Monday, April 13, 2009

Dinosaurus Van Winkle

Movie • DINOSAURUS! • 1960
DINOSAURUS! is nine years older than The Valley of Gwangi, so I’m going to guess Gwangi was somewhat inspired by Dinosaurus! However, Gwangi managed to be the whole delicious cake while Dinosaurus! was just the crumbs. I love me some crumbs, but when there’s cake to be had why would you choose anything else?
Don’t get me wrong. Dinosaurus! was extremely satisfying in the way fun, and goofy monster movies can be, but satisfying like a Twizzler, when you want real licorice. They’re both good, but one is more authentic.
Just like many pictures from back in the day, Dinosaurus! has prejudices and stereotypes cooked into the middle. This time, at least, its not only minority stereotypes. There’s the old Irish man employed to watch over the dinosaurs that were found somehow frozen in a tropical lagoon. Of course, he’s a drunk with a brogue and a slur… and a flask. The little Hispanic Central American boy is called Julio. What else? How and why this boy’s guardian is some undefined European traveller with a terrible rotating accent is never properly explained. Being it is a big part of the plot, I would have liked a little more character development there.
Aww, who am I kidding? I came for the caveman and the dinosaurs!

Caveman in a dress… soooo cute!

The caveman was central to the motivation of the protagonist, but why? Who would ever choose to steal a caveman when you can steal a dinosaur? Shows what small potatoes Mr. Hacker was after.
I loved this scene where the caveman found himself in a bedroom looking at portraits and a mirror. He quickly tried to fit in (or found original sin), because he was interested in dressing himself. Somehow, he found himself identifying more with the woman in the portrait, and so he tried on a dress. Makes sense to me! ;) tee hee.

Why are these extras so excited about seeing a dinosaur battle a construction machine?

Somehow this scene reminds me of the dinosaur in a fire scene from The Valley of Gwangi.

Over all, I was entertained, but not thrilled. Definitely worth seeing just for the discussion of the silliness. Maybe someone could write a parallel on Rip Van Winkle. I noticed the old Irish man reading a Rip Van Winkle comic, and we are absolutely supposed to think of the cavemen and dinosaurs as Rip Van Winkle characters. Or, maybe it’s just a reminder that it’s okay to sleep through this one.

Look at the size of that cordless phone!!! ;) tee hee.

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