Monday, July 18, 2011

Mee-Shee movie zeuglodon

Basically, a zeuglodon is an ancestor of the whale, a pre-whale, and can be thought of in the same sense as a mammoth or sabre-toothed tiger.

Unlike Water Horse and other similar movies, this one made a strong effort to present the "lake monster" as a mammal. I would *love* to read about the thought processes of the movie-makers in the design of the Mee-Shee creature effect, but I have yet to find that information.

I would have said "zeuglodonoid" but I thought adding yet another uncommon word to this mix would only confuse the issue horribly. Case in point, the fossil creature is formally named basilosaurus, a reptile/saurian name, and although the term zeuglodon is more appropriatly mammalian, it failed to be accepted into official taxonomic use. I, however, prefer the mammalian name, and so did Herman Melville.

The Mee-Shee movie creature is most certainly NOT an accurate rendering of the fossil record, and thus my interest in the "-oid" form of the word zeuglodon. From my cursory research thus far, and according to this website, the moviemakers patterned the Mee-Shee story on the Ogopogo, a "lake monster" said to live in Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, Canada. Due to the protestation of some American Indian leaders to whom the Ogopogo represents a spiritual and cultural icon, the creature's name was changed from the original title. Nowhere in the movie is either zeuglodon or basilosaurus mentioned, or even hinted at, but I found it difficult not to draw some fun "romantic zoology" conclusions.

Well, anyway, I saw a movie in the cheapo bin rack at a Rose's, and it caught my eye hugely. Mostly because of the startling zeuglodonoid on the cover, but also Jim Henson muppetry (rather than computer graphics) and Bruce Greenwood, an actor I am familiar with from Thirteen Days. It was a straight to DVD release in the U.S, and thus a surprise to me.

As far as the movie goes, I didn't think it was very well-done, personnally. It comes off remarkably overwrought and slow, the villians are killed vindictively, and the Mee-Shee creature effect is pretty un-loveable at its best. As a kids' movie, it falls flat, and as an adult movie it is too kiddish. Perhaps if Whoopi Goldbreg had been involved, as once planned, things might've been different, haha.

1 comment:

  1. found this today