Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grizzly Park

Welcome back Sporefans. No doubt you've come looking for another review of one of the worst movies ever made, and I shall not disappoint! This week we have a terrible title of terror, Grizzly Park! This movie was so terrible that I could hardly bear to watch it.


Yeah, that sucked.

Some of you might be familiar with a comedian who has some issues with bears; making them his most threatening threat to Americans and their way of life. Unless you are this comedian or share his ursine-o-phobia you will not be scared by this movie. Not even a little. Typical reactions to this movie include "Yup, that's a bear all right." and "God I can't believe I'm watching See No Evil without Kane in it." Granted, the bear is an improvement, but that's not saying much. To put it metaphorically, its like having a metal spike shoved through your gut and saying "Man I'm glad that didn't hit me in the penis! THAT would have sucked."

Lets take a brief look at some of the plot to Grizzly Park, shall we? Eight troubled teens are sent on a camping trip in woods with a guy named Ranger Bob (played by Glenn Morshower). For some reason they are all eaten by bears. That's pretty much the whole movie. Sure, there's this serial killer in the beginning, be he gets eaten by bears pretty early in. The movie gets formulaic from the beginning and stays that way for most of the movie.

It's... uh... Ketchup. Yeah. That's it. Catsup. I mean Ketchup, Ketchup! Damn!

For example... in the beginning of the movie Ranger Bob stresses the fact that all the campers should stick together. Therefore, it is inevitable that some campers should wander off. Kiki (played by Jelynn Rodriguez) and Ty (played by Shedrack Anderson III... who names their kid Shedrack?) decide to put their faith in modern technology and rely on a GPS system rather than Ranger Bob's advice. During their trek into the wilderness they have a lot of free time to talk, and so they confess their crimes to each other. Kiki confesses that she was poisoning her mother to keep her sick and was caught trying to steal more poison. Ty reveals that he robbed social security checks from the elderly and sold their drugs to kids. Then Ty is caught in a wolf trap. Kiki is then eaten by a wolf and the bear finishes off Ty.

There are several things wrong here. First, by revealing their crimes the teens demonstrate to the audience that they are "evil" and it becomes apparent that they are about to be killed. While some foreshadowing is recommended, it would behoove writer/director Tom Skull to not spell out so clearly the inevitable fate of these two delinquents. For example, before the two teens split off from the group, Ranger Bob mentions that there are wolf traps on the alternate path. You know, the path that Ty and Kiki eventually wind up taking due to their infallible logic and reasoning skills. There is no suspense in this plot, just a resounding feeling of inevitable death by unbelievable stupidity.

"So, like, I have to put a tourniquet on it, right? That's what you do, right? When a guy gets caught in a wolf trap? You put a tourniquet on their neck, right? To stop the head bleeding?"

Even more ridiculous is that after the inevitable event transpires two equally unbelievable consequences occur. First, Ranger Bob makes no attempt to look for the missing teens. I will grant that Ranger Bob did state that he would not go after anyone if they wandered off; but the chances of that actually happening in this situation are pretty slim. There's only so much a signed waiver will cover, and abandoning campers is probably not on there.

Secondly, none of the other campers mention the missing teens for a fairly long time. In fact, the only mention of the missing teens happens in passing; as if someone pointed out to Tom Skull that there was a problem in his screenplay and he fixed it with a two extra lines of dialogue and an extra scene where Ranger Bob finds the bodies. This is pretty much a glowing example of Skull's shoddy writing which is the only constant element in the movie.

Perhaps Ranger Bob was... distracted.

Lets demonstrate how a good writer handles a mistake. Earlier in this review I stated "For some reason they are all eaten by bears," when I made a reference to the eight troubled teens. This was countered by the fact that I mentioned that Kiki is eaten by wolves. There are three alternatives to choose from when deciding how to handle this gaffe.

First there's the bad way or, the Tom Skull way. I could simply go back and say, "most of the teens were killed by bears, except the ones that were killed by wolves". This is also not an acceptable correction to make when you have time for revision, such as when you are writing the screenplay to a movie. These are things that should be corrected before you start shooting the film. Its a mistake you can also correct before you post a movie review, unless you plan to leave the mistake in the review on purpose to demonstrate a point. Like I'm doing.

Also, you can not state after the fact that you left shoddy writing in your movie to prove a point that was not addressed in the movie. Sorry Tom, you don't get to cover your shame by saying it was intentional and artistic. You've got to declare that during the movie (or review of said movie) for it to count.

The second method for dealing with gaffes of this type is to get them before you publish. This is both the accepted method of correction, and very boring. I much prefer the third method.

Guy in a bear suit. Kwality entertainment.

The third option is to play up the gaffe as if it were planned. For example, I could make the argument that wolves are nothing more than small, agile bears. These "Speed Bears" are just as dangerous as their giant brethren; as they not only possess the same sharp claws and deadly fangs, but they also run in packs and work cooperatively. Just what the world needs, deadly packs of speed bears! You think Grizzly bears are bad news? Well wait until a dozen or so of these new speed bears mauls you to death! You'll just wish it were a Grizzly!

The point isn't that the third method is more correct than the second method, just that its more entertaining. Instead of trying to cover up your mistake you make it part of the story. Of course, you also have to have the chutzpah to try and make everyone change their world view to match your own. I think that there's even a comedian who does a similar sort of thing on some television show or something. But in order to pull of such a feat, you have to have a narcissistic ego the size of Michigan, nerves wrought from iron and resolve as solid as granite. You hear me world?


... Ahem.

However, even when we omit Tom Skull's gaffe about the lack of explanation regarding the concern for the lost campers being eaten by speed bears, I should point out that this movie does continue to suck. Skull's script and direction lead me to believe that I was watching high school theater rather than a minor release movie. It was impossible to determine whether all of the actors were told to behave as if they were on stage in front of their parents, or it was just the best they could do.

Given the consistency of the style however, I think that Tom Skull is mostly to blame for this tepid film. Still, as this is his first film there is always the possibility that he will learn from his mistakes and that his next venture into cinema will have benefited from this excursion into suckville. Unfortunately, I think that it is much more likely that Tom Skull will be eaten by speed bears when compared to the almost insurmountable odds of him learning anything about making movies.

Tom, please don't make any more movies. Put the camera down and stop hurting people.


Anyway, for those who are interested, here's the trailer. Just in case you want some torture.

Anyway, watch out for speed bears. They're the real threat.


Kitty said...

Come on! "Troubled young people" ...you had to know this movie was going to suck when he couldn't even think to use the word 'teens'.

esuarez said...

They made a great behind the scenes documentary about the making of this movie.

Watch as Tom Skull has nothing left to lose cause the actor has his own bear suit.

The plot of the movies changes quite a bit, but Skull finds his voice in the material.



Spored_to_Death said...

"Come on! "Troubled young people" ...you had to know this movie was going to suck when he couldn't even think to use the word 'teens'." -Kitty

Actually I knew this movie was going to suck when I saw that the title was Grizzly Park.