Sunday, January 1, 2012

Planet of Dinosaurs

Planet of Dinosaurs; science-fiction adventure, USA, 1977; D: James K. Shea, S: Max Thayer, Chuck Pennington, Charlotte Speer, Derna Wylde, Pamela Bottaro

A spaceship suddenly malfunctions and explodes in outer space. A group of nine astronauts manages to land on a nearby planet in an escape shuttle. However, they find out the planet is inhabited by dinosaurs, some of which are meat-eaters and attack them. Several members of the team die, but they manage to kill their main enemy, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and start their own civilization on the planet.

Stiff acting, a trippy synthesizer score, funky 70s clothes and a syrupy mood adorn the low budget science-fiction extravaganza "Planet of Dinosaurs", a cult movie that has hundreds of flaws but at least two virtues: it is refreshingly direct and it is still a 'guilty pleasure'. As with most movies featuring dinosaurs, even this version of 'Robinson Crusoe' on a different planet eventually has the giant lizards turning more interesting than the bland human characters which are so underdeveloped that the viewers barely distinguish them (i.e., the only thing we find out about Jim is that he is 'tough' and from Chuck is that he never wears a shirt), yet since almost the entire budget was spent of the stop-motion effects, they still hold up well today, especially the T. Rex towards the end. The ending is terrible, the trashy ingredients are overemphasised, yet a couple of scenes are so bizarre they have to be seen, among them when Nyla accidentally stumbles upon a giant spider, as big as a dog, but just as it climbs on her stomach, she simply slaps it, catapulting it far away and thus eliminating it.


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