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Author Topic: The Legend of Dinosaurs and Monster Birds (1977)  (Read 3420 times)
akiratubo
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« on: September 11, 2012, 03:04:05 AM »

I saw this movie when I was little.  The only thing I remembered about it was that I thought it sucked.  So did my mother.  In fact, she was angry at me for having her rent it, it was so awful.  So, of course, when I stumbled across it again via the magic of the internet, I just had to watch it to see if it lived up to my old memories.  Well, it did.  And how!

The movie starts with some smooth sax played over the Toei logo.  This is easily the second best part of the entire movie, so you may want to bail out now while you still can.  A girl wanders through the woods on Mt. Fuji, carrying a bottle of wine and a wine glass.  She falls through a hole into an ice cave.  Strange ice cave, this.  It's cold enough inside that every surface is covered with at least a foot of ice yet hot enough that the girl sweats like a pig.  After looking around for a while -- quite a while -- she sees some big eggs.  One of them cracks open.  She peers inside.  Eek!  Shriek!  There's a gooey eyeball inside staring right back at her!

The girl gets out of the cave and is rescued by a construction crew.  Word of what she saw reaches the ears of, uh, our protagonist.  I don't care what his name actually is.  His deal is that he's the son of a paleontologist who once claimed to have seen a live dinosaur.  Well, he wants to see a live dinosaur, too, and what else could a gooey eye inside a big egg be but a dinosaur?  So he blows off his job and heads to Mt. Fuji.  We see his drive there in what seems like real time.  The song that plays over his driving montage is kind of cool, in a way that only cheesy pop from the 70s can be.

Once Our Hero gets to Mt. Fuji, he runs into some young people.  They p**s him off by being disrespectful.  He p**ses them off by trying to run them over with his jeep.  (The movie wants you to think this is setting up a confrontation between him and the youths, but nothing ever comes of this scene.)  The girl from the prologue is in a coma, or something, so no one knows where the cave she fell into is.  Our Hero decides to tie some string to his ankle and wander around in the woods at random.  While he's doing this, there's an earthquake, during which Our Hero apparently decides to lie down and have a nap.  When he wakes up, he's in the home of some old guy who used to know his Dad.  The old man says he knows about the ice caves of Mt. Fuji, but he can't take Our Hero to the right one because there are just too many to know which one the girl might have fallen into.

"City folks fall into them and die all the time!" so he says. (?!)

Meanwhile, two women are scuba diving while the director points his camera at their rather nice, wetsuit-clad asses.  They finish their dive and happen to meet up with Our Hero.  Turns out he used to nail the senior of the two women, and presumes that they can hook up at least a few times while they're both in the same geographical area.  She seems ok with it, until their foreplay accidentally knocks over a crate full of eels (???) in her RV, which triggers a huge freak-out on her part.

"EEEEEK!  TAKETHEMAWAYGETRIDOFTHEMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!"

Meanwhile, two people get eaten by ... something (offscreen).  The "attack" is presented thusly:  the camera is focused on an alarm clock sitting next to a pad of paper and a pen.  Two people scream off camera and there is a splashing noise.  Seriously, the hell?  Did Toei expect anyone to not have walked out of the theater after that?  Anyway, this incident attracts a hell of a lot of attention from the local people.  At least one of the bodies is recovered.  He hasn't been eaten at all, in fact he has died of fright!

Our hero meets with someone, a scientist I guess, and they talk about earthquakes, Ben Franklin, and toads.  (???)

"Nature will rebel against man someday!"
"If the world ended, I'd find a place to hide."
"Ha ha!  And after a few thousand years, you'd come back to life again!  Benjamin Franklin, who invented electricity, once found a toad that had been dead for thousands of years and brought it back to life!"

What the hell?  I  ... Huh?  WHERE ARE THE DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS, DAMMIT?

Maybe they're coming up next!  Nope!  We get to listen to an old woman sing about the dragon that lives in the lake around Mt. Fuji, and how it once ate some horrible Chinese people who had come to Japan to be evil and torment simple Japanese fisher-folk.  The song and story is being recorded by one of the two female scuba divers, I think the one who is not Ex-Girlfriend.  (I can't tell them apart due to the horrible quality of the video.)  One her way back to the RV, a horse dashes in front of her car and nearly runs her off the road (WTF?!?!).  Her annoying dog jumps out to give chase.  She jumps out in turn to chase the dog.  Then, EEK!  SHRIEK!  BARKBARKBARKBARKBARK!  Something has bitten the horse's head off!  EEK!  BARKBARKBARK!  SHRIEK!  BARKBARKBARKBARK!  She hears a car horn!  EEEEEEEEEEK!  SHRIEEEEEEEEK!   It's Our Hero!  He asks what's wrong.  Hmm, maybe the headless horse corpse right in front of her, you ass!  EEEEEEEEEEK!  SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEK!  Our Hero dramatically takes of his sunglasses to glare at the horse corpse!  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!  SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

This movie sucks!

