Jarv’s Schlock Vault: Pterodactyl
Special agent Jarv here. License to watch and be rude about utter garbage. This time around, I kindly asked Droid what else he had on those tapes with the marketing douchebags, because he only listened to the MI2 bit, and I was curious what else was on there. In a strange aligning of the stars moment, it turns out that the producers for Pterodactyl also used that meeting room. What a freak stroke of luck. Anyhow, here’s the transcript:
Marketing Executive: I’d like to take this chance to welcome everyone from the Sci-Fi Channel here today. It’s great you all made it, have some coffee, donut, whatever.
Sciffy producer: Got any blow?
ME: Er, no, give me a second.
*sound of door opening*
ME: PHILIBRICK- GO AND GET THAT BAG OF MAGIC PIXIE DUST FROM THE INTERN’S DESK NOW. It’ll be here in a minute. Now, while we wait, how about we talk about this idea we’ve got. We want to call it Pterodactyl. We know that you’re just the guys that will turn out any old nonsense provided it features carnivorous animals eating people.
*Door Opens, sound of bag hitting table, then indeterminate chopping noises culminating in a large sniff
Sciffy: FUUUUUUUUUUUCK. That’s the shit. I always love it when I talk to you douchebags. Now, what we’re you saying? Some shit about a flying dinosaur? Fuck it, count us in, but I can’t see the kids buying into it.
ME: Well, we can throw in some marines, and some gadgets and shit. Want more blow?
Sciffy: (Racks up second line). Marines and shit? (sniffs) Fuck. That might work. So, what else is there? Who are you gonna get to direct this load?
ME: (clearly panicking and looking around the room. Spots a poster for Commando) I hear Mark Lester may be free.
Sciffy: The cunt that made that shit with Arnie? Fuck man, that’s golden. I love that cunt, does funny shit about steam being let off and dodgy limey homos in bad vests. Who’s gonna star in it?
ME: (Panicking) Er…. Coolio
Sciffy: (skeptically)That rapper cunt with the inexplicable hair?
ME: That’s the one. He was brilliant in Dracula 3000, and we think he could be the Marine officer.
Sciffy: (coldly) Really.
ME: For sure, and nobody will be paying attention to him anyway. Big flying hungry dinosaurs eating people, that’s the hook. Have some more coke.
Sciffy: So, if I approve this, Coolio and all, we can go out and beat a hooker to death?
ME: It’ll be a corporate entertainment event.
Sciffy: Fuck it, we’re known for making shit anyhow, what about the script?
ME: It’s written here on the back of this Post-it note.Loud sounds of banging and tape feed ends.
It’s nice to know that drugs still play a major part in the creative process in Hollywood. It’s the only reasonable explanation for the quite monstrous stupidity here. It is said that dinosaurs had a brain the size of a pea, but I reckon they’d quite easily have won a battle of wits with the makers of this.
Let me lay this out for you. A load of paleontologists (hugely unconvincing ones) named after famous horror/ Sci-fi writers (no shit) are investigating an island recovering from the trauma of a volcanic eruption. What they don’t know is that the eruption has uncovered a load of Pterodactyl eggs, and inexplicably they’ve grown to full size. In the meantime, a platoon of marines (I’ve probably got this wrong) are involved in a highly unconvincing battle. They capture the drug lord, and everything seems to be going well.
Before you know it, you’ve got nefarious flying lizard bastards up to no good such as stealing women’s tops when they go for a dip. Oh, and eating people. Anyhoo, one of them kidnap’s the main squeeze of Dr. Lovecraft and takes it up to the mountain.
Hilarious battle ensues, despite firing more rounds than a series of the A-Team, our heroes can’t even put a dent in the Pterodactyls, so Coolio breaks out the rocket launcher. Which, apparently, isn’t as easy as it sounds. You have to wear a mask that makes you look like the monkey in the Lawnmower Man, and use that to target your Pterodactyl. Then you miss.
Obviously, our heroes, kill them all and rescue the unscathed chick (er, what?) and the film closes with a Tyrannosaur egg hatching.
For the most part, this film is astonishingly stupid. Hugely, monstrously, flying dinosaur sized stupid. The terrorists aren’t going to put the fear up anyone, Coolio’s platoon couldn’t find their arse with both hands and an atlas, and the scientists are about as scientific as Wayne Rooney’s missus. The whole thing is a big ball of stupidity wrapped inside an even bigger ball of stupidity, and therein lies its charm.
The acting is, frankly a bit shit with Cameron Daddo pretty inept as Lovecraft. Coolio is hilarious on pretty much every level, and the rest of the support isn’t really not worth bothering with other than maybe Amy Sloan as Heinlein. Basically, the characters here aren’t properly drawn, and so the actors haven’t got anything to really work with. Coolio gurning like a lunatic isn’t acting, and neither is Daddo’s perpetually wooden persona.
However, much to my surprise, the effects are quite good. Lester has form with sci-fi, having done films such as Class of 1999 in the past. He handles the majority of them with no little style, the only real howler being the hatching eggs, which is pretty terrible. For the most part, though, they’re really quite good. As is the action, but again, this is what you get when Sciffy hires someone who knows what he’s actually doing.
This is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most phenomenally stupid films that I’ve reviewed for the vault, and yet, I quite like it. I had fun, for the most part, it’s good natured and it is, on occasion, intentionally funny. Yes, the sight of the terrorist/ dealer living through every attack while tied up before lady luck deserts him and he gets chomped as soon as he gets untied is immensely stupid, but it is also strangely satisfying. Prick had it coming.
This is fun, but it could have been so much better, because Lester was remarkably restrained on the boob and gore front. For example, the Pterodactyl steals blonde scientists clothes when she’s swimming, but she’s still got clothing to wear (it’s a bit more revealing, but it should have been nudity). Furthermore, there are countless people are eaten by the beasts, but there’s nary a drop of blood. This is a waste.
Overall, yes it is dumb, and yes it is a sciffy film so it’s clearly shoddy. However, by duty of hiring a competent director, who seems to be aware that he’s handling a paste eating retard, the film has a sort of stupid charm. I really quite enjoyed myself with this, but then again, I was pissed, so take that for what you will. Nevertheless, Pterodactyl can have a stamp of approval, because it was far more fun than I was expecting even if it is never going to be a classic.
Next up is either Mansquito, Showdown in Little Tokyo or any of the other films that I’ve got backed up.