Chad and I recently watched Planet of the Dinosaurs. I’ve never seen it before, but Chad used to watch it as a child. He agreed to review it with me, and believe me, it’s an “interesting” movie.
A space-ship gets lost and is forced to make an emergency landing on an unknown planet. The planet looks much like Earth, only with no trace of civilization. Soon the crew discovers that there are dinosaurs on the planet, and blood-thirsty buggers at that. The crew hopes to be found and rescued, but they have to struggle to survive until then.
Planet of the Dinosaurs was one of my favorite movies as a child. I remember watching it pretty often. It was a movie about dinosaurs and the VHS case was green (my favorite color), so it had all the things my 8 year old mind wanted. I obviously wasn’t concerned with quality, plot, or characters as a child because this movie lacks all three. Planet of the Dinosaurs had a very low budget so some of the issues are understandable, but it looks like something a high school film class would’ve made.
We start out with our characters in a damaged spaceship on a crash course with an uncharted planet. The science officer confirms that the atmosphere is breatheable as they begin their descent. The ship crashes into a lake and the team swims to shore with what little equipment they can carry. After the first character falls victim to a crocodile-like monster in the lake, they decide to head inland and find somewhere safe to hide out until they’re rescued. Along their journey they encounter dinosaurs, giant spiders, and lots of desert.
The characters are all very under-developed. Each one seems to exibit just one trait. You have the well educated leader who thinks every idea he has is the best option, the experienced “soldier” who thinks every decision the leader makes is wrong, the demanding employer, his dimwitted assistant, the buff guy who goes around shirtless the entire movie and one or two others who are just there for filler. The only growing the characters do throughout the film is simply learning to live with one another, and we only see that in a flash-forward conclusion scene that shows the surviving members attempting to build a settlement and begin a new life.
If there’s a silver lining to this movie it has to be the stop-motion dinosaurs. This movie was released the same year the first Star Wars movie came out, and the special effects are absolutely terrible in comparison. The use of stop-motion, however, definitely gives the movie a unique feeling. Several scenes where the dinosaurs are fighting one another are actually quite detailed and I imagine they were pretty difficult. In several cases the dinosaurs appear to behave more realistically than the humans.
Contrary to everything I mentioned above, we really enjoyed ourselvse while we watched it. We went in knowing it was a pretty lame movie so we laughed and made jokes the whole time. The unintended sexual tension and horrendous acting alone made for quite an enjoyable movie. That said, if you go in expecting a decent plot and well developed characters, you’re going to have a bad time. This simply isnt that movie. With a bigger budget and better writing/acting, it had the potential to put dinosaurs on everyone’s mind. Instead it faded into the past without even a second glance.
I feel like a silly review is required for this film. As Chad has described, the movie is lacking in a lot of features. After the first few minutes of dialogue, I knew this would be a movie to joke around with. There are plenty of moments to laugh at, and the acting is just terrible. In some of the scenes, it even felt like the actors/actresses were about to burst out laughing themselves.
Once we gave up taking the film seriously, we ended up giving the dinosaurs dialogue to make it even funnier. The dinosaurs were just enjoying their day when humans had to ruin everything. To demonstrate this, Chad made a Gif:
See! These poor dinosaurs were just chatting about the weather, when Boom! humans are there to wreck the day.
Here is another one we titled “How I Act When Killing Spiders:”
I’m not entirely sure what the guy is waiting for. I guess he is trying to psych the dinosaur out before he decides to finish it. I do tend to do this when trying to kill a spider though, or I run away screaming for Chad to kill it.
Planet of the Dinosaurs is far from a well-made movie, and it’s quite terrible at some moments. If you do plan to watch it, just be aware that you will most likely laugh. A lot. It’s one of those films where it’s so bad, it’s funny. Of course, it’s unintentional, but we enjoyed ourselves while watching. I would love to know if anyone has seen this. I’m not sure if anyone will want to watch it after this review, but if anyone is going to I would love to know.
Our Rating: ★★