More like DINO-TURD. Written by our friend Peckinpah and it shows! The cast goes through the motions of this putrid episode with the laziness of a sloth on vacation. Bad dialogue abounds. I haven't had the chance to spell-check this, but I've spent more time on it than the episode warrants as it is, so please bear with this rushed post. Now without further delay, DINOSLIDE, the review:
|CELEBRITY IMPERSONATION OF THE WEEK:|
- Malcolm's DeNiro impersonation when Maggie questions him about how he was allegedly heading for the camp. Malcolm says, "You think I'm lying" but delivers this line like he's trying to be DeNiro in TAXI DRIVER. "You talkin' to me?" LOL.
|NAME THAT RIP-OFF:|
- JURASSIC PARK/LOST WORLD comes to mind, not just because of dinosaurs being in the story, but for the shot where Rembrandt sees the dinosaurs at the water which was very reminiscent of the same thing in JURASSIC PARK. Not to mention that both movies and this episode feature a Malcolm!
|THE CRINGEE AWARD:|
This was a tough call since nobody in this sad travesty of an hour seemed to be performing on anything above the level of "Narcolepsy." The only people who seem to be trying are the one who can't act (Kari) and the one playing the cartoonish villain with all the stupid dialogue (Neil Dickson).
- And the recipient of the Cringee for DINOSLIDE is (drum roll) . . . the "actor" (term used loosely) playing Malcolm. This kid's performance is as flat as steamrolled roadkill and half as amusing to watch. Sure, nobody was giving an Oscar-worthy performance, but this kid went that extra step further by not even being able to convincingly deliver average lines that would require little talent as it was. Show off your award with pride, Mr Malcolm, you've earned it.
- Runner up: Gretchen, especially with her "remorseful" exposition about how the death of the natives was on the heads of the settlers for bringing the flu virus to that world. Can you feel the love? I couldn't.
|SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT THIS OUT BETTER:|
- Something doesn't work for me in the opening sequence. We see Rickman jab two people with the syringe. Judging by the reaction of the hysterical woman who finds the bodies, there are more than two dead people, implying Rickman has been jabbing a lot of people that night because the "morph" stuff hasn't been taking effect. Yet when we see him inject himself, he seems surprised that it isn't taking effect like it should (if he'd been injecting a bunch of other people, he should react differently). It's also not clear how or WHY he killed the other people (we see nothing of it on-screen, just the lame injections). This segment is horribly written, completely confused and worst of all, only 3 minutes into the whole episode!
- Quinn says the graves they found are a couple of months old (how'd he come to that conclusion by just glancing at them anyway?). Since the natives were supposedly killed by disease brought by the settlers, are we to believe they've been chasing Rickman for that long? If so, it seems unlikely that Wade would know they had arrived back on EXODUS Earth (number 2) after being told they had gone to a previously visited world. Granted, it isn't stated what the appearance of all the worlds they'd been to are, so it could be that none of them looked similar, but it is highly unlikely (especially given the radius of the timer).
- When Rickman first runs into the soldier after he slides to Dinoworld, not only does Rickman look completely different, he also sounds different and is dressed differently . . . yet the soldier deduces it is him!
Perhaps it has to do with his accent, but you think the soldier would react to that a bit better than with the bland, uncritical reaction we DID get to see. "Oh, you look completely different. Plastic surgery? Or did you just contract a brain fungus and now morph your face whenever you take brain tissue from other people and inject it into yourself?" (It's about as obvious a conclusion as him being Rickman when he looks nothing like he used to.) Geez, if he did only recognize him by his accent then I guess Arturo could have passed himself off as Rickman as well, if he had survived EXODUS.
- How did the T-Rexes manage to die of starvation, with all those peaceful plant eaters wandering around? Of course, they're pretty pathetic T-Rexes to begin with . . . the real deal could run 35 miles an hour.
- The casting of Kari Wuhrer as a soldier. Watch the way she holds the rifle, particularly at the end when Rickman's vortex opens. Malcolm could have looked more like he had military training than she did.
