JURASSIC PARK AND OTHER DINOSAUR MOVIES

(Investigator 32, 1993 September)



Dinosaurs were land-dwelling animals of the Mesozoic Era 248-64 million years ago.

The movie Jurassic Park, based on the 1990 best seller by Michael Crichton, looks like becoming the most popular movie to date. The story is about the recreation of dinosaurs using dinosaur genes from amber-encased blood sucking insects which fed on dinosaur blood.

Last year two teams of scientists did actually isolate some dinosaur genes. And the idea of dinosaurs being restored has been considered before in such speculation-oriented magazines as Omni and Omega. However, even small, creatures such as insects have thousands of genes and scientists are nowhere near to re-creating even these.

The following is a survey, not necessarily exhaustive, of previous films in which dinosaurs or dinosaur-like creatures appeared. A rating of up to 4 stars is given where a rating of half a star (l/2*) or more is warranted in the writer's opinion. Some films are so bad that one wishes the dinosaurs really existed and had stomped through the studios!


THE LOST WORLD 1925 ****
Professor discovers a South American Plateau where dinosaurs live. A brontosaurus brought to London causes havoc. A street scene includes 2,000 extras plus 200 cars. About 50 dinosaurs and other monsters appear in the film.

MYSTERY Of LIFE 1931 **
Clarence Darrow (of Scopes Monkey Trial fame) presents the evolution of life including dinosaurs.

KING KONG 1933 ****
Giant monkey of Skull Island fights a Tyrannosaurus, a Pteranodon, a huge snake and sailors. A Brontosaurus and a Stegosaurus also appear. Kong's falling in love with a sexy blonde leads to his capture and transfer to New York where he fights with aeroplanes on top of the Empire State Building.

THE SON OF KONG 1933 *
Kong's baby son on Skull Island provides laughs and dinosaurs provide a few thrills. A low budget sequel.

THE SECRET OF THE LOCK 1934 *
Boring film with photographically-enlarged lizard briefly seen near the end.

FANTASIA 1940 ***
Eight-part animation of animal life including dinosaurs.

ONE MILLION B.C. 1940 **
Victor Mature of the aggressive "Rock People" battles giant lizards. Good special effects which became stock footage in numerous later movies.
 
UNKNOWN ISLAND 1948 *
Scientist encounters prehistoric men in rubber costumes.

PREHISTORIC WOMEN 1950 *
White hunter discovers lost civilization in Amazonia where brunettes enslave blondes. Includes a flying reptile.

TWO LOST WORLDS 1950 *
Persons shipwrecked on island meet dinosaurs (footage from ONE MILLION B. C.) during last 20 minutes.

JUNGLE MANHUNT 1951 *
Jungle Jim searches for footballer lost in the jungle. Includes stock footage from ONE MILLION B.C.

LOST CONTINENT 1951 ½* 
Rocket lands on mountain in Pacific and pilots meet prehistoric beasts. Amateurish.

UNTAMED WOMEN 1952 ½* 
Pilots stranded on island with Druid women. Includes footage from ONE MILLION B.C.

BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS 1953 ***
Monster causes devastation from Arctic snows to New York. Exciting street panic scenes.

ROBOT MONSTER 1953
Gorilla wipes out world population except for-one family. Includes dinosaur stock footage from ONE MILLION B.C.

KING DINOSAUR 1955 ½*
Earthmen visit another planet and meet monsters (ONE MILLION B.C. footage).

GODZILLA, KING OF MONSTERS 1956 **
Giant dinosaur-like, fire-spitting, lizard attacks civilization. Exciting devastation scenes.

THE ANIMAL WORLD 1956 **
Documentary commencing with dinosaur footage.

THE BEAST FROM HOLLOW MOUNTAIN 1956 **
A Western in which a prehistoric allosaur stampedes cattle and chases cowboys.

THE LAND UNKNOWN 1957 **
Some good action scenes when explorers meet a Tyrannosaurus rex and other creatures beneath Antarctic.

TEENAGE CAVEMAN 1958 *
Prehistoric teenager searches for a better place to 1ive.

BEHEMOTH THE SEA MONSTER 1959 **
Giant, radioactive, dinosaur invades  England.

JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH 1959 **
Old fashioned fantasy with a slow start. Monsters played by real lizards!

DINOSAURUS! 1960 **
Comedy starring funny cavemen and funny dinosaurs on a tropical island.

LOST WORLD 1960 *
Remake of the 1925 epic but not as good.

GORGO 1961 **
Young dinosaur on display in London is rescued by its much bigger mother. Mum destroys London while effecting the rescue.

VALLEY OF DRAGONS 1961*
A comet carrying landscape and monsters from prehistoric Earth picks up two 19th century adventurers.

