Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jurassic Pork: "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" (1985)



A film meant for kids, but featuring nudity, sex, and violence (all to a bouncy Jerry Goldsmith musical score), "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" is a bizarre cinematic misfire.

George (William Katt) is a sports writer accompanying his anthropologist wife Susan (Sean Young) to deepest Africa. She is investigating a local legend that dinosaurs are still living in the jungle, and goes about her studies under the watchful eye of mentor Eric (Patrick MacGoohan, sporting an evil hat and equally evil beard as if he was auditioning for a 007 bad guy role). We have already seen Eric stab a colleague to death to get his hands on some dino-papers, so it appears the Imperialist whites are on the right track.

Susan checks on a poisoned tribe, and she and her ready-to-leave husband stumble on a family of brontosauruses. Eric and his sniveling assistant Nigel (Julian Fellowes) and their band of brutish African soldiers murder the father dino and drug the mother dino up, ready to take her back for study. They don't notice the Baby bronto, but Susan and George do, adopting it like it's a giant puppy while deciding their next move.

Marketed as a fun adventure for the whole family, the film was rated PG by the MPAA. Once the kiddies were planted in their seats, popcorn in hand, they are treated to the adventures of a temporarily orphaned dinosaur. They are also treated to a stabbing in the opening scenes, bare breasted African women, William Katt in wet clingy underwear, a guy getting shot in the neck by an arrow, George and Susan having a little jungle lovin', birds pecking at the bloody carcass of an animal, Sean Young's unclasped bra, battle scenes that look lifted from "The Dogs of War," an electrocution, dying tribal chiefs, angry dino moms chewing on a villain, and one guy getting kicked out of a helicopter to his death. Sure, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was also PG, but that was a throwback to a bygone cinematic era complemented with modern film making techniques. Here, the animatronic dinosaurs are interesting only if you stumbled on them during a less popular ride at a theme park. As film special effects, they are not very good. I spotted black string lifting the heads of the creatures on many occasions (and I watched this on a VHS videotape player and a tube TV!). The miniature effects work better but not by much.

I was a jaded teenager when this came out, and thankfully didn't have to take my younger siblings to it. Now, as a jaded adult, I only scoffed and scratched my bald head in wonder at what I was watching. What I do know is that I wasn't watching a very good film. "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" certainly lost me. (* *) out of five stars. Watch this film now!: Baby...Secret of The Lost Legend