- When Maggie is being flanked by Quinn and the soldier, Rickman steps into a clearing just as the soldier turns in his direction, yet the soldier doesn't see him. No wonder the T-Rex is so good at sneaking up on these guys. Also interesting is that Quinn and the soldier are supposed to be flanking Maggie, yet she runs off to one side and runs into both Quinn and the body of the soldier. Not a very good flanking manoeuvre.
- Rickman's homemade rockslide. There's no way anyone could expect that to work in real life, but it does here!
- Quinn should easily be able to see out the cave, yet appears to have developed the same blindness as a number of the soldiers do. Or perhaps this dinosaur is cloaked, but can only decloak to launch an attack. It's a wonder it doesn't fire photon torpedoes out of its eyes as well.
- That crossbow. Quinn is supposed to be brilliant at physics and yet he still thought that would work (he says it is ABSOLUTELY GOING TO WORK). Physics isn't my strong point, but even I could see that wasn't going to work.
- The reasoning for why Rickman wouldn't kill Malcolm and Gretchen. They assume that he'd need Malcolm to lead him to the cave to see if he was telling the truth. Bull. It was the same cave that he tried to trap Maggie and Quinn in. There's actually no reason for him NOT to kill Malcolm and Gretchen. If Malcolm was telling the truth, then he could find the cave easily. If Malcolm was lying, then he would be no use to him and could just kill him and/or Gretchen! And I thought the FBI rescue in CRISIS was flawed!
- When holding Malcolm hostage, Rickman uses the notion that if he is shot, his finger will jerk and Malcolm will also be shot. Yet when Quinn comes out, Rickman points his gun at him, which should give Maggie the chance she needs to fire at him (she says that she does have a clear shot and wouldn't miss at that range.)
- Everything Rickman says. He becomes more of a cartoon villain with every performance. Actually, he'd fit in just fine on the 60's BATMAN series with all the other unbelievable, over-the-top villains.
- "Oohhhh, better. All better now." - Rickman after injecting himself at the beginning of the episode. I doubt Scorsese will be beating down Mr Dickson's door after THAT line. Even Ed Wood wouldn't touch this performance...
- "He's never killed before and never more than one at a time." - Quinn talking of Rickman. Sounds like two mutually exclusive phrases to me. (I guess they meant he's never taken fluid from more than one at a time, but that's not what Quinn stated.)
- "Whew! Must be over 90 degrees... and it's dark. Must be the San Fernando Valley." - Wade delivers this line very strangely. Also, I fail to see how it being dark tells them where they are.
- The dialogue between the sliders at the beginning where they none-too-subtly remind us of what has transpired in past episodes and what the laughable motivation of the characters is supposed to be. In retrospect, it seems a large chunk of the dialogue is concerned with setting everything up by reminders. Too bad it never pays off.
"Well the guy needs brain fluid to stay alive, I guess he's not going to be too choosy" was a pretty bad example of this, implying that he won't be choosy about the brain fluid he gets because he needs it to stay alive, even though it has been established that he needs (moronic as it may be) a certain DNA match to live!!!!
This is followed by Wade reminding us that Maggie is out for vengeance, leading to Maggie reiterating "I want him to pay for killing my husband. What about your friend? Have you forgotten about that? You can shed a tear for a couple of friends, but he'll be stacking up bodies like a cord of wood until we stop him."
Rembrandt then decides to get in on the fun by stating that if they get Rickman they can get the timer with their co-ordinates to get home! It must be nice to have friends that are so willing to remind each other of every reason for everything they do, just in case they forget why exactly they are chasing a brain-fluid sucking, magically morphing, homicidally maniacal colonel from a parallel world across the multiverse. ARGGGHHH!
Later we get from Wade a summary of the world they slide to, explaining to everyone that they are on the world with the EXODUS people and why those people are on that world. Then Rembrandt explains why the people there were selected to go to that world. And STILL that doesn't cover all the recaps. Geez.
- "Yeah, that's a T-Rex. Natural born killer." Quinn yet again is shown to have a level of concern for what may have happened to the settlers matched only by my ability to drop-kick a planet. He's more concerned with snappy one-liners than with showing any concern for anything other than beating people up or stretching his libido this season.
