Directed by Julian Jarrold
Dinosaurs have survived into the present day and now wear sophisticated disguises to appear human. They compromise 1/10 of 1/10 of a percent of the total population. Vincent Rubio (Sam Trammell), a velociraptor private investigator, and his triceratops partner Ernie Watson (Daniel Baldwin) get swept up into a murder mystery with dinosaur religious fanatics who may be behind a plot to reveal their existence to the world in a brutal fashion.
The mystery centers around a young man that apparently committed suicide who was a member of a dinosaur religious cult called The Voice of Progress that sought to get dinosaurs back to their dinosaurian roots. There is also a subplot about Ernie’s daughter Gabrielle (Stephanie Lemelin) who works as the secretary for the detective agency. Turns out she’s actually human and she’s aware of this and has been pretending to be a dinosaur most of her life.
The dinosaurs in the city and other cities are ruled by a council that makes decisions based on chance. Chance is almost like a deity to them since chance sent the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs crashing into the earth. Faye Dunaway and Isaac Hayes have what amount to cameo parts as members of this council that operate out of a Chinese restaurant. It’s obvious they thought the movie would become a series as these two were underutilized. It was like they were being kept in reserve.
The story is okay but is hampered in large part by lackluster special effects. All dinosaur body parts you see are CGI. If I had been behind the film, I would’ve gone with make-up affects. CGI effects just weren’t there yet for television.
The movie was done on the cheap. As mentioned before, they used CGI effects rather than make up effects which is generally cheaper. It’s one thing to put a few scales on a person and call them a Cardassian. It’s a whole other thing to put something more complicated on in order to make them look like a dinosaur.
The shots were kept tight. This is something done by cheaper productions to limit how much of a set they need to dress as well as the number of extras used. Unfortunately this movie doesn’t look like it has any extras. Aside from the people in the foreground on screen the background is rarely populated with anybody or much of anything. For me it makes it difficult to be immersed in the on screen world.
As time went on, I thought somebody might pick it up and turn it into a TV show with a brand new cast. With umpteen million streaming services I’m surprised somebody didn’t think of it yet. It does have cult series potential. To this day I have yet to see one of the books this movie is based on anywhere but it is a pretty good concept for whom I feel the technology has finally caught up to do it justice.
This is a fun film with a silly concept that manages to make it usually work. I stumbled across it on DVD a few years ago but I’m willing to bet you can find it on some streaming service WHERE IT SHOULD BE BEING CONVERTED INTO AN ACTUAL SERIES. I’m pretty sure YouTube has this movie. If you find it watch it. Not the greatest but not too bad.