With Daleks! And Dinosaurs! And Amy Pond!
I’m one very excited Wookiee…
We played Dinotasia for only a week at the Gate Cinema, and I didn’t get a chance to see it until Thursday, the last day of screening. (Cinemas work on a Fri-Thu week). Hence, I didn’t bother reviewing it at the time. However, it’s such a niche film that I realised I was doing it a disservice by ignoring it!
Dinotasia is a weird film. It was billed as a dino-documentary narrated by Werner Herzog, but it isn’t really. It’s a series of shorts, all starring different dinosaurs going about their daily lives, but vaguely anthropomorphised so that stories can be told. Battling T-Rex’s, who are out for revenge, a sauropod getting high on magic mushrooms, giant deadly frogs… Between each short, Herzog narrates. He doesn’t get a lot of time, so he has managed to squeeze ‘extra Herzog’ into each line he has. It is brilliant.
Although the science behind the film is relatively sound (not just in my opinion, but that of a palaeontologist friend also) this is not a documentary and it isn’t out to teach us anything new. If you’re after depth and learning, then you’re better off visiting the Natural History Museum. It is also not a film for young children, as it’s fairly violent in places, and includes some dino-sex.
Dinotasia is, essentially, a late-night beer film for people like me. I am the niche audience, and I loved it. (The film should have been sold with a great B-Movie poster: SEE Dinosaurs fight, love and Get High! SEE giant deadly frogs! HEAR Werner Herzog!)
The film is unlikely to be seen a great deal in cinemas, but if a screening does come up I recommend the film. Go in ready to laugh, and you’ll have a great time.
Palaeontologist Dr David Hone (who is a very nice man, and has a wonderful blog) will take you through the history of Dino-discoveries using clips of films (both true classics and best-forgotten B-movies.) We’ll be looking at everything from Willis O’brien’s take on the animals of KING KONG, via Harryhausen, the rubber suits of GODZILLA, the advent of CGI in JURASSIC PARK, and much much more. Each tells a story of science and public perception of Dinosaurs over more than a century.
There is a screening of the original KING KONG included (Or, you can book just for the film). Following the end of the day-course, there is also a screening of JURASSIC PARK. This is only £5 for attendees. (Or can be booked separately.)
What’s not to love?
Find out more and book HERE.
‘Uh, I’m fairly alarmed here’
Back in 1993 I was a dinosaur obsessed 12-year old. Believe me when I say that Steven Spielberg may have made JURASSIC PARK just for me. I saw the film at the cinema 10 times that year. The soundtrack was the first that I ever owned (on cassette!). Golly, I love the film.
The current re-release gave me an opportunity to see it again – at the BFI IMAX.
The film has really stood the test of time. Yes, some of it is dated (‘interactive CD-ROM!’), but the thrills and scares and sheer excitement still work wonders.
I don’t know if I’ll be seeing it 10 times this year, but I will be going to see it again.
The best film you’ll see in the cinema this year is JURASSIC PARK.
The imminent re-release of Jurassic Park – one of my all-time favourite films, has got me a little excited. As you may expect, if you know me at all.
Now enjoy the the trailer for the Jurassic Park re-release.
What have you got in there? King Kong?
I was a twelve-year old, Dinosaur obsessed young lad when Steven Spielberg unleashed his dinosaurs with the original JURASSIC PARK. Boy, did I love it. I saw it ten times at the cinema, owned the John Williams soundtrack, treasured the VHS, had posters, comics and everything I could get my hands on.
Then along came THE LOST WORLD. I really enjoyed this, too. It has had a fair bit of flak, but I don’t see why. I like that it’s rougher around the edges, and a bit wilder. I like John Williams’ score.
JURASSIC PARK 3, though, was achingly bad. Grant – our hero from the first, communicates with the dinosaurs with a little clay doodah. Urgh! I’ll just pretend that it didn’t happen.
With this in mind, I am really very excited at the announcement of a fourth installment in the series. Yes, I have worries, but it seems unlikely that we’ll be getting a big-budget dinosaur film without the JP name attached any time soon. I note that I haven’t been asked to write the film yet, so until Mr. Spielberg gets in touch, here are my thoughts on the project.
Make it scary.
The first JURASSIC PARK was scary. I remember there being a load of hooplah about whether or not children should be allowed to see it. Dinosaurs are big, with teeth and claws. If they aren’t scary, then something has gone wrong.
Update the Dinos.
A great deal has been learned about dinosaurs since 1993 – and this needs to be reflected. The first JP updated the public perception of them – no longer where they lumbering, tail-dragging stupid animals, but quick, smart hunters. If dinosaurs had feathers, give them feathers!
We need a strong story.
The JP story was pretty much completed by the end of the first film. Everything since has been treading water as an excuse to see some dinosaurs.
I’d like to see an Allosaurus
It’s just an old favourite…
I promised Dinosaurs, didn’t I?
I found an interesting article over on Science Daily. Researchers at Ohio University have run a study comparing the head-butting ability of many modern animals, as well as one of the classic Dinosaurs – Pachycephalosaurus.
“Pachycephalosaur domes are weird structures not exactly like anything in modern animals. We wanted to test the controversial idea that the domes were good for head butting,”
The Dinosaur is, of course, much better at butting heads than modern animals. But then, we all knew that it would be, right? You can find the full story here.