|THE LAST DINOSAUR
|Copyright 1977 Rankin-Bass Productions
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 2 December 2001
- Masten Thrust - Rich man and avid big game hunter. His sunglasses do not fit correctly. Heck, his face does not fit correctly.
- Francesca - She is an empowered woman photographer in a man's world, which is why she will dress up like a geisha (and act like one too) at the drop of a hat.
- Chuck - Worker who watched the other members of his crew get eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
- Dr. Kawamoto - Would you task the Japanese scientist with setting up your camp when giant lizards are running around? He and "little Tokyo" go bye-bye.
- Bunta - When not working as Mr. Thrust's tracker, he played for a professional basketball team. Munched.
- Tyrannosaurus Rex - Also known as "Skullus Rubberuss," the greatest carnivore to ever walk the earth.
- The Cavewoman - She ain't no Rae Dawn Chong...
|The interesting thing about this film's title is that it does not refer to the tyrannosaurus, but to Mr. Thrust. He is the last male artifact from a forgotten age, when men were rich jerks. I didn't particularly like Masten, but his dogged determination to kill the dinosaur eventually caused me to respect the man. Don't get me wrong; he is still off his rocker, trying to take on his antagonist manno-a-tyranno like that.
Masten holds a press conference to discuss the disappearance of a drilling crew and his next expedition. While reporters yell questions, the billionaire calmly assists Chuck in explaining the wondrous discovery: a lost world, located inside a dormant volcano near the North Pole. An expedition is being planned to explore the crater. Francesca has been chosen to accompany Masten, but he is vehemently opposed to bringing a woman on safari. She persuades him otherwise by giving up the booty, proving that the perfect day might be shooting something, eating it, having sweaty sex, and then falling asleep.
To reach the inside of a slumbering volcano the expedition uses a marvel of engineering, a "polar borer." The machine uses lasers to surround itself with a red glow and then tunnels through solid rock. Sounds suitably amazing, but where does all the rock go? It does not turn molten; instead the lasers appear to disintegrate it utterly. I have to point out that this machine is of dubious assistance in drilling for oil. The tunnel left behind is several feet in diameter and any laser capable of cutting through rock is going to be hot. Would you drop something like that into the middle of several acres of oil? Let alone if they accidentally find a natural gas pocket.
After surfacing inside of the crater, the explorers find a lush temperate rain forest and soon encounter some huge fauna. Fran, forgetting that her 16mm lens makes things appear farther away, is nearly trampled by a prehistoric rhinoceros. Following that close call they run smack into tyrannosaurus rex, apparently the last of its kind. Masten tries to shoot the thing when it threatens Bunta, but can barely hit the broad side of a dinosaur. It does not matter, though; the fool only brought along one rifle and I think that it is a 30-06. Now, that is a great rifle, but not what I would use on a dinosaur. Something along the lines of .458 Winchester Magnum is more like it.
Mr. Thrust (every time that moniker comes up I feel like this should be the review for a porn film) and his party are forced to run away when the 30-06 jams. Lucky for them that Bunta wounds the monster with a thrown spear and it loses interest. Unlucky for them that it visits the base camp, smashes everything, eats Dr. Kawamoto, and carries the polar borer away. While burying the borer under a cliff the tyrannosaurus disturbs a slumbering triceratops. The resulting fight, with two actors inside the triceratops, has an interesting view on how the giant carnivore killed its prey. Rather than using that giant maw full of teeth, the tyrannosaurus does far more damage by kicking the triceratops. Great, an eight-ton emu. Just what Australia needs.
Stranded without the polar borer and without any hope of a rescue party, the remaining members of the expedition concentrate on basic survival. The rifle was ruined after being stepped on by the T-rex, but you will later see Masten using the scope. Steiner must have started making hunting scopes, because those are some darn durable optics. Without a firearm, the men are forced to use spears for hunting and defense, the latter against a violent tribe of cavemen. Things are looking bad due to the primitives' superior numbers, until the great white hunter fashions a crossbow. The force with which it fires metal bolts evens the odds nicely and the cavemen run away after their chief takes one through the heart.
