HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Dinosaur Island
HTS Overall Score:67
Dinosaurs have always been a good selling point in movies. “Jurassic Park made a killing off of people flocking to theaters to watch said beasties try and munch on the humans trying to escape. They’ve fallen out of style recently, but with “Jurassic World” coming to theaters it seems like as good a time as any to resurrect the fallen subgenre. “Dinosaur Island” is first and foremost a movie for kids. There’s no real terror or destruction here, but rather a movie aimed directly at sub dual digit children who want to see the big monsters run around and look awesome without actually terrifying the living daylights out of them. It’s not a great movie by any definition, but it made my little nephew have a good hour and twenty two minutes so I guess the target demographic is spot on.
Lucas, a 13 year old Australian boy is on the vacation of a lifetime, when he gets sucked into an anomaly that sends him to a remote tropic location. Stumbling around and trying to get his bearings, the child meets Kate, a young girl who claims to be from the 1950s, and the adventure begins. It seems that something is pulling all sorts of things, and people, from all over the world and time into this one location. Kate surmises that it’s really not anywhere or anytime, but rather an in-between spot that is attracting artifacts and what not from all over the planet and all over time.
To get back to his time and place, Lucas and Kate have to traverse the luscious tropical location and try not to get eaten by Dinosaurs along the way. This includes keeping away from a tribe of aboriginal boys and dodging all sorts of imaginary and real life insects, animals and again, said dinosaurs. I had to chuckle at the dinosaurs, as some of the colors and feathering on them was certainly inventive. I don’t think I have ever seen a T-Rex that looks like it was part bird and covered in more colors than a rainbow. It’s not TOO ridiculous, but the stylization certainly is unique. For a low budget Aussie film, I was actually rather surprised at how realistic the dinosaurs looked. I mean, it’s not going to have “Jurassic World” trembling in their boots anytime, but it certainly is head and shoulders over TV shows like “Terra Nova” and the like.
Unfortunately, those realistic dinosaur shots are also a sign where all the budget went. As an adult I had to roll my eyes quite a bit at the paper thin plot and the subpar acting by the two children. The acting was as wooden as a door frame and the writing and direction looked like a newbie was behind the camera. Still, my nephew was easily entertained by all of the bright colors on screen and didn’t seem to mind that there wasn’t a whole lot of engaging material for myself to grip on to. It’s got chases, nasty beasties that try to eat the kids and more than enough PG action to satisfy the kiddies. I would say that it’s really only geared towards the sub 10 year age mark, so pre-teens and barely teens might not get as much out of it.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45514[/img]I was really impressed with the 2.40:1 encoded DVD by Alchemy. The movie is shot digitally and since it’s only 82 minutes in length, is given plenty of room to breathe on the disc. The opening shots of the movie look a bit desaturated in the color department, as a grey/blue hue gives a somber feeling to the image. However, once Lucas gets to Dinosaur Island things get a lot brighter. Primary colors litter the landscape, from the greens of the jungle, to the gay colors adorning the dinosaurs themselves. Sometimes the brightness is a bit TOO high as I noticed rising contrast levels and some shimmering around the brightest of objects. Fine detail is exceptional, with good facial close-ups and solid long shots (with some softness during said long shots I noticed). A very solid encode.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=45522[/img]This is an adventure movie, and Alchemy’s 5.1 Dolby Digital track does an admirable job at filling out all six speakers with the obviously low budget. As I mentioned in the body of the review, the special effects got the majority of the budget, but it’s obvious that they counted the sound budget into the VFX budget, given the extremely nice audio experience. Dialog is clean and clear, with solid use of directional queues for the mains. Especially when the dinosaur chases occur. Surrounds are used extensively with the score flooding into those channels along with some nice ambient sounds of the jungle. LFE is deep and powerful, adding a throating sense of weight to the majority of the movie, and really pounding when the action starts.
I can’t say that I really enjoyed “Dinosaur Island”, but at the same time I can’t be too mad being that I wasn’t the actual target demographic. It is entertaining enough, and reminds me of those 1990s kids’ action series that were released by the dozens on the cheap, like “The Sugar Creek Gang” movies. It may not be a slam dunk hit, but the youngins will be satisfied by the plot and the decent video and audio score says that if you’re interested, it might make a passable rental for them.
Starring: Darius Williams, Kate Rasmussen, Joe Bistaveous
Director: Matt Drummond
Written By: Matt Drummond
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 82 Minutes
DVD Release Date: May 12th, 2015
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Recommendation: Rental for the Kids
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