Fun effects work is the main attraction of this campy creature feature
Preserved in the ocean for millions of years, a pair of dinosaur carcasses are discovered and retrieved, hauled ashore onto a small but populated island by protagonists Bart, Chuck, and Betty. That night lightning strikes (literally) and the t-rex and brontosaurus are jolted back to life, along with a neanderthal.
At the center of the tale is Julio, a local boy who is the ward of the greedy baron who is the “master” (de facto governor/owner) of the island. Julio befriends both the caveman and the gentle brontosaurus and tangles with the hungry, mighty tyrannosaurus.
Even from the briefest synopsis, it’s obvious that Dinosaurus! is a very campy affair. The story is ridiculous, the characters laughable, and it’s all tremendously silly — a worthwhile kids adventure (perfect for my dino-obsessed son who watched it with me), but little more.
Distractingly, there’s a ton of really obvious rear projection throughout, not only in the dino scenes where it’s obviously expected, but even just general footage of people milling around.
The finale features Bart squaring off against the t-rex with an excavator, and this part certainly deserves a mention — it bears a resemblance to Ripley’s power loader fight with the Alien Queen in James Cameron’s Aliens.
Unsurprisingly where Dinosaurus! fares best is with its beautifully crafted creatures. There are only two dinosaurs, but both are highly detailed and impressive models. The herky-jerky stop motion animation is fun to watch and definitely preferable to the “no one will know these are iguanas” method of old-school dinosaur-making.
Dinosaurus! is new on Blu-ray this week from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The package features a reversible cover with alternate artwork, in addition to a standard Blu-ray case.
Special Features and Extras
Audio Commentary by Kris Yeaworth
Dinosaurus! Eine monströse Geschichte (28:39)
Dinosaurus! A Monstrous Love Story — Interviews with Producer Jack H. Harris, actor Paul Lukather, and film historians Donald Glut and Bill Warren. This is a German production of Subkultur Entertainment, but aside from the titles is presented in English.
Theatrical Trailer (0:58)
Promotional Trailers for other Kino titles
Son of Blob aka Beware the Blob (1:45), The Astro Zombies (2:16), 4D Man (2:16), The Monster That Challenged the World (1:35), One Million Years BC (3:08), The Land Unknown (2:11)
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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.