Back at the RV, Ex-Girlfriend is quite literally forcing a glass of wine down the poor girl's throat.  Once the girl has finally passed out from shock, Ex-Girlfriend says,  "A decapitated horse.  What a horrible practical joke."

Our Hero thinks Ex-Girlfriend and the other girl should go back to Tokyo.  Before they can argue, two cops show up to inform them that there is no dead horse.  They looked all over and didn't find it.  They're p**sed that Our Hero would play such a joke on them.  He'd better not spread the story, either, because it will interrupt the Dragon Festival tomorrow!  (I guess New Englanders aren't the only ones who won't close the beaches...)  Miffed, Our Hero drives back to the scene and finds the horse -- up in a tree!  My God!  Only a dinosaur could do that!

The next day, a narrator tells us that there's no need to explain the history of Mt. Fuji, then he explains the history of Mt. Fuji to us.  I check the clock.  30:37, and the only monster has been that gooey eyeball from what seems a lifetime ago.  Our Hero is meeting with the old man again.  The old man thinks that it's probably a giant snake, not a dinosaur.  Our Hero spouts off some pseudo-philosophy about how humans are animals and back at the lake an awful folk band is singing and people are dancing and some guys play a practical joke on the crowd and --

WHERE ARE THE DAMNED DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS??

Wait ... oh, my god!  A plesiosaurus rises out of the water and eats a couple of guys -- forty minutes into a 90-minute movie.  Too little, too late, but at least there's a monster.  Not a dinosaur, either, but I'll take what I can get.  Naturally, no one witnesses the attack, even though it seems to be occurring like, a hundred yards from the massive crowd on the dock.  The only survivor of the attack is the very same guy who just pranked the crowd, so no one believes him.

Meanwhile, at a girl's summer camp, the plesiosaurus pervs on a teenage girl taking a shower (the full-frontal nudity was unexpected).  Hearing the monster's thunderous footsteps and its deep, raspy breathing, the girl calls out, "Mother?  Is that you?"  For the life of me, I can't figure out if that's supposed to be funny or not.  It's the kind of thing you'd expect to see in a slasher movie parody from the 80s.  But in a Japanese monster movie from 1977?  Anyway, after the director figures the audience has had their fill of small boobs and frighteningly huge, 70s bush, the plesiosaurus rams its head through the wall and ... end scene.

Meanwhile, Ex-Girlfriend is going scuba diving again (probably looking for more eels to freak out over) while her friend stays in the boat and tortures the audience by listening to the tape of the old woman singing.  The plesiosaurus, apparently having teleported here from his attack on the summer camp, rises from the water, grabs the girl by the leg, drops her in the water, hocks up a few gallons of what looks for all the world to be semen (?!?!) from his throat, and bites the girl in half.  The scene is shot and edited in an extremely arty way.  I think they were going for "dreamlike" or "nightmarish".  They failed.  Much more successful is what happens immediately after.  Ex-Girlfriend finishes her dive and gets back in the raft.  She notices her friend is gone.  She sees her friend's hand slowly rise from the water and desperately clutch at the raft; obviously the girl is in terrible distress.  How does Ex-Girlfriend react?

"You're silly!" Ex-Girlfriend laughs, "Don't scare me like that."

She takes her friend's hand and pulls the half-eaten, amazingly gory remains of her torso into the boat!  At this point, even Ex-Girlfriend realizes something must be wrong.  You know the drill.  EEEEEEEEEEEK!  SHRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

The authorities *gasp* respond to the situation by going out onto the lake to look for the monster.  They mayor even arranges for depth charges to be dropped.

Our Hero pays a visit to Ex-Girlfriend.  Is he there to comfort her because her friend was just horribly ripped to shreds?  Hell, no!  He realizes the plesiosaurus will almost certainly be killed, and he wants to see it while it's still alive, so he's there to tell her he's going to go scuba diving to look for it.  Sure, it's almost certainly a suicide mission but he's passionate about this, damn it!  She begs him not to go, so he smacks her around for a little bit.  Our Hero, you are officially a huge a***ole.  After being smacked around, Ex-Girlfriend realizes how passionate Our Hero is, so she throws aside her silly feminine feelings (like remorse over her friend and concern for Our Hero's life) and agrees to help him.  Ex-Girlfriend, you are officially a doormat.

