Dino Dicember #1: Age Of Dinosaurs (2013)

♪ It Is The Dawning Of… ♪

Picked up this randomly as the first movie to watch for Dino December, and of course it’s an Asylum production. And i didn’t plan it, that’s just my luck, but it’s also quite fittingly basic, so perfect to start this merry marathon!

That said, there isn’t much to the plot you couldn’t blindly guess. There are dinosaurs, this time brought back by a farmaceutical company called Geneti-Sharp, who displays them in a showcase as a concrete proof of them being able to do even more stuff that will benefit mankind… besides making possible to instantly heal burnt victims, as somehow their skin research is on the same level of “feature attractions” as resurrecting frigging dinosaurs. And even funnier, they have dozens of dinos ready to ship for museums, parks, and the like. I guess you really can pre-order anything on Amazon.

As it’s bound to happen for a company full of geniuses and complete pillocks at the same time, the safety measures don’t work as intended (and the “dino Frankensteins” somehow have to ask others for things they should already know about the very dinosaurs they created), so a dinosaur rampage takes place in the presentation hall, and in the city as well, leaving the task of saving the day to a retired fireman and her tween daughter… alongside the army and police, a bit more effective than usual, but still dinosaur chow for the most part.

If you have seen a dinosaur movie in the last 30 years, you will find no surprises in Age Of Dinosaurs, which of course will remind you of Spielberg because of the many shots and sequences almost taken verbatim from Ark: Evolved. And the soundtrack will double down on obvious “inspiration”, with the very slight – and shame-free – alterations to the Jurassic Park theme and music cues. Curiously, this also depicts the company people responsable for bringing the dinosaurs back as well intentioned and not just cartoonishly evil despicable people, which isn’t a given for this kind of “dinoxploitation”, and kinda strides with the functional characterization, since the script doesn’t have many problems in offing characters regardless if they are douchy, annoying (looking at you, tween girl with an unfitting 10 yo voice in the italian dub) or virtuos.

What’s surprising is the slightly larger budget on display, as it has more action and destruction than usual for these Asylum fodder movies, and while the CG for the dinosaurs is about what you would expect, in the prologue (which its very confusing if you actually analyze it and try to make some sense out of it) and a later scene they use a carnotaurus puppet, which looks kinda ok. I’m just surprised to see the Asylum bother to use practical effect alongside their… distinctive CG brand.

Regardless, there’s not much gore or blood in display, mostly digital or implied via budget saving shadow puppet plays.

You’re gonna forget Age Of Dinosaurs after watching it, make no mistake, but for what’s it worth it does manage to be mildly entertaining and not just in sporadic spots, thanks to enough action, destruction, some funny moments of b-movie garbage, passable acting (for the most part, anyway) by the fairly unknown cast, and the usual ending where the situation hasn’t been completely resolved, since there should be still some dinosaurs running amok, but the fireman and the daughter’s arc is done, their bond is stronger from the experience, and it’s 80 minutes, we wanna go have lunch, it’s all well, so FIN.

It does its job ok, it is what it advertizes on the box, it’s perfectly watchable from beginning to end, serving its purpose of killing some time without aggressively daring you to watch it all the way through, but it’s lack of ambition in being worst or better makes it an average low budget dino flick, better watched in company of friends and/or a good glass of eggnogg. It’s fine.

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