Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dinotasia (2012) (Revised)

There were just four of us in the screening of Dinotasia at the IFC Center this afternoon. Has anyone promoted this out side of the IFC Center?

Apparently not.

Bouncing through prehistoric times with an occasional (maybe five minutes of screen time) narration by Werner Herzog, this is the story of several dinosaurs in various parts of the world. Violent, bloody, gory and frequently damn funny (on purpose) this is a film that makes you go "WTF!" frequently. It's all dinosaurs doing dinosaur things in a humaan sort of way  without any narration after a set up.

The stories all involve some sort of survival. You have a bird that mimics sounds and how that keeps him alive, A dinosaur who eventually gets revenge on the beast that breaks it's jaw, a old dinosaur who leads a child to a new herd, a mother pterodactyl pitching her young from the nest and the story of a mated pair of dinosaurs in the days before the meteor hits. Most of the stories have a bitter sweet tinge to them (The one calledHerd Instinct and the final story especially)

As the film began with a story of "the great die off" I was groaning. This looked to be terrible. Then we get a story of sleeping dinosaurs with an on screen title setting the time at 3am, and suddenly what the film was clicked with me. It was a film that was going to tell short stories but with dinosaurs as main characters, it wasn't science just stories, and I was fine with that.

I have to warn parents and some adults, this is a bloody film. limbs are ripped off, heads severed, animals are impaled and the red stuff flows freely. If you are squeamish stay away.

How is it?

Not bad. Its a good little film, a bit odd in that it's not what anyone expects. I know the film has incredibly low ratings on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, but I wouldn't agree. Sure it's not the best film of the year but you have to give the film points for not following the herd and giving us the same sort of dinosaur documentary yet again. The choppy story structure does work against it (See below for an explanation of what the film's origins are, which explains why it is what it is) but it's nothing fatal.

Truth be told walking out of the film all I could think of was how this film was going to end up as a cult film. Its weird and just off center enough that it's going to find a following once this hits home video.

If you want a dinosaur film that is far from the run of the mill give this a shot. It's certainly far from the best of the year but it's out of the mainstream enough to be worth a look.

Smithsonian Magazine Blog on the film and it's history

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