A long way back I did a review of Attack of the Sabertooth, a movie
put out by the Sci-Fi Channel. Well you will be pleased or perhaps
horrified to hear that the Sci-Fi Channel continues to produce movies
that are…well, movies. I think that it’s also great of the Sci-Fi channel
to support mostly unknown actors who may not be quite as talented
as most and unfortunate scriptwriters who have had some sort of brain
injury but who are trying to work in spite of their disability.
Yesterday, with plenty of time on my hands, I watched three movies on
the Sci-Fi Channel and managed to kill the better part of an afternoon
and evening. Here are the ones I sat through, with summaries. Just in
case you want to avoid them. I mean, watch them.
Dr. Jacob Thain, who is almost a total doucebag,
inadvertently teams up with student Susan Jordon,
who is almost intelligent, to find her lost father.
In this one a student archaeologist goes in search of her archaeologist
father, who went on a survey in the Grand Canyon area and then
disappeared. Thinking that it probably wasn’t Las Vegas to blame, she
ends up at the Grand Canyon along with another archaeologist who is
hoping to capitalize on her father’s discoveries, an adventurer
archaeologist type who is primarily there because he has the hots for
her, and yet another archaeologist who is there just in case there
weren’t possibly enough archaeologists around already. They are joined
by a group of people whose primary role is to get killed as the movie
progresses. As it turns out the old archaeologist has run into the
remnants of 1000 year old Aztec culture and a creature who is the
incarnation of Quetzalcoatl. After sneaking into and running around a
pretty much incomprehensible series of rooms and secret chambers in the
Aztec temple complex, the team is harassed (and in one case eaten) by
Quetzalcoatl and then has to avoid the Aztec warriors so they won’t get
thrown on a stone “table” (as one of the archaeologists calls it) and get
their hearts cut out. It was never really clear here what the lost
treasure was. It’s doubtful that it was bloody human hearts found in
jars; which seemed to be the only thing found in the secret chamber
besides a bunch of old spears and a couple dozen skulls. Maybe the
spears would be worth something on eBay, I don’t really know.
No, it’s not Harrison Ford and Angelina
Jolie. Not even close.
Riddles of the Sphinx (2008)
In this one an archaeologist who is dressed up just like Harrison Ford
in Indiana Jones teams up with an adventurer who is dressed up just like
Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider. That should be enough good stuff right
there to keep you entertained for an entire movie, but I guess the
producers felt it necessary to throw together some sort of plot anyway.
This one centers around something or other to do with figuring out a
chain of riddles of a God of the Sphinx that they accidentally woke from
the dead — I guess they didn’t read their textbook in Field Archaeology
class when it got to the chapter on not waking ancient deities from the
dead. Anyway, they have to go all over the place, like to Greece, to put
together the clues to the puzzle that will hopefully destroy the ancient
diety. The archaeologist also has a teenage daughter who is supposedly a
child prodigy and who often comes in handy. Like when the archaeologist
is trying to figure out a clue off an ancient Mesopotamian artifact that
refers to some sort of garden and the brilliant daughter suggests that it
just might be the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. They are also accompanied
by a creepy nosferatu guy who turns out to be a help every once in a while
with his special “gravity gun” and his connections in Washington D.C. and
his knowledge of inter-dimensional sacred shrines. Which stuff I guess
he learned in the Diplomatic Corps or something.
Just your average day in the time-
travel business, packing sophisticated
guns which fire exploding ice bullets.
Seriously — exploding ice bullets.
A Sound of Thunder (2005)
This movie wasn’t a Sci-Fi Channel produced movie, but it was one of the
ones I watched so I’m throwing it in anyway. In this one a brilliant
scientist has developed a way to send people back in time and bring them
back again. So she teams with a businessman who sells guided tours to
rich people to go back in time and hunt dinosaurs. Which of course is
the best way to make use of time-travel technology, we all know that.
The teams are very careful when they travel back in time to not do
anything or leave anything behind which will cause ripples through time
which will destroy the present. So you would know that is exactly what
happens. The team then spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out
exactly what they did to fubar things up, all the while fighting their
way through creatures who are the product of some freaky, alternate path
of evolution. And no, I don’t mean politicians. I have to give it to the
production design people in this one, who have created a world that
looks like a cross between a beautiful city park and some post-nuclear
necropolis full of scary monsters. And pretty much all of the special
effects in the movie are good. If you like time-travel movies, you might
want to check this one out. And by the way, somehow they got Ben
Kingsley to come in for a minor role in the movie. Yes, THE Ben Kingsley.
Go figure that one.