- Movie Rating -

Baby . . . Secret of the Lost Legend (1985)

| March 22, 1985

I never tire of watching those TV documentaries focusing on the work of Dr. Jane Goodall, the primatologist who has spent a great deal of time studying the socialization of African chimpanzees.  The image that comes to mind is the gray-haired Goodall seated in the tall grass just a few feet away from the primates observing them with professional and obviously personal fascination.  Her observation is our observation.  She wants to see how they work and play.

I kind of wish that the same approach had been given to the dinosaur movie Baby . . . Secret of the Lost Legend, a cute idea for a movie about a pair of anthropologists who discover a lost colony of dinosaurs living the unknown regions of back Africa.  I imagined that this might be a movie in which the scientists study the long-extinct reptiles and learn something new about their habits.  Think about it, they’ve been extinct for about 65 million years.  What could we learn from them?  What lessons could we learn about their habits and possibly about how they came to be wiped from the face of the Earth.

Okay, so my approach would not prove fruitful for the box office, but I think it’s a much better approach than what we got.  Baby . . . Secret of the Lost Legend is a dumbbell action movie about goodie Peace Corps scientists trying to protect a cute widdle dinosaur from some big, bad corporate meanies who want to want to exploit the creature.  This is the most simple-minded approach to this idea, the easiest and the cheapest.  A lot of trouble has gone into making the dinosaurs come to life, but what has gone into giving the audience anything more than just a halfwit bargain basement retread of old Disney comedies . . . bad Disney comedies.

I kept wishing that the movie would calm down and develop a sense of wonder, a sense of the most magnanimous discovery in all of human history.  That’s not this movie.  The filmmakers here don’t think that you want anything new.  They don’t respect your intelligence like Spielberg did with E.T.  Instead, they’ve taken a potentially good idea and turned it into a routine chase picture with dumb people running around doing dumb things.  What a waste.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Action