Typically I don’t talk movies here but this was one movie that just really left me wanting to ponder it in public. It wasn’t a great movie. It’s very much your cheesy sci-fi movie that has no real plot outside of absurdity. It’s not the plot of the movie that lingers with me, it’s the social aspects of the film.
Let’s start with this – the Bechdel test is a device used to determine whether or not women have an active role in a movie. To pass the test, two or more women must be present in a scene talking about something other than men. Some believe the characters should have actual names.
Strangely enough, I’m not sure this movie passes that test but you may notice the two women prominently on display in the movie poster. That’s where this gets strange.
This movie is set in a small mining town that has a large rodeo presence. The town feels like it’s populated with about 50 people (all there to be eaten by the dinosaurs). There are four “businesses” where the characters work – a farm, the mine, a diner and the police station. (Later the characters hole up in a bar but by that time all the workers are dead.)
At every location (save the farm because that comes and goes quickly in the movie), there is at least one female employee. Awesome, women are completely represented. The Sheriff’s deputy is a woman and his only other employee. The person overseeing the mine operations – a woman.
What was weird, though, was almost subtle. A scene comes up fairly early. The mine foreman (a middle aged man) is talking to a younger woman in his kitchen. Honestly, I thought he was talking to his daughter until they started to undress and make out (yikes). Both my husband and I were appalled. This woman was half his age. But it made me notice something – there was not a woman who was not in her 20’s. (To be fair, I did look up all the female actresses and the oldest one was 33 which does make her out of her 20’s.)
The men were of all ages. But the women who had partners all had older male partners.
There was a scene were one of the heroes runs into a laundromat. There were about 4 women (all youngish) doing their laundry. One survives and becomes part of the group that fights the dinosaurs.
Another interesting thing about this movie is that while the main “hero” was white, the true hero was black. I say it that way because the black character was the one who discovered how to kill the dinosaurs. (Spoiler) He survives until the last scene of the movie when he dies protecting the main hero.
In most movies of this type, the black character (often known as the token black) is there to provide a sort of diversity but is more fodder for the killer. Rarely do they survive the film. And while this one did not as well, he made it further than most.
All of this has created a desire in me to read a sociological study of this movie. I’ve dug deeper into who created this movie than I ever would have. While there is not a huge amount of biographical information on the writers and director, I have been able to pull up enough to understand that these are not old men. These are men who I’d guess to be in their early 30’s. Had they been older, I would have seen the ages of the women as sort of a fantasy for them but the male characters were not really the peers of the creators. Is this some sort of sticking it to the man? While the husbands/boyfriends were older, it was the younger guy who gets the girl in the end (after all the others are killed).
I have no idea but if anyone wants to pursue this, I’d totally love to read what you have to say.
One last note, I read a bunch of reviews and no one else seemed to notice this enough to mention it. Weird, I say, just weird.