Meanwhile, some random guy shows up at the local police station and shows the cops a picture of a rhamphorhyncus.

"If a plesiosaurus has showed up, one of these might, too!"

What?  Huh?  I ... I think I just had a stroke.  asldkfhoasdyf98o2hdyf982hn34ur92y39h2uo5tol53t078u

The cops, to their credit, tell him to p**s off.  The old dude who knows about all the ice caves shows up and takes him a bit more seriously.  In fact, he agrees to show Random Dude exactly where the rhamphorhyncus egg is!  Then why didn't he show it to Our Hero?  THIS MOVIE SUCKS!

Anyway, to hell with this crap.  The rhamphorhyncus hatches.  It fights the plesiosaurus.  Mt. Fuji erupts.  The two monsters, Our Hero, and Ex-Girlfriend are all consumed in the lava.

THIS MOVIE SUCKS!  It sucks more ass than an ass-sucking ass-sucker utilizing state of the art, ass-sucking technology.  This is seriously one of the worst movies of all time, right up there with Monster A-Go-Go, Manos, and Headless Eyes.  Hell, it's barely even that good.  I'd honestly toss it down in that special layer of cinema hell with stuff like The Jar, Alien Prey and Alligator Alley.  It makes me angry that this movie was made.  Earth, if not the entire cosmos, is a worse place because this movie exists.  If aliens show up tomorrow intending to destroy mankind, and say that it's because we made this movie, I would have to agree with them.

I mentioned at the start that the Toei logo was the second best part of the movie.  I suppose I should tell you what the best part is.  It's the rhamphorhyncus attack.  After it hatches (fully grown), the sky around Mt. Fuji for some reason fills with smoke and colored lights.  Then, some simply amazing funk music kicks up on the soundtrack while the rhamphorhyncus dive-bombs the crowd gathered to watch the depth-charging of the lake.  One of the cops tries to shoot it, but ends up shooting a stack of depth charges instead, blowing everyone there to hell.  I don't know how the director and the rest of the crew could manage to create something so right in the middle of all this bulls**t, but they did.  Ironically, a scene this good makes the rest of the movie even worse in comparison.

3000th post!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2012, 03:07:40 AM by akiratubo » Logged

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Pilgermann
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2012, 01:25:29 PM »

3000th post!

Congrats!  However, I will not heed your warning 'cause I still want to see this film.   TongueOut
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JoeTheDestroyer
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2012, 03:06:21 AM »

Hahaha!  I love this movie because it's so awful and loaded with scientific inaccuracies that I can't help but crack a brew and laugh at it.

The horse in the tree scene also scared the crap out of me as a kid.  Bluesad
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Flangepart
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2012, 08:18:26 AM »

Long time ago, I got a dvd of the KTMA MST3K version of this flick.
Boy, did the guys have their work cut out for them.
The DvD died not long after I got it, so no more pirates from that guy, bit it was interesting to see the growth of the show. Early bots, Joel and the Mads, all getting a handle on the show's backstory. cool.

Akiratubo: Nice review of this flick. If it's mind boggling weird, it must be Japanese. seriously, this film NEEDS riffing to make it survivable. Hit it with the right gang, and the pain is shared, and that helps.
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BakuryuuTyranno
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 02:13:06 PM »

Of interest, the film was produced two years after-

1: Godzilla films were "finished".

2: Jaws was realised.

I suspect Toei were aiming to outdo both, and outright replace the former.
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Flangepart
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2012, 05:28:25 PM »

Of interest, the film was produced two years after-

1: Godzilla films were "finished".

2: Jaws was realized.

I suspect Toei were aiming to outdo both, and outright replace the former.

Two words: EPIC FAIL!

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Raffine
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2012, 07:52:51 AM »

Terrific review!

The only issue I have with it is it makes the movie sound like a lot more fun that it is.  TeddyR

Wikipedia has a very earnest, lengthy summary of this one.

I particularly like the snarky trivia entry: Despite its title, neither of the creatures in this film are actually classified as dinosaurs. The Plesiosaur is actually classified as a marine reptile, while the rhamphornycus is classified as a flying reptile.

Every other bit of science in the movie checks out A-OK, though.  Thumbup
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