A fun symptom of the streaming service epidemic is the immersion and innovation of a new film genre. In the quest to oversaturate with content, more and more movies are entering the “so bad, it’s good” arena. The Room was the granddaddy. Sharknado was the pioneer. Now films like JURASSIC THUNDER enter this theatre of the absurd.
The line between “so bad, it’s good” and just plain bad is a fine one. It takes self-awareness, a good sense of humor, and tongue firmly planted in cheek. Where does JURASSIC THUNDER fall?
JURASSIC THUNDER is written and directed by Milko Davis (Tsunambee) and Thomas Martwick and stars Heath C. Heine, Rick Haak, and Jon Cotton. The film is about… a lot of things. When a covert military base is forced to enter enemy territory to diffuse a zombie virus outbreak in a war-torn country on the brink of nuclear war, things get dicey. Through an unlikely alliance, a group of commandos and a pack of military-trained dinosaurs are deployed to get the job done. What happens from there is total fucking chaos.
Ask me what JURASSIC THUNDER is about and I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s about a comic book. Actually, it’s about a zombie outbreak. Actually, it’s about the U.S. and the Russians trying to put a stop to World War III in a fictional South African war zone. It’s also about dinosaurs, super soldiers and occasionally zombie dinosaurs.
The overarching problem of JURASSIC THUNDER is that it is simply trying to be too much. The constantly flipping narrative is confusing and shallow. Lots of good ideas floating around, but none of them are fully fleshed out. What could be clever instead comes across as disorganized and sloppy.
In addition to a storyline that fails to be cohesive, JURASSIC THUNDER has a real problem with humor. A lampoon of President Trump makes the film feel dated before it has had a chance to be released. The comedic thesis statement of JURASSIC THUNDER is “low-hanging fruit.” Jokes are cringey, at best, and offensive, at worst, and rarely ever funny.
Don’t get me wrong, there was potential here. JURASSIC THUNDER has all the elements of a super fun movie. What killed it was an attempt to wedge in (or maybe flat out plagiarize) any possible reference that the movie could reach. We had Jurassic Park jokes and Tropic Thunder nods and asides, quips, and set-ups from other films that just served to remind us of all the better movies we could be watching.
It’s a shame that there was so much about JURASSIC THUNDER that didn’t work because the film truly excels in some areas. The practical effects and innovative camerawork were scrappy and effective and a real joy to look at. The film was doing the absolute most with very little and pulling off big-budget thrills on shoestrings. If only the script had matched up to the strong effects and visuals. JURASSIC THUNDER will be available on DVD and digital on March 10, 2020.