The Last Dinosaur (1977)
Genre: Adventure | Sci-Fi
Country: USA | Japan | Director: Alexander Grasshoff & Tsugunobu Kotani
Language: English | Subtitles: None
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen 1.85:1 | Length: 106mn
Dvdrip H264Mkv – 853×480 – 23.976fps – 1.43gb
Science has announced the discovery of a lost land hidden inside the warm pocket of a dormant volcano under the polar ice cap. Masten Thrust, a billionaire oil tycoon and big-game hunter, is recruited to lead a team there to study the last living dinosaurs. Upon arriving, Thrust and his team find that the hidden world is populated with both dinosaurs and prehistoric humans. While the humans give the explorers a fair bit of trouble, the real danger is the hungry tyrannosaur intent on making lunch out of the Great White Hunter and his crew.
The Last Dinosaur was one of those “out of nowhere” movie-of-the-week films in the 1970’s that was pretty exciting for the time especially to fans of Japanese Tokusatsu films. Originally slated for a theatrical release (around when the Dino King Kong was out in the previous December) it was suddenly pulled and made into a Friday Night ABC Movie of The Week. Rankin Bass-who were no strangers to Japanese co-productions were the guns behind this production, co-produced with Tsuburaya Productions of Japan-the people who brought us Ultraman in various forms. Starring mostly an American cast including the late Richard Boone, Joan Van Ark and the late Steven Keats, it told the tale of a prehistoric pocket of time in what was a superheated volcanic caldera somewhere at the frozen arctic circle, containing dinosaurs.
It plays a lot like the films The Land Unknown(1956) and The Land That Time Forgot(1975) in feel and pace. Sure the dinosaurs were guys in suits(A Triceratops with front knees!) but they were filmed in such a way, the music and score was so well done, and the cast did a fine job that this didn’t matter much to many of us brought up on Godzilla.
The film has a lot of class to it, from the opening score by Nancy Wilson “The Last Dinosaur” to the overall “big” feeling of the film-the locations at hot springs in Northern Japan were excellent and lush- and the undeniable feeling of Kaiju Eiga to it. There are some amazing set pieces-the T-Rex’s “bone yard” and a tracking shot that takes us deep into the jungle to see the T-Rex eat a giant fish from a stream.
Tsuburaya’s FX people did their job in style here and aside from a few dodgy matte shots, they do their job well. This film is considered the best 1970’s “kaiju” film from Japan, even over the five Godzilla films made during that decade. Rankin Bass did several other co-productions with Tsuburaya providing the creatures or miniatures- The Bermuda Depths(1978) and The Ivory Ape(1980)-but neither measured up to the epic look of this film.
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