Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 17, 2016


PLANET OF DINOSAURS (1977). Director: James K. Shea.

A spaceship has to make an emergency landing on a planet that is still in the prehistoric era, complete with lots of dinosaurs. (As usual in movies like this, the characters spend virtually no time talking about their loved ones back home that they might never see again.) A conflict breaks out because Captain Norsythe (Louie Lawless) is cautious and concerned with protecting his crews' lives when it comes to dinosaurs, while his chief opponent, Jim (James Whitworth) feels any risk is acceptable to become master of the monsters. (His attitude is actually more negative than the captain's, because he's assuming they will never be rescued.) As they bicker, they run into a brontosaurus, a big spider, and a battle between a stegosaurus and T Rex, then finally work together to kill an allosaurus (pictured) who keeps attacking their camp. The visual effects artists include Jim Danforth and Doug Beswick, and some of the stop-motion work isn't badly done. There is some attempt at characterization in the film, and some more-than-adequate actors, such as Lawless and Pamela Bottaro as Nyla. Harvey Baylor (Harvey Shain) is the obnoxious businessman who hired the space shuttle and is finally killed off in one of the movie's better moments. One crewman, Chuck, (Chuck Pennington) walks around shirtless throughout the entire movie as if he needed to show off his muscles. None of the people who are killed off ever seem to be mourned by anyone. Of the actors, Whitworth and handsome Max (Michael) Thayer as another crewman amassed the most credits.

Verdict: Not terrible space saga with some decent effects work. **1/2.

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