“Denver, the last dinosaur. He’s my friend and a whole lot more.” I know you are a bit curious as to why I am singing the theme song to a cartoon from the 90’s. Well first off, Denver was awesome. Second, is because of the title for today’s movie. I think people tend to focus on something when it is the “last” of that something, whether it is a cookie, a beer, or, in this case, a dinosaur. That thought process actually plays a part in today’s movie, The Last Dinosaur.
The plot: Masten Thrust, a wealthy big game hunter and owner of Thrust Industries, has gone to his company’s main facility, where he is holding a press conference. During the press conference, Masten tells the press about his using the Polar Borers, manned laser drills, to drill for oil under the polar ice when there was an incident with one of them, with Charles “Chuck” Wade being the only survivor. Chuck then tells the press how the drill malfunctioned, and they found themselves in a lake, with a temperature in the 90’s. The other members of the crew go ashore, leaving Chuck behind, where he witnesses a Tyrannosaurus rex eat the other crew members. Masten then announces that he is leading an expedition to find and study the dinosaur, with one member of the press accompanying him, but when his assistant introduces him to Francesca “Frankie” Barnes, the press rep that will be going with him, he refuses to allow her to join. Frankie manages to trick Masten into asking her to dinner, where she begins to show him her photographs, and he agrees to let her join. The five man crew (Masten, Frankie, Chuck, Dr. Kawamoto, and a Maasai tracker called Bunta) head up to the Arctic, where the get in a Polar Borer and prepare to leave on the expedition. Following the course of Chuck’s last mission, the group surface in the middle of a lake and use a raft to bring supplies over to setup a camp. After arriving on land, they see a large dinosaur, which Chuck says is a “ceratopsian”, and find cover, but Frankie continues to take pictures of the charging animal and Masten is forced to tackle her out of the way. They set up camp, where the have a brief encounter with a Pterodactyl, unaware that they are being watched by a group of cavemen. The next day, Dr. Kawamoto stays at camp while the others go out looking for the Tyrannosaurus. After following the dinosaur’s tracks, they soon discover the creature and Masten tries to shoot it. He misses and when his gun jams, Bunta is able to drive the dinosaur off when he manages to throw a spear into it’s stomach. Later, the Tyrannosaurus comes upon the camp and kills Dr. Kawamoto by stepping on him, then wrecks the camp and grabs the Polar Borer in it’s jaws and tosses it, with it eventually landing in a bone-filled cavern. As the Tyrannosaurus tries to bury the machine, he unearths a Triceratops and the two dinosaurs begin to fight, with the Tyrannosaurus eventually killing the other dinosaur. When the others arrive and see what happened to their camp, Masten swears to kill the creature. When Chuck notices the Polar Borer is gone, Masten tells the group they are now trapped there, as he gave instructions not to have a rescue party sent after them. After several months, the group have set up camp in a cave, but find themselves constantly harassed by the cavemen, who have begun to learn how to make spears by watching Masten and the others. Masten manages to make a crossbow out of some of the materials from their camp, and when the cavemen approach the cave, he uses it to kill one of them, causing the others to run in terror, except for one female that had been following them since they got there. Frankie decides to try and teach the cavegirl how to be more human and the Chuck decides to name her Hazel. One day Frankie is teaching Hazel how to wash her hair when the T-rex shows up and the girls are forced to run. Frankie makes it back to the cave, where Masten, Chuck, and Bunta are able to chase the T-rex off by tying a boulder to it’s tail. Masten decides to build a catapult to try and kill the creature and Frankie shares her concerns about his obsession with Chuck. When Chuck goes out hunting, he discovers the Polar Borer, and runs back to tell the others, but Masten refuses to leave without killing the T-rex. Chuck and Frankie work on getting the Polar Borer back into the lake, and Chuck begins making the necessary repairs to it. When he manages to get it working, Frankie decides to head back to the cave to try and convince Masten and Bunta to come back with them. Meanwhile, Bunta is tracking the T-rex but he winds up being eaten by the dinosaur. Meanwhile, Frankie tries to convince Masten to come back with them, but Masten counters by asking her to stay with him. When the T-rex shows up, Masten and Frankie use the catapult, striking the creature in the head, but though the creature is knocked down, it soon gets back up and proceeds to destroy the catapult. Chuck shows up and tells them that they have to leave now and Frankie pleads with Masten to let the dinosaur be as it’s the last one, and Masten replies “So am I.” Frankie heads back to the Polar Borer with Chuck and with Masten watching from the shore, they proceed to leave. After they’re gone, Masten, with Hazel following behind him, heads back to his camp.
I can’t say it is a good movie but it was a fairly entertaining one, mainly due to how bad parts of it are. The acting was decent, though there were some times were Joan Van Ark (Frankie) was annoying with her back and forth between whether she wanted to be with Masten or Chuck. The story was pretty good and I did like the double meaning in the title, having it not just refer to the T-rex, but Masten himself, which the character recognized at the end of the movie. The dinosaurs…Ah, the dinosaurs. The movie decided to use Japanese suitimation for the dinosaurs, except the Pterodactyl which was a terrible looking puppet. What’s funny is that the Tricerotops and the other “ceratopsian” (which was actually a prehistoric ancestor of a rhino and not a dinosaur) were done with the classic “two men in a suit” that is commonly used for horse costumes. This made the charging animals look absolutely hysterical. As for the T-rex, some of you, particularly my friends. might recognize the dinosaur suit as being used to play Tyrannos from Attack Of The Super Monsters. As for the T-rex’s roar, the studio decided to mix in Godzilla’s roar to make the monster’s roar. I also liked what happened when the T-rex was hit in the head with the boulder. A good movie to laugh at, but don’t expect it to be a good movie.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5