The Last Dinosaur (1977)
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The only two talents in it are Richard Boone and Joan van Ark, and only Boone is any good. It's kind of sad that the man who rose to fame as Paladin should wind up in this ugly pile of celluloid. While he turns in a fantastic performance, I couldn't help but feel that he so outclassed all his fellow actors in this piece that he shouldn't even have been there.
The effects in this film are laughable, but fun. The idea of a dinosaur being buried in the wall of a cave and suddenly coming to life is B-movie gold. When the 'triceratops' gets killed, watch how it falls. It's clear that the stunt performer in the FRONT of the costume knows the timing best. He falls to the ground, well before the back half of the dinosaur follows suit.
Speaking of 'suits', there is nothing good to say about the purple tyrannosaur, in this flick. It seems to have some kind of stealth technology, since Bunta (reputed to be the best tracker in the world) twice fails to notice it until it's within biting range of him. I don't know how all the prints are, but in the version I own, the Tyranno's roar contains Godzilla's trademark bellow.
This is loads of fun, to watch, if you like bad movies. I love them, and especially bad monster movies, so I consider this the gem of my collection. If bad movies are your thing, definitely get this one.
What can I say? Maybe its terrible, maybe it's bad Godzilla/Gammera level-I donno. But at the time, we had a blast.
So-a 1977 rec. here....
**1/2 outta ****
Thrust embarks on a mission to find and hunt the last dinosaur on earth when ironically, after a rich full life, he is truly the last dinosaur. Despite his propensity for yelling at everyone in his presence, his employees and lady friends are unwaveringly loyal to him. He may act as though he's perpetually drunk, but make no mistake, if he calls you a 'Ding Dong' you are a 'Ding Dong'.
Not to be denied his own ballad, Thrust's song shamelessly praises him and his manliness. A sampling of lyrics includes: "Few men have ever done, what he has done, or even dreamed, what he has dreamed/Few men have even tried, what he has tried, most men have failed, where he's prevailed/The world holds nothing new in store for him, and things that startle you and me, are just a bore to him/Few men have ever lived, as he has lived, or even walked, where he has walked'. Even BMTG banned artist Clay Aiken could belt out those lyrics and become an rump-kicking machine.
Thrust and his crew of scientists strap themselves into the 'Polar Borer' wearing mini bike helmets, though Thrust affords himself the luxury of the red kerchief around his neck. The giant human filled drill bit digs through the earth and ice to come popping out into a lagoon. Dinosaurs from the air and land soon descend upon the scientists forcing Thrust and crew to run for their lives. After narrowly escaping a charging dino, Masten lays back and blasts out a hearty laugh, not so much to celebrate life but to acknowledge 'the game is afoot'.
Soon after, it is little surprise that we see a few slightly hunched over cavemen sneaking peeks at their visitors. Thrust, not content with simply killing a dinosaur, decides then to make it his mission to bag a cave broad. Throughout the movie, the lone T-Rex contradicts the belief that dinosaurs have a brain the size of a peanut. Despite its enormous size, the local T-Rex is able to sidle up next to its victims virtually unnoticed. With the element of surprise, T-Rex simply crushes a scientist or two and loots the campsite. Every so often the bloated and cagily faced Thrust is seen yelling at someone, shooting at something or flirting with a primitive J-Lo in manly fashion.
Thrust is like James Tiberius Kirk, not only in his addiction to love, but also when is comes to making complicated weapons using limited natural resources in a short period of time. Thrust and the remaining crew members construct a highly accurate catapult that flings a large boulder into the skull of the cunning T-Rex. Upon realizing that even he, Masten Thrust, cannot top this addition to his trophy case, Thrust decides to stay in his prehistoric surroundings. The ever-dwindling crew then leaves Thrust to live out his days with his lovely, although a bit gamely, cavewoman and introduce her to his personal collection of STDs. This is only a brief synopsis of a movie so complicated and rich in BMTG tradition that it takes several viewings to absorb its message and realize that Masten Thrust is the answer. The press conference, complete with a yelling Thrust, mumbling reporters, and the introduction of the great Bunta, is a classic moment. Also look for a body, resembling a dead Ricky Schroeder, lying on some logs, and the most powerful use of someone being called a 'Ding-Dong' in cinematic history.
