Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Last Dinosaur (1977)

I heard some bad things about The Last Dinosaur, but to be fair, it’s a pretty good dinosaur-adventure which got its reputation from the uneven special effects. I would say The Last Dinosaur just is rubbermonster-impaired flick, a movie which is far more ambitious than people even can imagine. It recently got a very nice DVD-R release from Warner Archive, in a nice widescreen print and also in the long original cinema-version. I can already say now, if you enjoy the rubbermonster-mayhem’s directed by Kevin Connor and starring Doug McClure, this is the movie for you.

A visibly drunk Richard Boone is Masten Thrust Jr, the richest man in the world. I’m not sure what his talent was that made him so rich, but he seem to spend most of his time hunting down endangered animals and putting them on display in his living room. But now he has a new goal, to kill… eh, study the last dinosaur in the world! So in his underwater-submarine-drilling-thingie he, Joan Van Ark, the excellent Steven Keats and (he always scream it out loud) BUNTA! (Luther Rackley) travels to Japan and to the lost world! But soon the expedition ends in disaster and Thrust is getting more and more obsessed with killing the dinosaur than just studying it, which – to say the least – causes some tension in the group.

I was prepared for a bad movie, a silly movie, and in the beginning it really felt that this was going to happen. Richard Boone look and acts like a drunk disaster behind sunglasses, stumbles on his lines (at one point he even stops acting and turns to read the script – but they use this is in editing) and is terrible. All of this is in interior shots, but somehow – when the exteriors come – he manages to actually do a good job again and the longer the script goes, the darker his character gets and also Richard Boone’s performance.

The special effects is actually nothing special or unique for us aficionado’s of Japanese monster movies. They are hokey and silly, very unconvincing, but still has that fantastic charm that only Japanese monsters can have. The suit-actors do a good job and makes us believe in what we see, even if it’s never convincing. The script is the most interesting thing. While I’m not buying young attractive blondes getting horny on old drunken Boone, his character is well-written and the tension between him and the younger members of the expedition is quite complex. In the end, it’s a very good ending by the way, it’s very clear that The Last Dinosaur probably his as much him as the dinosaur. Two dinosaurs who done their job, one last time.

If you can stand the sight of the token black guy with the name BUNTA, Japanese extras dressed as cavemen and Richard Boone going from crap to really good over the course of one single feature length movie, this is something for you. And yes, if you love rubbery dinosaurs in every corner of the frame. A movie for me, I guess.

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