The Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds
Now, I had been warned that it was bad. I had been warned it was terrible.
But I had no idea!
Seldom have I seen a movie so consistently unable to do anything right. It hurts, my friends, and damn it when it comes to movies like this I am a masochist. This thing could not have hurt me more if I had asked it to spank me harder.
I spent every other minute of this film loudly shouting, in confused and bewildered indignation: "What the fuck?!"
Just to fill in everyone on the back story of this thing, this comes courtesy of Toiei Studios, Japan. They were not known for their monster movies and there's a good reason for that if this film is any indication. Although, I they were also responsible for The Green Slime, a bad film in its own right but not remotely as painful.
First out, I must point out that the title is inaccurate. For one thing, there are no dinosaurs in this film and for that matter there are no monster birds. Our monsters are a Plesiosaur and a Rhamphorynchus. Now, I realize movies are under no obligation but be scientifically accurate but neither of these creatures are dinosaurs. Prehistoric reptiles, yes, but not true dinosaurs. Also, Rhamphorynchus--my favorite pterosaur--is not a bird. This is rather nitpicky on my part but if the film were any good I'd be more inclined to forgive such small oversights.
Either way, the bulk of the monster role--such as it is--shall be filled by the Plesiosaur. In fact, that Rhamphorynchus does not even appear until the film is three-fourths of the way finished.
If you have any doubt what inspired the creation of this film, look no further than the fact that it was filmed, released, and set in 1977. Hmm, I wonder what major motion picture about an underwater predator could have inspired this film? Hmm, I wonder.
Literally, this film makes no amount of sense. The director seemed to think he was an artist and included many shots of things that in no way relate to the main story. The plot does not progress in any sensible manner.
The music of the film alternates between the soundtrack of a porn film and soft jazz. It also never ceases to be inappropriate. The composer was seemingly blind--and probably deaf, too, judging by the music.
The special effects consist of some pretty shoddy puppets and some plastic-looking full scale props. The Plesiosaur head looks like a bathtub toy with mulch glued to it in order to simulate seaweed.
The, um, Plesiosaur.
The monster attacks are pretty pathetic, for the most part. I'll be focusing on them just because I do not think my memory alone can do justice to the rest of this film's idiocy and surreality.
The first attack involves a couple on a paddleboat. The camera cuts from them to what looks like a log or something floating under the surface--I'm guessing the Plesiosaur--to a close-up of a pen sitting on a notepad on the shore. During this, we hear splashes and screaming before we cut back to two hats floating in the water.
The second attack--not counting a horse that loses its head--is the creature's outline arriving to destroy a dock where a really lame band is playing. Then everyone is distracted by a cardboard fin before they realize it's a hoax. Yes, this film actually steals that scene. Worse yet, the beachgoers actually scream, "It's a monster shark!"
Anyways, our second fatal attack occurs when the two wetsuited pranksters are ambushed by the Plesiosaur. It literally consists of a sudden whirlpool with their kayak caught in it, a windstorm kicking up, and the Plesiosaur thwacking them repeatedly with its tail. eventually one guy falls into the water and is pulled under. However, it's blatantly obvious the actor is just pulling himself underwater--we even see his knees bend when he hits the bottom of the pool.
The second guy gets crunched when we get our first look at the Plesiosaur and its prop head. It then taunts the third prankster with his friend's dead body. He runs off in terror.
Pardon me, do I have something in my teeth?
The third attack is rather interesting. For one thing, it reveals the fact that for a Plesiosaur, our beastie sure likes being on land a lot. Second, is that involves a woman taking a shower. This means that, rather surprisingly, we get some rear nudity. I personally found the woman in question attractive, but that's irrelevant. Apparently women are incapable of taking a shower if the lights go out. The woman is busy getting dressed when we see the Plesiosaur super-imposed in the window behind her. Hilariously, it is blatantly obvious that they have scaled the puppet wrong as it appears to be twice as big as it was before. The Plesiosaur smashes through the roof of the building....and we cut away.
The third attack is an odd mix of idiocy and effectiveness. Our heroine is scubadiving while her friend waits in their rubber raft. The friend begins dangling her feet in the water, unaware that the Plesiosaur is approaching her. Well, she's unaware until it rises out of the water in front of her and chomps down on her leg.
Looks promising, huh? PSYCH!
It lifts her up, out of the raft and dangles her by the leg. Hilariously, the far shots are of the Plesiosaur puppet holding what appears to be a Barbie doll in its mouth! After a while it drops her into the water and she swims to the surface. The Plesiosaur looms over her and we get repeated close-ups of its very obviously plastic teeth as it just kind of stares at her. She, more or less, stares back while blood billows around her in the water. I guess we know now why Plesiosaurs are extinct--they just sat around and watched their prey bleed to death!
Anyways, a surprisingly effective scene occurs when the heroine returns to the raft. Somehow she seems to have missed the blood and the huge water lizard lurking beside the raft. She starts calling her friend's name, only to see her hand appear on the side of the raft. When she grabs her hand and pulls--her friend's severed torso plops into the boat. And when I say torso, I mean there's about as much left of her as Chrissie in Jaws. If the rest of the film even remotely matched the effectiveness of that scene it would not be so bad.
Anyways, I mentioned a Rhamphorynchus earlier, didn't I? Well, he's a total afterthought. Literally a character shows up with a picture of a Rhamphorynchus and says that since a Plesiosaur is in the lake, why not a "pterodactyl," too?
A little later some ancillary characters discover some "stone eggs" and the Rhamphorynchus somehow bursts out of two different eggs. One egg disgorges a talon, the other its beak. and the talon and the beak are both about the same size as the eggs they burst out of. This goes back to my reaction of, "What the fuck?!"
The Rhamphorynchus looks decent, although its wings are laughably small. However, it's still a stiff plastic puppet. Its one contribution to the plot is to fly around a bunch of idiots until they end up killing themselves by shooting at a pile of depth charges in their attempt to shoot down the beast. Whoa, look out Rodan.
Incidentally, that whole scene is accompanied by rather whimsical, almost zany music. Try to imagine any of the shark attacks in Jaws set to "Yakkity Sax" and you've got a pretty good idea of how idiotic this sequence is.
Finally, when our hero and heroine find themselves confronted by the Plesiosaur in a forest, the Rhamphorynchus shows up and begins...uh...fighting the Plesiosaur. Imagine, if you will, a small child with a toy Plesiosaur and a toy Rhamphorynchus in both hands. Now imagine him bumping them together to pretend they're "fighting."
You now have a pretty good idea of what this fight is like.
Wait, is this my front or my back? I'm so confused!
Anyways, this fight has come after nearly 90 minutes of almost nothing happening. So of course, Mount Fuji erupts. The Rhamphorynchus succeeds in pecking out one of its foe's eyes and then...dies, I guess. The Plesiosaur ends up falling down a crevasse that opens up. As for our hero and heroine? we end the movie with him finally grabbing her hand to help her up after she had fallen over a cliff and was dangling from a fallen tree.
We never even find out if he helped her up.
This is a terrible film, make no mistake. If you've got a strong constitution and enjoy crap cinema you'll probably want to rent it. Just be aware that you're in for a lot of pain.
Just to give an even better idea of what this film is like, I've included two trailers for it that I found on YouTube. They're in Japanese but you'll still get the idea.