Maston is a big game hunter who hunts big game(go figure). Owning a company he is planning on going on an expedition with a group of people including a photographer named frankie, a Japanese scientist, a guy who works for his company named Chuck, and an African guy who has aided him on many safari's named Bun Ta. The point is to study what is believed to be Tyrannosaurus Rex, dinosaur that killed the last expedition to the area. They will be getting to this prehistoric area taking a drilling vehicle that travels underwater called the Polar Borer. After getting to the area they soon find the Tyrannosaurus, which Maston tries to shoot but his gun gets jammed. Chuck immediately senses that Maston wanted to hunt the dinosaur all along to add it to his collection of "Stuffed Animals". WHile they were away, Tyrannosaurus invades their camp and takes the Polar Borer away from their camp. Upon returning the group realizes that they may be in the area longer than they expected and Maston states that he will kill the Tyrannosaurus.
THe story is great for a science fiction film. Drilling to a prehistoric area is something that seems could really happen. The scenery is beautiful and it looks like a place where dinosaurs could still reside.
Also I liked the characters in this film. Maston is the typical big time hunter who wants to get anything that could be a trophy kill. Also great was Bun Ta, played by Luther Rackley formerly of the NBA, who really looks and acts like an African tracker. Jackie is the typical female who causes problems for the group and seems to not belong in the wilderness. Chuck is the former employee of Maston who has his view of his boss change when he is in the wild with him.
The Tyrannosaurus in this film is one of the best in a film. It stands a little too up-right like Godzilla does and it drags its tail, so it is a guy in a suit. But the suit looks good, especially the head and the tail, and the Tyrannosaurus looks good and very scary. I have seen plenty of other films where dinosaur suits look way worse. Tyrannosaurus in this film sometimes emits a roar sounding like Godzilla's and other times roars like King Kong from "King Kong Escapes" and "King Kong vs Godzilla". SO a great Tyrannosaurus.
There is plenty of action in The Last Dinosaur. Of particular note is a great fight between Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops. Also a great scene where Bun Ta tries to spear the Tyrannosaurus. There are other great parts that I wont give away. You have to see for yourself.
I recommend this film to everyone. Watch it and you will not be disappointed.
The title of the film isn't completely accurate, according to the storyline. The so called "last dinosaur" of the film is a humanoid tyrannosaurus rex who sounds uncannily like Godzilla, and is portrayed by a man in a rubber suit. But we see lots of other creatures on screen. We see pterosaurs (which technically aren't dinosaurs, but are still prehistoric creatures), a giant reptilian mistaken to be a ceratopsian. And then we see an actual ceratopsian, a triceratops. So evidently, this T-rex is not alone in his prehistoric world.
The special effects on the film are simply laughable. We are humored by the dinosaurs more than we are frightened by them. There are several instances when the rubber heads of the creature get pushed in and then bounce back out into perfect form again, totally impossible in real life, considering that heads are made of skulls. There is a point in the film when a triceratops falls over onto its side and although we were more than obvious to the fact that it was made by two men in a heavy suit, standing one behind the other, it becomes more obvious in the mentioned scene. First, the guy in the front falls, yet the second guy apparently wasn't timing himself, for the back legs were still standing for a while before they finally realized they had to fall over too.
