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Pterodactyl terrorists!

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Internet Movie Database

Not Rated
Copyright 2005 American World Pictures
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 18 March 2008

Capsule Review:    

An earthquake shakes a dormant volcano in Turkey and uncovers a clutch of really old pterodactyl eggs. Now, despite being millions of years old, the eggs hatch. As it so happens, a washed-up paleontologist and his graduate students make an expedition to the volcano. Professor Lovecraft believes that the ancient volcano is an undiscovered treasure trove of fossils. Is anyone else thinking what I am thinking? There are many reasons that Lovecraft sucks at paleontology, and his insistence upon looking for fossils inside of volcanoes is one of them.

What did you say? Yes, the male protagonist's name is "Lovecraft." Along with him, there are characters named Heinlein, Zelazny, and Burroughs. Almost every character's name in this movie appears to be a homage. Burroughs was a nice touch, but all the others get to be a bit much.

The wayward paleontologists do not just encounter giant flying predators, they also run into some local outlaws and an American Special Forces unit. Those other two elements are diametrically opposed, because the soldiers were sent in to capture the leader of the brigands. During the close encounter of the "shouldn't you be extinct" kind, a huge volume of gunfire is directed at the pterodactyls. While the shooting does bring down some of the swooping reptiles, the creatures are amazingly difficult to kill. In fact, the big, scarred male pterodactyl that is the leader of the colony is completely impervious to 5.56 MM ammunition.

I swear, they shoot the male pterodactyl enough times to kill an elephant, and it does not care.

The hero's love interest is carried away by one of the squawking terrors and deposited in the pterodactyls' communal nest high on the volcano's slopes. She looks pretty good for somebody snatched up by a prehistoric predator with razor sharp talons. I would have expected her to have suffered a punctured lung or partial disembowelment. The pterodactyl didn't even tear her shirt. Lovecraft and the others climb up to rescue the young woman, so the stage is set for the final confrontation.

Something that drove me nuts is that the head bad guy, whose name is Yolen, spends most of the movie with his hands tied behind his back. Guess what - he survives every attack while he is trussed up. Fortune does not desert him until he gets free; then a pterodactyl gets him.

Something else that drove me nuts is the weapons carried by the special operations team. Most of them use assault rifles that I do not recognize. Maybe the weapons are supposed to be XM8s, but I chalked it up to the prop guy going hog wild; they are just "movie guns." The Special Forces team also has a futuristic rifle that shoots mini surface-to-air homing missiles. The launcher requires a silly visor that serves as a targeting system (it makes the wearer look like the chimp from "The Lawnmower Man"). Obviously, the weapon is intended to provide low altitude air defense, but the Turkish outlaws do not have any aircraft. The only reason the mini missile rifle was included in the team's equipment was so they could shoot pterodactyls with it.

I have talked about all the bad (and there was a bit of it). However, the movie did get a couple of things right. The CGI pterodactyls are not bad, and a couple of scenes use actual props that work fairly well (except for the baby pterodactyl hand puppet). Interaction between the actors and the CGI creatures is also above par for a direct-to-video effort.

Things I Learned From This Show:  

Green Dot The leading edge of a pterodactyl's wing was tipped with a monomolecular blade that it used to chop prey into sushi.
Green Dot Shooting down a prehistoric reptile with a state-of-the-art homing missile is more difficult than it sounds.
Green Dot Diurnal animals fall asleep the moment the sun goes down.
Green Dot Internal hemorrhaging is a natural way to increase breast size.
Green Dot Always look a gift sheep in the stomach.

Stuff To Watch For:  

Green Dot 10 mins - Who cast Coolio as an Army Captain? Man, get that fool out of here!
Green Dot 46 mins - You let the Captain call you "Chief?" For the team's senior enlisted, probably a Sergeant First Class or First Sergeant, you sure are a chump.
Green Dot 75 mins - Nobody knows how to tie a monkey fist?
Green Dot 87 mins - "The most astounding discovery in the history of paleontology, and I'm soaking in it!"

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