process that brought the dinosaurs to the present day and send them back to their own time.
I know, you’re probably thinking there’s no need to see a possible movie now that I’ve explained the best parts, but I’m still looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. After all, if nothing else, Crosby, Stills and Nash probably need the work.