Casting and acting was wooden, not counting Richard Boone, who was popular as a cinema villain. Here, he is kind of an anti-hero. A womanizer, hunter, tough guy. Yet, even Boone doesn't really save the cast. It's not his acting that was the problem, it was the lines he was given to say. "That's not an alligator, it's a crocodile, and yet I shot it too.", "You ding-dong!", "a great scientific mind was killed by a beast with a brain the size of a dried pea!", and so on and so forth. The other actors were simply horrible at their jobs, maybe excepting the dark-skinned actor who didn't have any dialogue to say. But those people dressed up as a cavemen were perhaps the most hilarious part of the film. Not only being totally unnecessary, but not unexpected plot points, they made me laugh as I watched them walk slowly, swaying their arms from side to side with their mouths hanging open. A lot of characters were also totally unintelligent. Such as a press conference scene, where reporters did not ask enough questions. No logical questions. They didn't even ridicule the idea of a live dinosaur, as they do in most sci-fi flicks.
While "The Last Dinosaur" is totally ludicrous and lacking in intelligence, it is somehow entertaining. Once again, I'll state that I don't know why I enjoyed it. Maybe I just like old cheap monster movies. This is cheaper than any of the old late-60s and 70s Godzilla films in all regards. But whatever, the case, "The Last Dinosaur" was an okay 70s monster movie. It will meet people halfway in terms of their outlooks upon the film. But everybody will describe it as cheap.
Reasonably entertaining yarn is fun for kids, but also has themes of obsession and tragedy that will appeal to adults. Sure, compared to the "Jurassic Park" films the F/X here are primitive, but at the time, were impressive, and hold up OK. Not especially original, but does have a fitting end. On DVD from Warner Archive collection.
The dinosaur effects work is mostly terrible, and Tsuburaya should be ashamed of that T-Rex; although the man-in-a-suit Triceratops is ambitious and interesting, and the charge of the primitive mammal is beautifully done.
So why did they put those big, puppy-dog eyes on that T-Rex?
The overall story is above average for a 70s made-for-TV. I really liked Richard Boone as the world's wealthiest man. He was playing a kind of cross between Hugh Heffner (in later years) and Teddy Roosevelt! The writing actually manages a rather poignant touch at the film's close. It was an unexpected ending.
With good reason, I haven't seen this film since 1981. During a rainy Saturday afternoon,on local TV . (Yes, it went from Network TV to syndicated local TV "that" fast.)
I was 12 or 13 back then and (of course) long before CGI would make effects eye popping ,I can honestly say for myself, I was actually amazed as a kid by the effects here. Yes ,young ,innocent and naive' ,I proudly admit it.
....but that's what made watching this film fun and even exciting then. I really believed all I saw and felt the characters truly were in danger and the creatures seemed real as well.
Getting back to last night though,it was a "very" used coy,first of all but still watchable.
In a new perspective ,yes ,Jurrasic Park had taken the effects of films like this and made them instantly into yesterday's news and (to some) laughable.
I'll admit ,it made me laugh, to see that Pterodactyl right off the bat,when the ship emerged from the water. And, how Masten,Chuck & Bunta were able to create & build crossbows & arrows to brand new ,factory like perfection.
Still ,like many say here ,the fun is in watching the actors try and make this a believable story. They came kind of close.
Boone was over the top but still pretty good as a man who has seen may great adventures but is now seeing that his best years and times are behind him. (Hence the name of the movie & not just for the T-Rax itself.) Big laugh from him calling chuck a "ding-dong" , a nice safe PG rated insult.
He knows this is his last expedition & last chance to do something great and feel great about himself, After retirement,according to him ,there's nothing to expect.
In second place is Joan Van Ark (less than a year away from debuting her now iconic character "Valerie" on Dallas.) At first it looks like her character would be a really strong female who'd take Masten to task and put him in his place.
In the first 1/2 ,I have to say it ,she smiles and laughs way too much. Maybe that's her character's persona but even after she gets leeches on her ,instead of getting really upset ,she just (again half smiling) says "leeches..yuk!"
It's not until things get really bad for her & the crew that her performance really gets interesting/ From being hounded by the big bad dinosaur ,to irate cave people and then realizing that she & the crew may be trapped in the past forever.