PLANET OF STORMS 1962 (Russia)
Soviet astronauts encounter dinosaurs on Venus.

REPTILICUS 1962 (Denmark) *
Prehistoric monster on the loose. Numerous monster-movie cliches re-used.

VARAN THE UNBELIEABLE 1962 ½* 
Giant reptilian squirrel scares people and flattens suburbs.

KING KONG VS. GODZILLA 1963 *
Rousing climactic fight follows lots of boring talk.

GODZILLA VS. THE THING 1964 **
Worth seeing for special effects when Godzilla battles Mothra (a giant moth).

VOYAGE TO THE PREHISTORIC PLANET 1968 ½* 
Expedition to Venus in 2020 encounters dinosaurs and other monsters.

GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER 1966*
Castaways on island with Godzilla, giant shrimp and Mothra.

JOURNEY TO THE BEGINNING OF TIME (Czechoslovakia) 1966*
Documentary combined with science fiction

LA ISLE DE LOS DINOSAURIOS (Mexico) 1966

MONSTER ZERO 1970 ½*
Godzilla battles Ghidra on an alien planet.

ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. 1966 ***
Spectacular special effects.

WOMEN OF THE PREHISTORIC PLANET 1966 *
Spaceship crashes on planet full of prehistoric beasts.

MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET 1967 *
Two monsters leave their island home and devastate Japan.

SON Of GODZILLA 1957 **
Godzilla and son plus giant mantises and spider.

SOUND OF HORROR (Spain) 1967*
Story about a noisy invisible dinosaur.

DESTROY ALL MONSTERS 1968  ½*
Earth's monsters, Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan, etc, fight alien invaders.

VOYAGE TO THE PLANET OE PREHISTORIC WOMEN 1968 *
An awful movie of astronauts on Venus and gill-women. A remake of PLANET OF STORMS (1962) with extra footage.

GODZILLA'S REVENGE 1969
Stock footage battle scenes off Godzilla and son and other monsters.

MIGHTY GORGA 1969
Rubbish about a huge gorilla and dinosaurs.

THE VALLEY OF GWANGI 1969 **
Cowboys find lost valley with dinosaurs. Mostly boring except for exciting action involving an Allosaurus.

WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH 1970 **
Fast-paced film with good special effects but too simplistic a plot.

HORROR OF TIIE BLOOD MONSTERS 1971 ½*
(Also called VAMPIRE MEN OF THE LOST PLANET).

GODZILLA ON MONSTER ISLAND 1972 *
Godzilla with a spiny ally named Angillus battle against rival monsters Ghidrah and Gigan.

GODZILLA VS. THE SMOG MONSTER 1972 *

GODZILLA VS. THE COSMIC MONSTER 1974 *
Interplanetary apes build a duplicate of Godzilla and try to conquer Earth. Spectacular fight scenes at the end but otherwise stupid.

THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT 1975 **
Germans in U-Boat together with Americans from torpedoed ship land on jungle, dinosaur-crammed, island, in Arctic.

AT THE EARTH'S CORE 1976 *
Two men burrow into a Welsh mountain and meet half-humans and lizard-like birds.

GODZILLA VS. MEGALON 1973 *
Godzilla teams up with a robot pal to do battle with Megalon and Gigan. Quite laughable.

ONE OF OUR DINOSAURS IS MISSING 1976
British comedy about a dinosaur skeleton and spy secrets hidden in one of the bones. A film to watch to cure insomnia!

THE CRATER LAKE MONSTER 1977
Amateurish and sleep-inducing but with some fun near the end. The creature is a Plesiosaur.

THE LAST DINOSAUR 1977 *
Rich hunter stalks a Tyrannosaurus at Earth's centre.

PEOPLE THAT TIME FORGOT 1977 *
Sequel to THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT (1975)

MONSTROID 1978
Attrocious rubbish coupled with attrocious acting. A dinosaur develops in a polluted Latin American lake.

PLANET Of THE DINOSAURS 1977
Astronaut stranded on a dinosaur-infested planet.

WHERE TIME BEGAN (Spain) 1978 *
Predictable retelling of JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.

CAVEMEN 1981 **
Misfit caveman outcast organizes a new tribe composed of misfits from other tribes. The dinosaurs are quite funny.

YOR, HUNTER FROM THE FUTURE (Italian) 1983
Muscleman vs. dinosaurs. Idiotic.

BABY – SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND 1985 *
Scientists protect a Brontosaurus family.

GODZILLA 1985 ½* 
Boring, nothing new, and cheap.

MY SCIENCE PROJECT 1985
Kids find a device that causes time warps.

THE LAND BEFORE TIME 1988 *
Cartoon feature of orphan dinosaur trekking to a green valley with a friend.

A NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL 1991 ½*

GALAXY OF DINOSAURS 1992

BS


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