Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I think it's time to revive a certain trope

First off when the movie is called "Dinowolf" and the description is that it's about "a human wolf hybrid" I call foul.  Even given that it was a human dire wolf hybrid the "dino" was still uncalled for.  The time periods aren't even close.  It's like calling a mammoth a dinoelephant or a human being a "dinoperson" if you're going to use "dino" as a description of a science experiment involving a dire wolf it better be a dire wolf crossed with something more than 65 million years old.

Anyway, remember back when someone would hear someone speak in a movie and then tell their whole life story based on the accent and it was stupid and overdone and downright annoying?  It was so overdone that it was made fun of the the execrable movie How I Won the War which I only ever watched because John Lennon played the part of a supporting character and I swear that man had a voice where he could read the phone book and it would be worth hearing.

But now I feel like we've gone too far in the other direction.

I swear I wanted the small town sheriff to greet his son by saying, "Hi.  It's time for introductions.

*to people already in the room* "This is the local game warden; he's also my son."

*to his son* "He claims to be FBI, even though he's not. He does have a really nice fake ID, though.  Definitely made by some government agency, just not the FBI.  She claims to be FBI too, but I haven't seen her fake ID.  Those other two claim that the lab animal they lost was a gray wolf in spite of the fact that it would be physically impossible for a gray wolf to have done the damage that was done, and they claim to be researching potential cancer cures when they clearly aren't.

"I've given them all every chance to come clean --none of them did-- would you ask my deputy to come in here and escort them all to jail cells?

*to no one in particular* "Fraud is a felony, they've all both committed and colluded in it, and in this state anyone involved in a felony is considered responsible for any related deaths of which there have been five that we know of so far.

"Plus they've unleashed a biological weapon upon a US civilian population --on US soil no less-- so we can probably hold them on terrorism or treason charges too.  I'll have to check which."

*Turns to the lying group responsible for oh-so-many deaths, well beyond the five known ones*

"Fuck you."

*Turns back to the son who, as mentioned, is a game warden*

"We have a deadly animal on the loose we need to put down."

Because ... seriously, he looked at that fake ID in detail twice, for absurdly long periods, and knew that a gray wolf couldn't have done the damage the lying liars were telling him one did.

Every so often someone showing up with a fake ID and pretending to be the FBI should get called on the fact that their ID is fake and they're not FBI and their cover story is bullshit, and so forth.



Point One

"It's just afraid," is not something you're allowed to say after you learn that the preferred MO is to kill people either before they know it's there or while they're running away.

It is the case that sometimes afraid things will run something they're afraid of down.  It is not true that they will then tear it to shreds.  They'll make a threat display: bark, growl, bite at the air around it, jump, show claws, anything but try to kill the thing.  They're afraid, they don't want a fight.  They fear a fight.

When a dog does chase after something or someone it is afraid of it isn't to kill that thing/person, it's to scare them.  To show that it won't back down (by rushing forward) and to show that it has big teeth and whatnot so scary thing better not come back this way with trouble in mind.  It's about deterring the scary thing from attacking, not forcing them to attack in self defense by actually initiating physical conflict.

This can be a problem when your dog is afraid of, say, children or frightened people.  Or both.  The dog doesn't know of a way to stop being afraid other than to make a threat display and get the thing that scared it to visibly back down.  The child/frightened person/frightened child doesn't know how to back down in a way the dog will understand.

I understand this more than I would like to so I can support the idea that something might chase after something that it's afraid of, especially another canid, but they don't chase them down to kill them and mutilate the corpse.  They chase them down to make those things more afraid of them than they are of it.  Humans didn't invent the idea of deterrence and, in fact, we arguably suck at it compared to other animals.  Things with deadly teeth and claws know how to handle situations non-lethally.  They don't need to kill to show they're a force to be reckoned with, they just need to show their body parts that allow them to kill.  (Also doing things to make oneself look bigger tend to be involved in species that can pull it off.)

So when you're looking at the victims of your escaped canid lab animal and you notice that they tend to have been taken by surprise or killed with attacks to the back while attempting to flee you do not get to say, "It's just afraid," and be taken seriously.  Maybe it's afraid, maybe it's not, but there's no "just" there.  Something else needs to be brought to the table to explain why it's killing when just fear would make it tend to leave victims alive but terrified.

Point Two

The correct response to, "I just want to know one thing: why did you do it?" or any question of that type in such a movie is:

"To kill people.  It's a military bio-weapons project for fuck's sake, what other purpose do you think it would have had?  Hell, the only part of this program that wasn't a runaway success is the fact that it's killing the wrong people."

It was nice when it was turned on its head in Tremors: The Series and it turned out that the super deadly military program was intended for peaceful ends, and certainly entire movies, some of them quite good, have been based around the deadly thing not intended to be deadly.  That said, if you're standing in a top secret military bio-weapons lab asking the head scientist why he made a bio-weapon ... you need to be smacked with a dictionary and told to look up what weapon means.

This is not that difficult.


But back to the point.  Remember in Leverage when Hardison, pretending to be an FBI Agent, panicked when he realized that the actual FBI had been called?  That sort of thing needs to happen more often.

The pendulum has swung too far.  We've gone all the way from, "I heard your voice now I know your life story," to reaching the point of, "You're in a place the FBI wouldn't be, doing things the FBI wouldn't do, saying things the FBI wouldn't say, acting in ways the FBI wouldn't act, and handing me a fake FBI badge where a member of the actual FBI would have access to the real thing... so I guess you must be FBI because you know what they say, 'If it looks like a duck, and it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it must be a monitor lizard.'"


  1. That last seems awfully reminiscent of "you are trying to make peace, disarming everybody, helping the less fortunate, so I guess you must be the antichrist".

    I wonder if "dino" is being conflated with "deino", a Greek root meaning "terrible" (compare deinonychus, the things that Jurassic Park called velociraptors).

  2. That said, I would actually watch a movie about a dinosaur/wolf crossbreed, if anybody ever bothered to make such a thing. Admittedly, in my version it's a household pet and the children ride around on its back, but even so...

  3. It's good to hear that someone else has noticed the acceptance of bad FBI ID/proceedure/why can't anyone see they are lying?! issues. My friends and loved ones are also getting tired of me yelling at the screen "Animals do not behave like that!"