Confessions of a Film Junkie: A review of “The Dinosaur Project”
By: Brian Cotnoir
Okay, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am pretty much fed up with the “Found Footage” films. I will admit that there have been some great Found Footage films like Ruggero Deodato’s “Cannibal Holocaust”, Oren Peli’s “Paranormal Activity”, and the Vicious Brothers “Grave Encounters” (one of my All-Time Favorite Horror films). At one point this was an awesome (and cheap) way to make a film, but like all good films whenever one film is excessively successful, you will have dozens of others who try to rip off the same idea; and it seems like we’re at the point that for every good Found Footage film that gets released, we also get a dozen or so that are trash. Films like the one I’m reviewing today, “The Dinosaur Project”.
“The Dinosaur Project” is a British film released in 2012, that documents a fictional story from the perspective of a missing crypto-zoology group that goes into the heart of the Congo to look for a mysterious river monster known as “Mokele Mmbembe”, which the group believes to be a previously thought to be extinct plesiosaur. The expedition is led by famous explorer Jonathan Marchant. Unbeknownst to Jonathan his teenage son Luke, snuck on board his plane because he wanted to go on the adventure with his dad. While flying over the jungle the group’s helicopter collides with a mysterious bird like creature and crashes into the jungle. It is later discovered that the helicopter was attacked by a group of Pterodactyls, and that there are even more dinosaurs living in a secret forest in the Congo. The group believes that they have made the discovery of a lifetime, but the happiness of their discovery is short lived as they realize that dinosaurs are just the tip of their hidden danger.
This isn’t a terrible film, but they
did so much stuff in this film that annoyed me.
For one thing, it’s supposed to be a “Found Footage” film, and yet they
break that rule by having camera shots known shown form a P.O.V.
perspective. So that really shatters the
“found footage allusion”. Also, I hate
when fictional film claims “All Events are Real. None of the images have been altered”; You
know why? Because I think the Computer
Generated Dinosaur Images are going to be a dead give away to the audience that
your full of sh!t. In many ways this
film feels like it’s trying to be like a Found Footage version of “Jurassic Park III”, which wouldn’t be
all that bad if the dialogue didn’t feel like it belonged in regular sci-fi
adventure film, but the dialogue in “The Dinosaur Project” feels too
forced. Nothing said in this film sounds
or feels like an actual conversation, it all feels like it’s just terribly
written dialogue. Also, the tour guide
reveals to the explorers that the government of Congo has known about the
secret dinosaur forest for years, and that they have been protecting it from
the outside world...why?! Why would you
keep a dinosaur forest secret? Why would
you let people go to a secret dinosaur forest if you know it was
dangerous? Why didn’t the government
just say no to the explorers? None of
this makes sense!
|It's soooo realistic...NOT!|
|What was the point of all this???|
Now as much as I am bashing this film they did a few cool things. Luke befriends a baby diloposaurus and manages to attach a tracker cam around its neck to track it. The shots from the dino-cam are really cool, and interesting. Even some of the dinosaur action is very cool. However, a few cool camera angles can’t make up for uninteresting character, a hammy villain, a ridiculous plot, and film motif that has overstayed it’s welcome, really hold this back from being a good film. I feel this film could’ve been so much better than what we got. If you want to check it out, I won’t stop you, just be aware that you’re pretty much getting a live action of version of “Jurassic Park III” if you decide to watch it.