“Palm Springs” introduces a new major wrinkle in this sub-genre of films where the main character has to relive a day again and again, bringing other characters to life. So we have Nyles (Samberg), Sarah (Milioti) and Roy (JK Simmons), who all experience this one day together, several times.
And “Palm Springs” is a romantic comedy, so of course Nyles and Sarah form an emotional bond during the film. And the highlight of their relationship comes halfway through the movie, when they start to break their cynicism about the situation because they take mushrooms and see dinosaurs roaming the desert.
It’s a mysterious and whimsical moment, of course, and it’s something that is referenced later but never really explained. And the way I see it, there are some possible explanations for the way they saw these dinosaurs.
My first thought was that they were hallucinating when sharing their trip in the desert. You might think it would be weird if they hallucinated the same thing, but that is something that happened on a shared trip.
It is interesting to note that during the dinosaur scene itself, neither Nyles nor Sarah say what they are looking at. Nyles mentions the dinosaurs at the end of “Palm Springs”, so we know that the seen dinosaurs. But even then, Sarah never directly recognized that she had also seen dinosaurs. It is possible that, if it was a hallucination, they may have seen different things.
But why hallucinate dinosaurs? Well, near Palm Springs in the desert is a semi-famous monument, a park that contains very large dinosaur sculptures, including a brontosaurus sculpture named Dinny that looks very much like the ones Nyles and Sarah saw. Nyles, having been stuck in the time loop for likely decades, had almost certainly spent time with these dinosaurs.
And just before this scene, we got a montage of Sarah and Nyles embracing the loop together and getting into all kinds of shenanigans together. We don’t know how much time passed during this editing, but it is important to keep in mind that it was probably weeks or months, even years. It is safe to assume that at one point they went to see these dinosaurs together, and it was these dinosaurs that inspired the drug-fueled hallucination.
On the other hand, it is also possible that these dinosaurs are real. During this scene, the two camp in a place that seems to be near the magic cave that caused all this time loop mess. And according to the plan Sarah will propose later to get them out of the loop, there is certainly a kind of wacky quantum mechanics and multiverse things going on here. Perhaps more complicated things than this simple time loop in which the two are stuck.
What I mean is that maybe they were real dinosaurs, somehow transported to the modern Palm Springs desert by this quantum anomaly. Or maybe they see an alternate reality, in which the dinosaurs are still there, bleeding through their universe.
Writer Andy Siara spoke to Decider about the dinosaurs, and his comments may shed some light on this.
“I could say that you have two characters who don’t believe they are capable of love, and at that point, maybe they fall in love. Dinosaurs don’t exist, but at that time, they do. These are two things that are impossible, “Siara told Decider. “Or, I can also just say that I love Jurassic Park and I wanted to put it there. It was just then. How to make this scene stand out more – what could be better than adding dinosaurs? ”
It’s not really a solid answer, but honestly, I’m not really sure we need it anyway. “Palm Springs” is a fun romantic comedy, not a science fiction film by Christopher Nolan, and long scenes explaining the quantum mechanics of this loop would not really work. It was something that frustrated me about “Happy Death Day 2u”, who was too concerned with explaining how his own similar time loop worked and which hurt the film.
So yes, we don’t need to know how this whole agreement works. As long as the story is internally consistent in the way it presents it – and I think “Palm Springs” is in every way that matters – then we are good.
And so we are good.