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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Dinosaur Project


Starring: Richard Dillane, Matt Kane and Peter Brooke
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 27 August 2012

The Dinosaur Project is a movie that claims to be the edited together story of found footage from the ill-fated, eponymous 2011 expedition to the Congo in search of the Mokele Mbembe - or for those not overly familiar with the name: a water-based creature that's been extinct for 65 million years; a dinosaur...

The idea of "real" footage being discovered is obviously "borrowed" from The Blair Witch Project and in all honesty is a rather naff way of introducing the story. While it has its moments, this is a modern, low budget TV movie that borrows much from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 The Lost World novel, as well as The Land that Time Forgot (1975) but coming nowhere near matching the quality of either.

A group of explorers head off to search an area of the congo where a rare dinosaur like creature is said to have been spotted. However, their helicopter crash lands and the party have to make their way back to civilisation. Of course, on the way they come into contact with... wait for it... real dinosaurs... but not very many, because the budget is quite low.

Thankfully, while this is a little cliched, the director never goes down the path of building everything up to a final T-Rex reveal... although he comes pretty close.

The main characters are a little two-dimensional, the villain of the piece (I won't spoil it for you) has stepped straight out of a pantomime, and you just know that he'll meet his end by being eaten by a dinosaur...

I did enjoy the relationship between the father/son in the team (played by Richard Dillane and Matt Kane). Dillane's character is uneasy in front of the camera (when being interviewed) and even more uneasy when dealing with his son. Kane, as his son, Luke, brings a believability to the role. I particularly enjoyed his introduction where he's going through his dad's packed kit, only to discover he's prepared for this expedition by backing plenty of pairs of y-fronts.

One annoying aspect was the movie's insistence on having the camera break up during action scenes, go blank and then have the story pick up later. While this is effective when used initially, it's over used here and starts to look like a way of hiding the fact that there was no budget for effects.

Extras are a little poor. All we get are Evolution of The Dinosaur Project (23 min, 34 sec behind the scenes footage not very well organised or edited); and Trailer (2 min, 02 sec).

While there are interesting moments, I can't help feeling this was a missed opportunity. In fact, the most impressive thing about the movie is the clever poster design.


Darren Rea

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