Friday, March 28, 2014

Carnosaur - Review

Carnosaur (1993) **1/2
D: Adam Simon, Darren Moloney
C: Diane Ladd, Raphael Sbarge, Jennifer Runyon, Harrison Page, Ned Bellamy, Clint Howard, Frank Novak

Plot Synopsis: A genetic scientist (Ladd) creates a flu like virus that causes women to give birth to dinosaurs as part of her plan to end mankind and to give Earth back to the dinosaurs. 

Review: Billed as the other dinosaur movie of 1993, most people view Carnosaur as a campy knockoff. Heck, the film stars Diane Ladd. In case you don't know, Diane Ladd is the mother of Laura Dern, as in Laura Dern the lead female protagonist in Jurassic Park. While the material is indeed campy and a mock buster type gimmick has been utilized, Carnosaur actually has a story that can stand on its own. 

Even though both films have dinosaurs, Carnosaur isn't a rip-off of Jurassic Park as it follows a mad scientist played by Diane Ladd. Ladd hates the human race. She's convinced that humans are ants in comparison to dinosaurs and she intends to return the world to dinosaurs by eradicating the human race. She's found a way to do this by making it so that women will give birth to dinosaurs.

This mad scientist, that Ladd plays, is a truly interesting character that does a lot of despicable things to a lot of people. However, this isn't some mad scientist foaming at the mouth who talks a big game. In the end, Ladd's character is willing to see this plot out by offering herself as a sacrifice for the dinosaurs.

Diane Ladd is practically the whole show here, but what a show she puts on! It would've been easy to play this role in either a campy or comical way, but Ladd approaches the material in a serious, straight forward manner projecting the anger & hostility that this mad scientist feels towards humans. That contempt and the drive of Ladd's character to orchestrate this scheme come across tangibly.

Despite a first rate performance from Ladd (given the material), some will try to knock Carnosaur saying that the special effects look cheap. Anyone familiar with Roger Corman’s previous films knows that’s part of the deal with his productions. After all, he's the king of the B movie. And the film certainly doesn't stumble because of the direction. In fact, the direction is stylish and the serious approach to the campy script elevates the material.

What causes Carnosaur to stumble are the human characters trying to stop this scenario from unfolding. They're there to run around in circles to give a greater sense of urgency to the proceedings. The protagonists come across as flat & uninvolving. Whenever Ladd isn't on screen, the momentum begins to lag and interest waivers. This is a film that's dependent on its star. How much you enjoy Carnosaur and how you would rate it, will depend on your own perception of Ladd's performance. [R] 83 mins.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this little dinosaur movie ! The second one is enjoyable too, but Carnosaur 3 is very bad :-/