- "Hustle, hustle!" - Quinn as he and Maggie run from a T-Rex (holding hands for crying out loud). Jerry delivers this line with so little emotion (or even personality) that he seems completely indifferent to the prospect of being eaten by a dinosaur.
- "It's been called a terrific genetic flaw." - Quinn referring to the T-Rex being unable to climb a hill. *snicker*
- "That Terminator just may get to Rickman before we do."
"That make you happy, Maggie?
"Only if I'm NOT there in time to watch."
OK, she'd only be happy if the dinosaur killed Rickman (her sworn enemy) if she was NOT there to watch? MWAHAHAHAHA. The look Quinn gives her suggests he's not trying to give her a choirboy look (as Maggie suggests), but that he's trying to figure out why that dialogue doesn't sound right . . . :)
- Quinn says he now just wants the timer. Maggie asks if there is more nobility in that than in getting revenge. I think the answer to THAT is obvious. He just wants to get home, she wants to kill the man who killed her husband. Definitely comparable nobility there.
- When Quinn explains the Rickman situation to the soldiers, he doesn't sound like HE even believes it. (And the soldiers aren't given much to work with either, with lines like "The Colonel is a good man, we fell apart without him." I guess the only person with any military discipline out of all those soldiers that went WAS the Colonel. Yikes.)
- Quinn goes to the William Shatner School of Line Delivery with, "We need ... (pause) ... weapons."
- "He's close. I can feel his eyes on us." - Maggie develops ESP. Her "stalking" movements while she holds her rifle remind me of Elmer Fudd. "Be vewy, veeewy quiet. I'm hunting Wickman."
- "I'm not playing by your rules." - Maggie to Quinn. Even the shot looks silly where she spouts lame, pseudo-macho dialogue while Quinn stands directly behind her.
- "So close Maggie. Another inch to the right and you would have won our little game." More of Rickman's gritty, realistic dialogue. *cringe*
- "Let's end this right now, Rickman."
"Not now my friends." - Rickman replies to Quinn. "My friends"? Puhlease.
- "Quinn and Maggie are trapped in the dino drive-up window." - Wade proves that Maggie isn't the only one with horrendous dialogue.
- "It's Wade and Remmy." Quinn delivers this weirdly, perhaps in an attempt to inject some intentional humour into this. Following close on the heels of this line is several lines of Wade and Rembrandt getting the attention of the dinosaur by insulting it! "Hey, yo momma!" Clearly it wouldn't stand around and let itself be dissed by some humans.
- "I'd love to empty my gun into him, but it would just TICK him off." - Maggie talking of the T-Rex. A moderately lame line delivered poorly by Kari, especially with her emphasis on the word "TICK"
- "With that cocky attitude, you know he's got a plan."
"Yeah. And it's killer." - Maggie talking of Quinn's lame plan to kill the dinosaur. Reminds me of a similar line from THE SIMPSONS when they go to ITCHY AND SCRATCHY WORLD and Homer and Bart both say, "With a dry-cool wit like that, I could be an action hero." Of course, Quinn wouldn't say that, because it is clear that he HAS become an action hero (albeit a lame one) by his sudden decision to start punching people, shooting people, swearing at people, etc, etc...
- Rickman actually says "We meet again, Malcolm." LOL.
- "You killed my father." - Malcolm to Rickman. Peckinpah passed up an opportunity to rip off STAR WARS here and add in another one of those wonderful Peckinpahish twists that make no sense by having Rickman morph into James Earl Jones and say "Malcolm, I AM your father." Malcolm also delivers this line poorly (what a surprise), as though he's telling Rickman that his shoelace is untied.
- Maggie speaks for a legion of SLIDERS viewers when she says, "Don't take this the wrong way, Mallory, but your plan sucks."
