Planet of Dinosaurs (1977)

Article 4882 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-26-2015
Directed by James K. Shea
Featuring Mary Appleseth, Harvey Shain, Derna Wylde
Country: USA
What it is: Dinosaur movie

A crew from outer space lands on a prehistoric planet inhabited by dinosaurs. Will they survive long enough to be rescued… if they ever are?

Those that want to grouse will find plenty of fodder in this movie. The script is full of stock situations and clunky dialogue, and the cast is generally not up to the task of making the dialogue sound anything but stiff and awkward. There’s a lot of dead space in the movie, particularly during the walking and climbing scenes. Weak direction is also a problem (this is James K. Shea’s sole directorial credit), and production values are lacking, especially during the night scenes. In a sense, though, these elements seem to be mostly a framing device for movie’s real purpose, which is to showcase the stop-motion dinosaur effects, and these are solid, creative and enjoyable. They’re good enough to almost make you forgive the movie’s shortcomings. However, you’ll notice I said “almost”; it doesn’t quite compensate for saddling us with one of the worst comic-relief characters of all time, the whining, pompous and ineffectual company man; he’s not funny and is incredibly annoying. Well, I will give the script some credit for at least managing to find a good use for the character at about the halfway point of the movie when he goes searching for a giant chicken.


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