A constant problem is the tyrannosaurus though. While Masten, Chuck, and Bunta are hunting it corners Fran inside a cave and refuses to lose interest. If one of the men had been trapped thus I am certain they would have waited until the monster went away. However, considering the only woman is in danger of getting eaten and saltpeter is in short supply, they quickly come up with a plan. Bunta collects a few hundred feet of rope with plastic foliage attached, I mean "vines," then they tie one end to the dinosaur's tail and the other end to a large rock. After getting the beast's attention they make it chase them downhill. T-rex chases the three for a short distance, then loses interest and stops. The dinosaur watches the boulder roll past, then is yanked off its feet and pulled downhill when the vine (or its tail) refuse to break. Upon reaching the bottom of the hill it gets up and wanders off, still dragging the boulder.
Francesca has remained true to Mr. Thrust during their period in the crater, but her attraction to Chuck is obvious. His interest in return goes without saying; the fact that a fight has not broken out between the three men supports my theory that a jar of vaseline must have survived the camp's destruction. A shaving kit too, unless they found a plant that produces "Nair."
Where was I? Forget it, just remember that Fran and Chuck are a semi-item and the younger man feels jealous of her previous partner.
I mentioned earlier the respect that Masten's resolve gave me for the hunter. He has spent his entire life overcoming every obstacle and holds a grudge against the dinosaur for eating Dr. Kawamoto. To kill the monster (it roars like Godzilla sometimes) he designs a catapult and convinces the others to help him build it. Shortly after completing the project, Chuck finds the polar borer and is understandably excited. Thrust doesn't care; he is consumed with a desire to triumph over the tyrannosaurus. What he fails to realize is this: anything able to tunnel through rock can also make a hole through a dinosaur. Ah well, Chuck and Fran get the borer ready for departure while Masten and Bunta wait for their giant adversary.
The tyrannosaurus rex does eventually come calling and Bunta (he was scouting) becomes an appetizer. The catapult fires true when Masten knocks the chock out of place and, in the film's funniest moment, the rock completely caves in the dinosaur's forehead. I kid you not, the fake rock they used was a little too heavy and it almost looks like something out of a cartoon. The hunter screams in triumph as the target falls over, but his joy is cut short. The monster was only stunned (great, we hit everything except the coconut-sized brain) and is plenty mad upon regaining consciousness. Its resulting tantrum wrecks the catapult. After the dinosaur departs, Fran pleads with Masten to give up and escape in the polar borer with her and Chuck. He refuses, they depart, the credits roll, and that crazy title song starts playing again. The end.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Giving jilted lovers a gift, that they could conceivably use to shoot you, seems like a bad idea.
- "Talent" is another word for "prostitution."
- Photographers have no survival instinct.
- Triceratops was a burrowing dinosaur.
- Cavemen look like Asian people, but with lots of body hair.
- One of the good things about working for an oil company is the durable jumpsuits.
- Where there is smoke there are grenades made from gourds.
- 21 mins - How does the control room have a video feed of the borer from that perspective?
- 24 mins - Looks more like something related to a baluchitherium.
- 28 mins - I can see the need for a machete to hack a path through the sparse underbrush.
- 42 mins - The pterodactyl just stopped in midair and slowly turned around!
- 48 mins - Yeah, us guys obviously care. Why don't you stop crying and cook dinner?
- 60 mins - Of all things to play "hot potato" with...
- 75 mins - He has found the secret everything graveyard!
- 86 mins - Hahahahaha! Hahahahaha!
- 92 mins - That dirty cavegirl is starting to look awful sexy, isn't she?
- Fran: "The ground's shaking. Is it an earthquake?"
Masten: "No, I've heard that sound before, and that is big game."
Chuck: "The dinosaur."
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Chuck: "You swore to all of us that we were not going to harm the dinosaur! We were only supposed to take film and study it!" |
Masten: "You ding dong! We were about to get killed over there!"
||Masten: "This animal, this eight-ton animal, is a carnivore. It eats meat, us!"
||Chuck: "Are you crazy? You said yourself, our weapons are useless against that thing! Leave it alone!"
||Fran: "Masten, please. You've done all anyone could, and you were just magnificent, but please...let the dinosaur go. Let it be! It's the last one!"
|Theme Song|| Listen to a clip from the soundtrack. |
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|Watch the catapult in action! Masten's siege engine throws a huge rock (it is little out of proportion) that scores a direct hit on the dinosaur's noggin. Hahahahaha!
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