- All the dialogue about Maggie being owed by Quinn for saving his life is lame and hackneyed. Perhaps that's Peckinpah's idea of character development and dramatic tension (Gee, will Quinn pay her back or not? I wonder? I wonder? - great, now I sound like that heritage commercial about the choice for the Canadian flag! Where's Mr Diefenbaker? Are we going to the same party? :) )
- "She was . . . hunting. Yeah. She was hunting birds." - Malcolm apparently went to the S3 Maggie School of Acting, especially with the way he says "hunting."
- "It's a miracle we got out alive."
"Let's hope he believes in miracles."
Quinn responding to Wade's remark that they were lucky to escape the dinosaur, so it should be easy to convince Rickman that they were killed. I guess Quinn really does have a death wish, by this sentence because if Rickman DID believe in miracles, that would mean he would know they DID get out alive!!
- Did we really need the "courage doesn't mean you aren't afraid" pep-talk from Remmy? Banal, even for S3.
- "Let her alone, let her alone! I'll kill you!" - Malcolm to Rickman. One of many examples of stupid dialogue delivered by a terrible actor.
- "This - this poor boy will have an exit wound in his body that you could pitch a cat through!" - Rickman holding Malcolm hostage. What a gift for metaphor!
- "If I don't take you down, he'll die anyway." - Quinn to Rickman. "Take you down"? Since when has Quinn said things like THAT? Since Peckinpah came on, I believe. I think I see a trend here...
- The dinosaur chasing the soldier sometimes seems to slide across the ground as it is walking. The individual movements of the dinosaur are all right (better than the old stop-motion effects, so the dino doesn't look like it is having a seizure when it moves), but the way it moves across the ground tends to be less well done.
- The worm Maggie eats looks awfully stiff. Perhaps some of that wonderful S3 symbolism going on there? :)
- The crossbow prop. Somhow it didn't look like something they improvised as it was constructed a bit too perfectly. Or did the EXODUSites bring one along? Makes as much sense as the rest of the story.
- When the four sliders are in the cave, the shadow of the dinosaur appears on the wall before the T-Rex has even made it to the opening of the cave.
- In the same scene, the shadow on the wall from the T-Rex is facing the opposite way to which the T-Rex is actually facing outside!
- The T-Rex's head explodes without any blood (reminiscent of Arturo's bullet wound in THE EXODUS).
- HOW long exactly did it take Remmy to track down Malcolm? It's mid-day when he leaves the camp, yet almost dusk when they meet! Guess that scene wouldn't have felt genuine if there wasn't a perfect sunset to fade out from. *snicker*
|STUPID ACTIONS TO ADVANCE THE PLOT:|
- Not so much a stupid action as a plot contrivance, but the hole that Rembrandt, Wade and Malcolm dive into was rather too convenient, especially with its backdoor exit.
- I'm having a hard time believing that the settlers used thousands of rounds of ammo and were unable to kill, or apparently even wound, the T-Rex. What part of it were they aiming at, exactly? Did they even think to aim for the head? Eyes, perhaps?
- The settlers also used all the dynamite they had to clear land to plant on a pretty-well deserted earth with lots of open space. Sure. They say Rome wasn't built in a day, but these settlers couldn't build a toothpick in a year if their lives depended on it, much less survive for any period of time with this level of stupidity!
- Rickman manages to abduct Gretchen without anyone knowing (we don't even see how he does it, he just does because the plot needs a jolt to keep going). It's a wonder he didn't suspend her over a vat of boiling acid and slowly lower her towards it with those cartoonish actions and dialogue of his (and of course, the settlers would have brought the acid with them, but not have thought to use it for anything).
- The dinosaur holds the bottle in its mouth for some time; it was also lucky that it just happened to open its mouth enough at the right time to let it go in.
- Malcolm is perfectly content to lead the sliders into a trap set by Rickman without telling them.
- When Rickman notices Malcolm's tracks were removed, he knocks over Gretchen, who just sits there looking dumb (as she has through the rest of the episode). Rickman says, "Or did he fly here?" In this story, that answer might not have been so ludicrous as one would expect (seeing as the dinosaur itself never leaves a footprint in the entire hour...)
|DEFIANCE OF PHYSICS/LOGIC/BIOLOGY AWARD:|
- Well, most of the plot falls under this one, but the biggest stand out is Rickman in the first few minutes of the episode. Somehow injecting himself with the brain tissue of another transforms his hair into a headband and his clothing to match that of his victim!!!!!!!
