Best Movies of All Time + [Ward Ramsey]

DINOSAURUS

DINOSAURUS!1960
Not Rated

Dinosaurus! is a 1960 B-movie adventure film directed by Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr. The storyline centers around a small Caribbean island where a group of American contractors are attempting to create a man-made harbor. After blasting some of the seafloor, head contractor Bart Thompson (Ward Ramsey) learns that the explosions have uncovered two frozen dinosaurs - a tyrannosaurus and a brontosaurus. He informs Mike Hacker (Fred Engelberg), the island manager and Bart's immediate superior with whom he constantly fights, of the discovery. Because the dinosaurs are frozen, they are presumed to be dead. Bart leaves the massive creatures in the charge of one of the hired hands, but a late night storm manages to awaken the prehistoric beasts. When Bart learns of the escaped creatures, he and his right-hand man Chuck (Paul Lukather) decide to lead the village people to an abandoned fortress to keep them safe. With the help of his lover Betty (Kristina Hanson) and a young boy named Julio (Alan Roberts), Bart does his best to avoid the dinosaurs that now roam freely on the island. And all the while, Hacker chases a re-animated caveman (Gregg Martell) who washed ashore with the dinosaurs...

Basically, we've got your standard B-movie fare with Dinosaurus! Had it not been for NetFlix Instant Watch, I probably never would have heard about this particular film, but I'm oh so grateful that it was at my viewing disposal. It has everything that a fantastic B-movie needs: a sketchy screenplay, shoddy acting, and unrealistic visual effects that border on the laughable. And all of that makes watching Dinosaurus! an entirely enjoyable experience.

Now, the screenplay isn't the worst I've ever seen, but there's definitely enough to make it "bad." The story itself isn't the problem. Sure, it takes a little bit of suspension of belief to assume that two dinosaurs could be frozen underwater and unearthed by depth charges. It also takes a huge leap of faith to believe that the said corpses would be re-animated after being struck by lightning. But once you can get past all that, the story moves rather smoothly. No, the biggest travesty in the screenplay is, as is often the case, the dialogue. It's all relatively laughable, to be honest. You'll be rolling your eyes with some of the supposed one-liners they throw out.

The acting is equally bad, with a couple of individuals taking the cake for just how bad they are. Ramsey and Hanson aren't too shabby, and Lukather holds his own with those two. I couldn't stand Engelberg's character for a couple of reasons: first, he was just a bad man bent on abusing a child and disrespecting women; second, Engelberg's "accent" shifted way too often throughout the film. At one moment, he sounded Spanish; the next, he could've been French. It just wasn't consistent, but it added to the hilarity. The young Alan Roberts was by far the most annoying part of the film, and his Spanglish was downright dreadful (and yes, I realize that's more the screenplay's fault than his own), but I found myself laughing at everything he had to say. I would like to say that I thought Martell played a rather good Neanderthal. In a different film, I might've been able to take him close to seriously.

The visual effects are okay, but they're nothing terribly stellar. The stop motion animation of the dinosaurs remains relatively consistent throughout the film, but it's still fun to see something so dated. Speaking of dated, it's also interesting to see how much of a change our thought process on dinosaurs has changed since 1960. The tyrannosaurus and "brontosaurus" (now known as "apatosaurus") both walk with their tails dragging on the ground, a piece of information that is no longer believed by paleontologists. Still, that's what the general thinking was back then, so the film does date itself a little bit with those little notes.

Overall, Dinosaurus! is not a film that you should be critiquing all that strongly. I feel like I've trounced it a little too much in this review, but it's definitely one of the more entertaining B-movies I've had the opportunity to see. It easily falls into the ranks of "so bad, it's good," so I think it's worth your time if you've got eighty minutes to kill. Just go in expecting something terrible, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: F
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