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Lizards in Movies
Next (2007)
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Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
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This is a strange supernatural thriller / love story. You have to turn your brain off to enjoy it. Nicholas Cage plays Cris Johnson who performs a magic show in Las Vegas under the name Frank Cadillac. He also has the ability to see two minutes into the future, so he is being chased by a gang of terrorists who plan to set off a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles, and also by the F.B.I., who want him to help them prevent the attack. Meanwhile, Cris meets a woman in a diner who he has previously only seen in his visions, Liz Cooper (Jessica Biel). He wants to get to know her so he uses his mind-reading powers to manipulate her into offering him a ride to Flagstaff, Arizona, where he knows she is going. On the way they stop at a Native American reservation at the Grand Canyon where she teaches school once a week. She's coming on one of her days off to give a birthday present to one of her students, a young boy named Jake. Cris wants to impress Liz so he performs a magic trick for Jake. He hands him a rock which he says is a magic rock and tells Jake to hold on to it tightly. He puts his hands over the rock, and when he removes them, there is a small gecko on Jake's hand. The other children ooh and aaw, and Cris tells Jake that it won't bite. Liz is impressed.

This seems charming and innocent, but what actually happened? The lizard is a baby Leopard Gecko native to Asia, but I think we're probably supposed to assume that it is the similar Western Banded Gecko which is native to the area. (The Leopard Gecko is a common pet trade animal, which is much easier to obtain and to film. Most of the scene was shot at the Grand Canyon, but it's most likely the rock and gecko trick, which was all done in close-ups, was filmed somewhere else.)

So, what's really going on? Did Cris somehow just find the native gecko in the canyon and put it in his pocket so he can do the trick, or does he always carry around a pet store gecko in his pocket in case he needs to do a trick? Or are we supposed to believe that Cris, who can read minds and do other seemingly telekinetic tricks, actually made the gecko appear out of thin air? If it is the native gecko, why would it be anything special to a young boy who lives there and has probably seen and caught lots of them? And what is the boy supposed to do with the lizard now? Put it in his pocket? That's a bad idea - geckos have very fragile skin and tails. Later, Jake will have to buy or make a cage, find a heating element, and somehow catch food for it or drive a lot of miles to buy crickets to feed it. It's probably easier to just release the lizard, but if it's not native, that's another really bad idea! Sure I'm overthinking this, but maybe somebody should have thought about it a little before putting it in the movie.