- Nothing too glaring, though Wade and Maggie are both wearing skin-tight tops and shorts.
- When Maggie and Quinn get away from the T-Rex, Kari leans against a rock making her chest stand out very visibly.
|WHERE DID THAT COME FROM:|
- Well, Quinn mentions that one of the victims of Rickman (in the opening segment) is dead instead of comatose and that Rickman has never killed before. Nothing comes of this. There's no reason for him to kill those people. It's ambiguous as to whether Quinn means that he killed the people because of the DNA mismatches (ludicrous as it is) taking their toll, or that he took more than one sample for that reason. Either way, it makes little sense due to sloppy writing.
- Wade's attitude in the episode toward Maggie. Each episode seems to end with Wade and Maggie resolving their differences, only to be at each others' throats next week as though last week never happened. Remmy's comment "You know, you can be a pain in the butt sometimes" also seems out of place, as is everyone's reaction to Wade saying "Is there anything she doesn't think of killing?"
- Quinn's attitude toward Maggie. He's all too willing to run off with her and leave the others alone at the drop of a hat. This was never conveyed well and came across as being horribly forced.
- Wade becomes a medic all of a sudden, evaluating the soldier's (Robert) injuries and prescribing his treatment.
- Wade as a vegetarian! Not only has this never so much as been hinted at before, but Wade's previously done everything from eating meat to wearing leather jackets.
- Rembrandt helps Quinn with that ludicrous crossbow and lets Wade handle the rifle. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the guy who did time in the military handling the rifle, especially since it is important that they hit the bottle on time?
|WHERE DID THAT GO?:|
- Kari's credit. The initial broadcasts in both the US and Canada used the early S3 version with John Rhys-Davies instead of Wuhrer (this was fixed in subsequent airings). Even for Peck, you'd think it would be pretty hard to screw up the OPENING CREDITS.
- We have a scene where Gretchen talks of her son (Tracy!) being left behind, and her not being allowed to stay. Sabrina acts pretty well conveying that she is upset because she was the one choosing who got to go to the new world, but nothing is ever said about it and there are no further scenes exploring this (clearly the goofy B-plot of hunting the dinosaur was more dramatic).
- Arturo's grave. Given the lack-luster send off, you would think they'd take a chance to rectify that. But not in a Peckinpah script where it is more important to have bad dialogue and lame contrivances moving the plot forward. Heck, they didn't even mention the grave. What a shallow bunch.
- Malcolm refers to an allosaurus, but no more is heard about it. Perhaps it was killed by the "biggest and baddest" of the T-Rexes that Gretchen mentions (I almost picture the T-Rex wearing a leather jacket and riding a Harley with the description she gives!)
- The first shot of the episode. Rickman zips into camera shot (meanacingly lit from below to make him "extra-creepy" to accentuate his "evilness") and directs his eyes back and forth wildly (then makes a goofy, bug-eyed face when injecting himself and shudders sometime after the "morph" effect as though it was mistimed.
- The woman at the beginning runs to Quinn and friends to help, when they are obviously strangers to the area and, for all she knew, could have been the killers. She ignored all the other people on the ground who were still alive (none of them even reacted to the deaths).
- Rickman takes forever to inject the soldier with the syringe to give the dinosaur time to enter the scene (and the soldier does a bad job of acting stunned, to boot!) He doesn't even hear or notice the dinosaur stomping across the ground until it roars.
- The dinosaur is directly behind the soldier, but in the next shot, the dinosaur is approaching from off to the side. Also, the scenery also seems to have changed as there is now a hill with trees directly behind the soldier which doesn't appear to have been there before.
- Any other time, the dinosaur is hanging around outside caves with people in it, but this time it goes away after the man it is chasing falls into a shallow hole. How very convenient.
Final diagnosis - WHAT A MESS! Cynic rates this at 1 star out of four, despite the fact that every second line is cringe-worthy. The whole production has the energy and intrigue of a test pattern.
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