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.