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The Dinosaur Project – 5

Director – Sid Bennett

Cast – Richard Dillane, Peter Brooke, Matt Kane, Natasha Loring, Stephen Jennings, Andre Weideman, Abena Ayivor, Sivu Nobongoza

Release Year – 2013

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Late night boredom lead me to take an “I’m falling asleep so what do I have to lose?” chance on The Dinosaur Experiment, and much to my surprise this flick was better than I expected it to be. After the terrible Age of Dinosaurs I have been weary of unknown dinosaur films on Netflix, so this being a watchable flick naturally came as a big surprise to me. I had never before seen a found footage take on the dinosaur sub-genre until this film, and while it is not a film to get excited over it may be enough to help you appease late night boredom.

Traveling to the deepest, most uninhabited area of the African Congo, the famous Jonathan Merchant leads a team of Western explorers in an effort to prove the existence, or lack thereof, of a plesiosaur said to inhabit the deep waters of the Congo. Jonathan’s hopes of a successful trip are ruined though when his helicopter is brought down by what appear to be prehistoric birds, and his troubles worsen when he learns that his son, Luke, snuck on board. Armed with a plethora of personal video cameras, Luke documents their harrowing quest for survival in a world thought to be extinct 65 million years ago.

The story kicks off developing the relationship between the successful Jonathan and his son Luke, who Jonathan has neglected most of his life due to his ever-long quest to be the next Indiana Jones. Luke yearns for more attention from his father, and that leads to him becoming a stowaway aboard his father’s helicopter, which ultimately crashes in the Congo after coming in contact with what look like pterodactyls. After crash landing it does not take long for the explorers to come across the prehistoric hidden dangers of the jungle, which force them on the run and keep the film’s story constantly changing locations. The dinosaur action kicks in often, and we see a few different species attack the protagonists. In a way I did want to see more species involved in the film but with this being a low budget piece I was appreciative of what I saw. While the majority of the conflict is the explorers trying to survive the dangers of the wild, the conflict eventually becomes character-based and that was when I started to feel the film fall from grace. Before then things were going fairly well but the usual clichés kicked in and they did so in a very poor way.

Co-writer Sid Bennet directs this film and overall he did a much better job than I expected. The locations were exemplary and the CGI used was absolutely fantastic for such a film. If you are assuming the film will have horrible CGI like Age of Dinosaurs then you will be in for a treat. The moving story allows for much excitement and each location was near perfection and even sometimes awe-inspiring. There are not many scare sequences but there is plenty of tension and the film has less of an “adventure” feel than say Jurassic Park, with its only true negative being the change in conflict and the poor execution that came with it.

Overall, The Dinosaur Project is a somewhat decent experience that was better than I had expected. The story will mostly likely only appeal to those with an interest in dinosaurs mixed with “horror”, and with decent CGI and amazing scenery this may be a film worth your time if you have nothing better to watch.

Rating: 5/10

…Additional Stills…

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