Thursday, 29 August 2013

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (UK, 1970)

























The third film by Hammer revolving around cavemen and women and occasionally dinosaurs. Before this was the first and most well known film with Harryhausen effects...'One Million Years BC', then came the sordid sounding 'Slave Girls'.

I'm not overly sure why they made this film as its pretty much the same spiel as their first and best film 'One Million Years'. The plot is almost the same really, there is one tribe of caveblokes that are a bit sacrifice happy with their blondes and one tribe that are a bit more normal and haven't seen blonde haired women much it seems (yep blondes are a rare breed in these films). A sexy big breasted blonde escapes the nasty tribe and is found by the good tribe, there she falls in love with a cavebloke which upsets his other cavegirlfriend. The blonde is hounded and chased off but pursued by the nice cavebloke who loves her. All the while the bad cave tribe are also looking for the escaped blonde for some reason, all this leads to much death at the hands of dino's and a big tidal finale...for some reason.

That is the plot but like the other films in this series its kinda tricky to follow it as everyone speaks in genuine caveman grunts. Yep its that approach again which Hammer really seemed to like back then, lots of scantily clad women with big breasts and a nonsensical dialog of grunts. Well actually the primitive language is suppose to be made up of genuine ancient dialect's of Phoenician, Latin, and Sanskrit sources, so I guess its quite clever really. Problem is all we ever seem to hear is 'akita' 'yo kita' and 'neecro', I swear if I hear one more damn caveman/women say 'akita' I will flip!!.


For me this film is all about the dinosaurs, the plot is too similar, the acting is terrible and the dialog is annoying, only the big breasted cavewomen make it worth while. But the stop motion dinosaurs are awesomely done and actually look really good. The first thing I noticed was the movement on these models, its really really detailed and displays even the smallest skin movements. Sure they are a bit jerky when walking in full motion but their eyes and head movements are great, best example is the unknown dino that befriends 'Sanna' the blonde cavewoman.

There are some other nice creatures too including some quite evil looking giant crabs, a nice sea monster moment, a bulky Chasmosaurus and a man eating plant hehe. Unfortunately they do spoil things by using dino footage from 'One Million', even worse they use crappy footage of two real reptiles with stuck on fins/scales fighting, no no no no.

The films title is pretty cool, gets you interested and the idea is reasonable but they made 'One Million' four years prior so what was the point?. I just get the feeling they wanted to remake the Welch flick but with better dino effects. I'm not even sure which is better really, 'One Million' is more iconic of course but this has better model work and that's without Harryhausen!.

Really I can only recommend this for the excellent dino stop motion models, if you are a Harryhausen/dinosaur/giant creature fan then you will enjoy parts of this film. The rest is complete dross and highly boring, there I said it.

5/10