Title: The Dinosaur Project
Year released: 2012
Director: Sid Bennett
Cast: Richard Dillane, Peter Brooke, Matt Kane
REVIEW BY SIMON BALL
The Dinosaur Project is essentially a retread of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World or more precisely some of the adulterated movie versions of it, done found footage style. A British Cryptozoological Society expedition led by Jonathan Marchant (Richard Dillane) heads off to the Congo in search of the legendary Mokole-mbembe, supposedly a living-breathing dinosaur.
Along with Marchant are his jealous assistant Charlie Rutherford (Peter Brooke), expedition doctor Natasha Loring (Liz Draper), local guide Amara (Abena Ayivor) and a TV crew. Oh yes and Merchant’s tech savvy 15 year old son Luke (Matt Kane) who has stowed away in the expedition helicopter.
Anyhow as they approach the part of the jungle where Mokole-mbembe hangs out, a pterodactyl strike takes the chopper out. Having survived the crash the expedition set out undeterred to find the dinosaurs. Natasha gets eaten, Matt befriends a baby Dilophosaurus (you know the one with the frill from Jurassic Park) by giving it sweets, Amara chickens out and takes off for home, Rutherford goes bad and tries to kill everyone so he can take the credit, the TV crew get eaten, Marchant and son are reconciled just before Rutherford senior dies, and Rutherford gets eaten by the baby Dilophosaur’s mum just in time to save Matt.
Finally Matt flings his parcel of video hard drives into the river in a sealed bag so that someone can find the record of the expedition before heading into the dinosaur valley.
Filled with standard issue ‘Lost World’ characters and with a by numbers plot The Dinosaur Project does throw a wee spanner into the usual no one survives ‘found footage’ scenario, although I reckon Matt’s chances of not being eaten by something once he had flung the hard drives in the river were fairly slim. It’s not an altogether terrible move, the acting, photography and sound are competent and the special effects are quite nice, even if the dinosaurs owe more to Michael Crichton and Stephen Spielberg than palaeontology.