This cinematic gem from well-known Croatian director and producer Vladislov Andreavich Titov somehow managed to fly under the radar. The production quality of “Vlasic Park” is simply phenomenal, making its limited reputation hard to believe. What makes this film incredibly noteworthy is the sheer originality; it is difficult to draw comparisons between it and any other movie ever made.
Set in the near future, “Vlasic Park” chronicles the events surrounding the discovery of a cucumber fossil with a central nervous system. In the film, the CEO of GinEn (a scientific conglomerate) seeks to build an amusement park for this astounding prehistoric revolution in science. Only the best of the best were invited to work for him on his private island. The potential profits for this park were extremely promising.
The DNA of the herbivorous cucumber species is well preserved in hardened tree sap. Using advanced scientific technology, scientists extracted these genes and made a genetic copy of the ancient fruit. However, due to inconsistencies in the cucumber’s genome, slight complications hindered the preservation of the specimens. Once the cucumbers were replicated, they became unresponsive. Scientists placed the specimens in vinegar, brine, and garlic baths to induce reactions to light and sound. Over time, the cucumbers became more sensitive to stimulus, but they also became shriveled, sour, and pale in color. With this transformation also came a shift in the eating habits of the prehistoric pickles. Because the pickles were small, the scientific team was not concerned with any potential risk. The magnificent creatures would still bring plenty of revenue to the park.
However, things go awry when a radioactive stork flies to the island and begins to eat the pickles. Most of the pickles survive, but they undergo a series of dramatic transformations as a result of the stork bites. All of the pickles are affected differently; some grow larger, some develop armor plating, some the ability to fly, and others the ability to spit highly acidic vinegar from their mouths. The staff of what is now deemed Vlasic Park handles the situation and foresees increased profits from the exclusive creatures on display. When a deadly Vlasicraptor kills a staff member, the CEO of GinEn brings a highly trained team of professionals to the island to examine the safety of the operation.
Vlasic Park begins to unravel at the seams during the tour as a Brineceratops gets sick, a pack of Vlasicraptors gets loose, and the ever-deadly Tyranokoshers Rex terrorizes the entire park. Even worse, a vinegar spitting Dillophosaurus kills Newman. The team of specialists and the park owner’s family are thrown into an epic struggle for survival.
The film is a unique and imaginative tearjerker, which makes it an instant classic. The use of claymation is first-rate; it is hard to tell that the bloodthirsty mutant pickles are created in a studio. “Vlasic Park” is a movie for children and adults of all ages, and raises the bar for the next generation of science fiction films.