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Theodore Rex

Considered to be one of comedian Whoopi Goldberg’s biggest failures, alongside The Telephone, which I am very eager to see, Theodore Rex was a $35 million dollar bomb New Line Cinema refused to release in theaters. Wanting to dodge as much flak as possible, they instead sent it straight to video store shelves. Despite its reputation as being one of the worst movies ever made, I found it to be your average misfire. There are some successful elements, others which could have been if reworked, and some outright failures, but all in all I’d say this feels pretty average. You could say I’m being generous after seeing Car 54, but then you would be stupid.

Using the Star Wars opening crawl has spelled doom for many a film, and Theodore Rex makes such a mistake. Its crawl basically gives away the entire story: A millionaire clones animals so he can launch a missile at the sun and kill Mankind with a new Ice Age. Since the audience knows who the bad guy’s identity from the beginning, it leaves nothing to the crime-solving aspect of the film. Of course, thinking about this now, kids could care less about a movie involving cloning and millionaires. They just want to see the dinosaur from the video cover, so I suppose we should move on to this aspect.

The dinosaurs in Theodore Rex are very similar in style to those in the old TV series titled, appropriately enough, Dinosaurs. But since this is somewhat of an action flick, these costumes prove too bulky and clumsy for certain scenes. For example, the dinos are never shown running or jumping or doing something CGI could accomplish easily. In retrospect, the film could have worked better as an animated feature, thus giving the filmmakers more opportunities to play with the characters.

As for the story, it’s really nothing to write home about if you’ve seen any of the thousand Buddy Cop films out there. Two cops, one in this case being a reptile, are assigned to work together on a case which could save both of their careers. Of course they don’t get along from the get-go, but over time they learn to respect one another. Hey, this sounds a lot like my last review for a certain Car 54…curse you Car 54! Why do you plague my every thought? Why?! Oh, uh, sorry. Back to today’s feature…

Whoopi herself doesn’t exactly seem excited to be in this kiddy project, and frankly I don’t blame her. She’s a great comedian, but has made more than a few bad choices in her career. So since Ms. Goldberg doesn’t give a rip about this movie, she lets it shine through in her performance, which is lukewarm at best. You can tell she’s not trying and is just there for the paycheck, kind of like every episode of Hollywood Squares she’s featured in (seriously, she looks like she’s going to fall asleep at any moment).

I did enjoy some parts of the production values, like the dreadlocked minions whose eyes glow red in the dark. The various settings, however, reek of being obvious studio sets, and don’t look like they have weight or substance. Everything comes off as being painted cardboard or an exaggerated view of “the future,” and in the end I wanted to know where the $35 million had gone. Again, animation probably would have improved the visual aspect as well as the plot.

Though kids may get a kick out of seeing the dinosaurs and the endless jokes about stuff getting knocked over by their tails, adults will more than likely find their minds wandering. As for Theodore Rex being one of the worst movies ever made, I’d have to contest, seeing as there are many more disasters deserving of such a title. In the end this is a predictable film, but not a total train wreck.

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