Tomorrow will be Valentine’s Day, a day where many men will continue the tradition of presenting doomed, dying flowers to women in hopes of winning (or at least keeping) their affection. I’ve always felt this to be akin to how your cat might bring home a dead mouse as a “present”, though I suppose roses do look and smell better, at least in the short run.
I thought I had long ago become desensitized to these oddities of commercial romance; but then, there I was, shouting at my radio earlier in the week when an advertisement from Whole Foods Market played. The gist was that the kind of roses a man gives says a lot about that man. A truly “hot” man would give the gift of Ecuadoran Whole Trade Roses (available only at Whole Foods Market!) for Valentine’s Day. Whole Trade Roses are bigger and stronger (faster? smarter?) than other roses, you see. Also, they’re “ethically grown”. I guess this makes them the Kobe beef cattle of flora, though probably without the daily sake massage. In the end, they’re still slaughtered en masse for the benefit of foreigners who want to get laid.
I’m not going to rant much further on the subject because David D. already posted a blog earlier this week wonderfully detailing all the reasons one kind of dead thing is not somehow morally superior to another kind (and why there’s other reasons you might want to be picky anyhow). But really, it’s just beyond bizarre that this kind of thinking has now extended to flowers.
Now myself, I happen to be highly allergic to roses, so I’m all for their wholesale extermination; however, lots of folk out there probably have a much simpler, more romantic view of the whole thing, and that brings me in convoluted fashion to the second item of today’s agenda. It is a phenomenon I have dubbed the “Pteranodon Moment”.
The Pteranodon Moment is so named because of the ending of the movie Jurassic Park III. Since it was so prominently displayed in the movie posters and trailers, I don’t feel I’m spoiling anything by informing those not in the know of the following: a portion of the film features the ragtag band of humans trying to escape the dinosaur infested island (again) stumbling into a gigantic aerie that houses Pteranodons. If you’re not familiar with what a Pteranodon was, I present Exhibit A.
Now regardless of how Pteranodons might really act, this is a Jurassic Park movie, so our very large flying reptiles treat people as hot meals on legs. One is even carried off and dropped into a nest as food for little Pteranodonlings. There is lots of running and screaming and narrow brushes with death. As first impressions go, I’d put it down on the scale of “not so good”.
Eventually the humans escape the aerie, and after more runnings and screamings involving other dinosaurs, the survivors are finally rescued. As the aircraft carries them away from the forsaken island (which, in a twist I had forgotten is actually referred to in the movie as “Site B” — make a note, Erik), they are treated to the following sight from the passenger windows.
The Pteranodons have also escaped the aerie, it seems. How does our intrepid crew react? Why, with this nonchalant exchange:
“Where do you think they’re going?”
“I don’t know. Maybe just looking for new nesting grounds. It’s a whole new world for them.”
I should mention the second line is straight from the mouth of Sam Neill’s character of Dr. Grant, the paleontologist who now has spent not one but two movies nearly being eaten alive, and was a constantly pessimistic doomsayer throughout this film. Now, suddenly, he’s all smiles as he watches the Swiss Family Pteranodon wing their majestic way TO THE MAINLAND. TO LAY THEIR EGGS.
In a movie with any sense to it at all this would have been a time of stark, screaming horror for the people in that plane, and yet they react like it’s some sort of Hallmark Moment.
But it’s not a Hallmark Moment, it’s a Pteranodon Moment: that moment in a movie where something is happening which will have obvious horrible consequences, but not only are the characters somehow oblivious, the writers seem to be as well. And there you are shouting at the screen in disbelief, “DO YOU NOT SEE?! DO NONE OF YOU SEE?!”
I’ll leave you with a couple of examples:
- The climax of Leviathan where the beast is dispatched by being blown into thousands of itty bitty pieces by a grenade. The same beast which has been repeatedly shown to regenerate itself quickly and lethally from its smallest dismembered bits. The hero seems completely unconcerned about this possibility. I suppose it would have undermined his Pre Mortem One Liner, not to mention his later punching of the evil corporate lady in the face.
- The end of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, where a townsperson blows up the dam above the ruins of Frankenstein’s castle, drowning the title characters under a torrent of water. The film ends right there, but it seems rather obvious that the village, full of hundreds of people, is also just downstream of said castle. When I last saw them, the subtitles informed me they were murmuring excitedly as they watched what was happening up the mountain. I too would be murmuring excitedly. Actually I’d probably be running and screaming.
Pteranodon Moments are everywhere, and it is only space considerations and my sieve-like memory that prevents me from providing more at this time. But hey, leave some in the comments if you think of any. I like to think my TV is not alone in the undeserved abuse it receives.
Oh, and for those interested, you can click here to watch the ending segment of Leviathan, wherein Peter Weller joins Nicholas Cage in the proud tradition of movie protagonists punching women in the face.