The Dinosaur Project

"Very Good"

The Dinosaur Project Review


There needs to be a moratorium on that lame found footage prologue text, which insists that the images haven't been tampered with, leaving audiences rolling their eyes long before anything outrageous appears on screen. Otherwise, this isn't a bad little film, with some scary sequences livening up a corny plot.

British explorer Jonathan (Dillane) is leading a crack team of scientists into deepest Congo to verify reports of the mythical "mokele mbembe", Africa's answer to the Loch Ness monster. Jonathan's team includes ambitious right-hand man Charlie (Brooke), medical doctor Liz (Loring), local guide Amara (Ayivor) and two clucklehead cameramen (Weideman and Jennings). There's also a stowaway: Jonathan's 15-year-old whiz-kid son Luke (Kane), who has just been thrown out of school for doing something rather hilarious. When their helicopter crashes in the jungle, what they find is much wilder than they could have imagined.

It's handy that this comical TV crew is along to capture the chaos, because that means the stunning landscapes (it was filmed in South Africa) are shot in glorious high-definition. Although Luke's lapel-cams seem to have even better quality, plus the ability to withstand encounters with rocks, water and wildlife. Not that anything in this film makes much logical sense. But the filmmakers merrily charge through the story in such a breathless, energetic way that we don't really have time to pick it apart until afterwards.

In other words, this is a rare found-footage movie that's fast-paced and packed with action. And there are several sequences that are genuinely frightening along the way, from a jarring night-time encounter in an abandoned village to a freaky sea monster attack. As the effects work gets more involved (it's sometimes quite impressive) and the characters literally go down the rabbit hole into even more craziness, it starts to feel like they've wandered into the Land of the Lost.

In the end, it's the silly narrative that lets the film down, as the story's not-so-subtle subplots emerge into something that's overblown and distracting.

Essentially it's bait-and-switch filmmaking, as the script reveals that the true danger here is bitter jealousy, strained father-son relationships and tampering with ancient tribal voodoo. In other words, the filmmakers clearly didn't think that discovering a world of living dinosaurs was nearly scary enough.



The Dinosaur Project

Facts and Figures

Run time: 83 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th August 2012

Distributed by: Uncork'd Entertainment

Production compaines: Moonlighting Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 31%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 4.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Sid Bennett

Producer: Nick Hill

Starring: Natasha Loring as Dr Liz Draper, Matt Kane as Luke Marchant, Richard Dillane as Marchant, Peter Brooke as Charlie Rutherford, Stephen Jennings as Dave Moore, Andre Weideman as Pete Van Aarde, Abena Ayivor as Amara, Sivu Nobongoza as Etienne

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