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Preserved Beneath the Waves… – Dinosaurus! (1960)


Amongst the various films featuring fantastical creatures that Ray Harryhausen would use his extraordinary talent upon, there were others that tried to do the same and to a greater or lesser extent, whether they worked or not, they would at least try and bring the masses a little magic. Dinosaurus! is one such picture that does just that and finds itself with a couple of dinosaurs brought back to life through the power of a storm and its all-powerful lightning, to cause more than a little trouble for the inhabitants of a Caribbean island who previously towed them up from the bottom of the sea.

Starring Ward Ramsey as the hero of the film, he and the rest of the cast would do a great job of bringing this fairly simplistic tale to life and the one thing that can be said of the picture is that it never fails to entertain. The budget might not have been as big as some other movies, but the filmmakers did a good job with what they had and the dinosaurs looked great, the animation extremely well done. Compared to the special effects of today, it might look simplistic by comparison, but there is something inherently magical about stop-motion animation that sets the imagination on fire and that is exactly the case here. Making it even more real are the sound effects to accompany the visuals – the best example being when the Tyrannosaurus bit into the neck of the Brontosaurus and the audience was able to hear the bones snapping the harder the monster chomped down. It was a little disconcerting to hear such a sound, but it added authenticity to the scene and made the movie better overall because of it. The colours in the film were bold and bright and the photography well done, and the direction steady, if standard in its delivery. This was by all accounts, a fairly straightforward story that required little other than competency and thankfully, it turned out to be an incredible amount of fun.

Though it would have been nice to see the Brontosaurus survive, in the end, the movie had to conclude the way it did as creatures out of time never tend to survive and only pose an immense problem, usually for themselves when they do. Striking a balance between being serious and slight comedy, Dinosaurus! may not have the most concrete of identities, but it does make for a good time.

3 out of 5

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