I was addicted to Saturday morning cartoons well into my teenage years; I wasn’t one to sleep in until 9, catch an hour of Bugs Bunny, and then head to the mall. Hell, no; I was up at 6am, ready to commit to the entire 5 hour block, Smurfs and all. So when I fired up BONE EATER at 8am Saturday morning, a sort of warm nostalgia overtook me. Blatantly cartoonish, frequently boring, occasionally nonsensical, BONE EATER is the ultimate Saturday morning mindwipe.
The movie limps back and forth between two parallel storylines that refuse to intersect for what seems like hours. In the first narrative you’ve got a giant bone creature, for the sake of argument let’s call it a “bone eater”, awakened from its slumber by a trio of inept construction workers who start taking apart some excavated human bones with a pick-axe. Bone eaters, especially bone eaters based on nonexistent Native American legends, don’t like it when you fuck with their buried bones, a lesson the construction guys learn the hard way when the bone eater throws bones at them, which makes their bodies disintegrate into computer generated dust. Pretty cool, eh?
But then there’s the second, decidedly shittier storyline, the one featuring Sheriff Bruce Boxleitner trying to make amends with his estranged, perpetually cleavage-bearing 17-year-old daughter, AND keep the crusty landowner Mr. Krantz from bullying the local Native Americans. Boring shit, like an ultra slow episode of PICKET FENCES, but with Bruce Boxleitner instead of Viper from TOP GUN.
BONE EATER shifts back and forth between the two perspectives: shots of the bone eater riding a big bone stallion (NOT a sexual euphemism, believe it or not), or disintegrating a group of archeological students into dust by chopping them with his big bone sword, all of it rendered in riotously bad CGI; and then a neck-breaking narrative shift to Boxleitner, trying to keep his trampy daughter from humping the local thug, or bracing the grouchy Mr. Krantz for information. Stick around long enough and you can be fairly certain that the two story lines will eventually converge, and you can probably count on hearing a completely perfunctory bone eater origin story. And maybe, just maybe, if you really have patience and continue to watch despite all logic and instinct, you’ll see Boxleitner dress up in full Native American garb—feathers and all—to face the bone eater in a final battle of tribal dominance and dubious visuals.