Dinosaur Island

When we first see “The Great One” - the Tyrannosaur that must be vanquished before the movie can end – he looked so fake that it boggled my mind. It wasn't just that the stop motion animation puppet was composited so poorly that he didn't look like he was in the same frame as everyone else – although that was true, too – and it wasn't just that he moved so stiffly that he looked like a drunk toddler trying to not step on his own feet. The main problem was that they put too much material into the puppet, so when he closed his mouth the extra bits of rubber puffed out the side. Every time his jaw flexed and his face got fatter and thinner I grew more and more obsessed with finding the perfect metaphor to to describe his perfect fakeness.

At first I was thinking about other puppets, and how none of the Sesame Street characters really resemble the animals they are supposed to, but I gave up on that because that seemed mean spirited to Sesame Street. They aren't necessarily trying to make Big Bird look like a real bird.

For a long time I was fixated on Top Gun, because the love scenes between Tom Cruise and his theoretical love interest Kelly McGillis are infamously stilted. McGillis has come out of the closet as a lesbian since the movie, and there's always been some speculation about Cruise, who looked much more at ease in the all male beach volleyball sequences. But trying to compare the existence of a dinosaur to the love scene in a 30 year old movie succinctly proved a bit too slippery. My initial drafts of Top Gun themed tweets looked a bit gibberishy.

This fruitless search for the perfect metaphor was vexing me. Then I saw a brontosaur that was clearly made out of clay – like zero texture and no facial features other than eyes, that level of “this is definitely clay and not a real animal” - and I realized that the dinosaurs in this movie looked as plausible as Gumby. Touchdown! It took me about half an hour, but when I hit upon Gumby I could finally feel the calm you get after doing a hard job well.

Of course, in the cold light of day, I see that I should have gone with my first thought, because that dinosaur looks about as much like a real animal as Triumph the Insult Comic Dog looks like a real dog, but ten hours after watching this movie it's so far out of my mind it might as well have been something I saw ten years ago. Seriously, why in the hell am I still thinking about this stupid movie now that I've outlasted it?

Winner: The Cat

Dinosaur Island on IMDB