Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (1985)

Susan: “Just another legend?”

George: “Only if we let be.”

Synopsis

George and Susan fight to protect a Baby brontosaurus and reunite it with its mother from Dr Kiviat, who is driven mad in his desire to capture it, while also trying to stop the local People’s Amy from wiping the species off the planet.

Story

The film opens with text eluding to the legend of Mokele-Mobembe (a long neck reptile) and that many expeditions have gone in after the legend, and none were successful.

Dr. Kiviat played by Patrick McGoohan is in an African city where he is meeting up with a fellow scientist carrying documents. Dr. Kiviat stabs him and steals the documents, a photo among the documents shows a picture of a long-neck dinosaur.

George Loomis played by William Kat is talking to a friend of his back in the US on the phone about some work he is waiting for, he gets the job but he wants his wife, Susan played by Sean Young to come with back to the US so they can start a family. Susan, a new excavator for Dr. Kiviat is examining what she believes is a dinosaur bone but is told by Dr. Kiviat that the bone is only eighties years old. Dr. Kiviat and his assistant Nigel Jenkens played by Julian Fellowes make preparations to head downriver after the dinosaur. George and Susan are discussing their life together, George wanted to have kids and Susan wanted to make a great discovery in her lifetime before she settles down.

The next day Susan learns from Dr. Dubois of a tribe that has eaten some food recently and some members of the tribe are dying from food poisoning. Dr. Dubois shows Susan the bone of what they ate and it is identical to the one she had earlier. She leaves George a note and goes with Dr. Dubois to the tribe. George chases after her on a bike and later by plane with his pilot Kenge Obe played by Hugh Quarshie, a laid-back dude with a catchphrase “no problem.”

George catches up with Susan. She is asking the chieftain of the village what they ate and he draws a picture of a creature with a long neck. They take a boat downriver and agree to meet up with Kenge in a couple of days. Susan and George befriend a tribe led by Cephu played by Kyalo Mativo in the rainforest, bonding over food. The tribe vanish after George shows them a picture of what they are looking for.

They find tracks left during the night and follow them. They find baby brontosaurus with her mother and father. They befriend them but the joy is lost when Dr. Kiviat and the People’s Army lead by Colonel Nsogbu played by Olu Jacobs kill the father and tranquillize the mother.

George and Susan do what they can to protect the Baby from Dr. Kiviat who overtime is becoming colder and crueller, doing anything within his power to get the mother back to the city. Colonel Nsogbu not caring about the species only wants to prove that he is a great leader, threatening the life of the mother to get it back to the city. Dr. Kiviat won’t let the Colonel harm it to kill the Colonel to protect his life dream.

Susan and George reconnecting with each other while they parent Baby. Finding the mother at camp they try to free the mother however; they are captured in the attempt and are framed by Dr. Kiviat for the murder of the Colonel.

The two groups engage one another as George and Susan lead Baby into a cave and nearly drowning in the process. Dr. Kiviat uses Susan notes to lure Baby to him and capture it. 

Time to reflect Susan realizes that she would be no better than Dr. Kiviat since she would examine Baby the same way he would. George trying to cheer her up letting her know that Baby likes her. They are found by Cephu and lead to Kenge Obe who is waiting by his plane and that he knows where the Baby is and its “no problem” to save Baby and the mother.

They team up with the Cephu and his tribe in saving the mother from the People’s Army. Dr. Kiviat not giving up takes Baby by jeep and rides off while being chased by the mother, George and Susan on chasing him on a bike.

Susan using an axe breaks the window of the jeep causing it to crash. The Baby lying in the crash Dr. Kiviat realizes what he has done and confronts the mother who eats him in anger. Baby sore wakes, the mother happy and thankful for George and Susan. Mother and Baby swimming back down the river ending the story.

Characters

Dr Eric Kiviat: Eric devotion to his obsession to find his life’s work leads him down a dark path. He plays off two personalities in a way to get what he wants, kind and sweat to Susan in a way to dissuade her from following his lead. And then he is cold and concise with Colonel Nsogbu and later with George and Susan. Before his death, he recognises what he has become, that he was no longer a scientist but a heartless poacher and a murderer. 

Susan: Susan is torn between two forces in her life pulling her in different directions, her life with George and raising a family and being a scientist and achieving something great in her life. At the start her desires for the brontosaurs weren’t any different from Dr. Kiviat, she wanted to study them in the same manner. Only after getting close to and mothering Baby and losing her to Dr. Kiviat does she understands what she could potentially become if she followed her desires for recognition.

George: George attention at first is on getting a job back home and taking Susan with him, he comes across as self-centred. That quickly changes when he shows Susan that he cares more her desires than his own when he risks losing the job to follow her down the river after a legend that may or may not be true. He is brave when the situation calls for it and knows when it is safer to run, he’s not necessarily the smartest character compared to Susan and Dr. Kiviat since it leads him into trouble, however, his bravery is what sees him through.

Themes

Two key themes present themselves through the story, one is an obsession and the other is family. With the message of family and doing whatever you had to protect them from harm whether from those close to or from outside sources. The family message also comes into focus with Sean Young character playing with the tribe children and letting her motherly instincts protect Baby up until the point when Baby didn’t want to leave her to go with her mother.

On the flipside are obsession and its effect on the soul. Both Susan and Dr. Kiviat have the same obsession with the legend and the thing that sets them apart is their method of obtaining their desires. While Susan befriends the brontosaurus’ Dr. Kiviat will murder anyone that gets in his way, no matter who they are. George obsession and desire to be with Susan leads him into danger and yet he doesn’t question his desire with risking his life for the woman he loves is a good obsession to have while Susan and Dr. Kiviat were willing to end the brontosaurus’ life for selfish means that only benefits them.

Conclusion

Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend is flawed in certain aspects like the animatronics and how realistic the brontosaurus looks, however, that flaw is more related to the time period of when it was made than what was made in the film. The brontosaurus’ are real and the actors are playing off that which makes their reactions more believable. When the father is shot while trying to save the mother you feel its pain and soldier getting cheap-shot at it when it beholds its mate believing she is dying you feel it.

Patrick McGoohan plays Dr. Kiviat perfectly as a charming scientist and a coldblooded killer, in a sense it is his charm that pushes the movie forward. He’s goal is what sets off a chain reaction that ends his life, it’s poetic in a way and that his actions had a snowball effect. William Kat and Sean Young are good in their parts, although they are limited in what they are given. They could’ve used more time to develop besides they are the “good guys”, their characters just aren’t as well developed compared to Patrick McGoohan character.

For the story as it stands, its good although simple and somewhat lacking in depths. A little more character development would be enough to push the movie up higher. What the story lacks, it makes up with charm. A good soundtrack with African drums to set the stage at the start of film and trumpets flaring during epic moments. An enthralling action-adventure for the whole family to enjoy.

Score

3.4/5

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