Dr. Kawamoto (Tetsu Nakamura_sais little and big shock ,becomes the first victim of the dinosaur. In a scene eerily similar to the now classic Jurrasic Park "bathroom" moment ....the poor man sees the monster tower over him ...and stomp him like an insect.
The rest of the cast (like Bunta played by Luther Rackley & not counting the cave people) ,may as well have not have been given any lines at all. Anything they were given to day is pretty boring or predictable.
In the end ,the massage is clear that Masten is seeking that final glory to the point of obsession with the dinosaur. He only wants to kill it so he can brag about something for maybe the last time and hunting & killing is what he's truly best at.
Despite the things that make us laugh here (unitended or not) ,the final sequence and ending is actually very poignant and has a fair level of meaning.
So, in all ,I rate this film 4 stars. A star each for Boon & Van Ark. One star for the fun and the final star for the somewhat deeper meaning to it all. (END)
This will be beyond THX format.....right into 4-DX format.
"Be afraid, be VERY afraid!"
Even without the theme song, The Last Dinosaur was kind of fun to watch. There's this scene where T-Rex gets swept off the ground by a rolling boulder tied to his tail (!). Let me tell you, this just ruins the illusion that this fearsome carnivore is anything but a stunt man in a rubber suit.
Actually, all the huffing, snarling and spitting got a little old. I'm talking about Richard Boone here. Nice method acting, though - he acts through his forefinger during the entire movie. Never seen anything quite like it. He actually pronounces his lines with his finger. It's like he's conducting the theme song.
It's tempting to say that T-Rex's head getting 'knocked in' by a boulder is the stupidest dinosaur effect since the iguana-with-fins shots from Lost Continent (it's much more embarrassing than the flying-off-his-feet bit I just mentioned). We get to see, in a slow-mo closeup no less, the dino's rubber head getting dented in by a flying boulder, then popping back out after the boulder rebounds. Did the editor really want to show that in slow-mo?
However, that's not the worst - the worst dino shot of ALL TIME is, in fact, the stegosaurus at the beginning of this movie. He lumbers from side to side so violently you expect him to topple over. Trust me, you can not watch this sequence with a straight face. Even magnified pet lizards come off as 'dinosaurs' better than that thing did.
As you can tell, I had a lot of fun with this movie. Thanks mostly to the theme song, it's not really all that bad. Considering the absolute crap that Rankin-Bass Productions have been responsible (The Return of the King, anyone?), this movie might have been worse. Don't get me wrong, it still sucks. But you'll be humming that tune in the shower for a while.
bad,m even for made for TV, 70's movies. Theplot is pretty
standard stuff; rich big game hunter finds a lost world with dino
and cave men and goes to hunt T-Rex, who ends up eating lots of
Richard Boone is the only thing good about this stink fest. Boone
is a very good actor who ends up in this movie for some reason,
perhaps $$$. Don't judge his work based on this one show.
But, if you like bad movies, this one is gold! Don't know if Mystery
Scence Th. 3000 has ever shown this, but it would be a perfect
movie for them.
Richard Boone, it has been said, is the best actor of the lot. I beg to differ. He might have been "good" at his previous roles; but here, he's son hungover that he can't even phone it in. You can tell looking at him that he's having a real hard time keeping his balance and navigating simple locations. He is clearly at the end of his rope, careerwise. And, really, what's up with those horrible, crooked sunglasses he wears? (I suspect they were his and he insisted on wearing them because he was miserably hungover!)
Sooner or later, things move along, and they go dino hunting. But, don't get to woke up! Nah, go back to sleep, because nothing really happens. The dino suit is worse than some of the cheaper Japanese superhero tv shows of the 70s. Not even worth laughing at... yeah, that bad.
By the end, if you make it, you'll probably want to rewind to some parts and try to figure out what just happened. However, it would be pointless. Ed Wood truly towers over this mush.