Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Species that don't get publicity #4: Pristichampsus sp.

This featured genus is not a dinosaur. It’s been mistaken for one in terms of teeth, but it is not a dinosaur.  It did live in the same ecosystems as a big terrifying theropod, but not a dinosaur. I wouldn’t call it entirely obscure as it has appeared in some reference works and even a TV show, but no documentaries yet, let alone films. This is really too bad, as it’s a pretty terrifying concept: a crocodile with long legs and curved, serrated teeth.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Documentary Review: T. rex Exposed 1991

Today is usually a movie day, but I do like to change things up. That’s right, this week I’m doing a documentary. This one I remember a long time ago, catching it as a re-run when I was six years old. I watched it on VHS over and over, and it can only be found today in VHS form or on Youtube from a grainy transfer. This is a Nova Episode called T.rex Exposed. Nova continues to be one of my favorite shows, exploring scientific concerns while most other shows prefer sensationalism or are replaced by reality TV. In the 90s, even before Jurassic Park, dinosaurs were popular enough for their own episodes.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Species that don't get publicity #3: Barosaurus lentus

Some dinosaurs are just unlucky. Take this week’s species;  while it’s part of the richest fauna of its age and continent, it’s overshadowed by the other members of its family. It’s huge, but smaller than the others. It’s featured at the American Museum of Natural History, but plays second banana to the older mounts. It was once famous for being intercontinental, but turns out the African species has its own genus.  It’s headless and footless so far.  What does it have in terms of unique features, however, is a giant neck and an example of sauropod diversity at their height.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Movie Review: The Lost World 1960

Friday again, and again it’s a terrible movie we’re talking about. In 1960, producer-director Irwin Allen, having made very successful, spectacular documentaries, decided to cross over into thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy with two star-studded films. One was the circus thriller The Big Circus, and the other was a very loose adaptation of the Lost World. I would have skipped a lengthy plot recap if the film even remotely resembled the novelization, but this was not the case. After the recap I’ll go more into the devastating changes in the plot. Suffice to say, I can sum up what went wrong here pretty easily-

Monday, November 11, 2013

Musing on Jurassic Park

You may have noticed that I was supposed to put up a movie review on Friday, but the good movie I considered reviewing, Jurassic Park, has been reviewed to death. It’s a fun movie. Spielberg did an excellent job translating Michael Crichton’s trudge of a novel into an endlessly rewatchable movie that brought dinosaurs back into the public eye. The flaws have all been talked about-dated science, poor logic, underdeveloped characters, etc. The strengths have also all been talked about-the likable performances, the masterful editing and directing, the beautiful music, and fantastic special effects.  The sequels are horrible, but I will deal with them eventually. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Belated Halloween post: Top Ten Scariest Prehistoric Environments

Sorry this took so long!  I was hoping to get this done by Halloween, but it took a week to get this one out. Next time I’ll do monster posts like this one in installments. Today we’re going for another lighthearted one-yes, we’re going to do a top ten list today. This one’s been inspired by the documentary series Sea Monsters, where host Nigel Martin took the audience through the “top 7 deadliest seas”. In the same spirit, I’ve chosen the top 10 Deadliest Terrestrial faunas, based on the number of large predators. If I missed any that deserved to be on this list, please let me know. This isn’t based on any particular grade, but based on the number of large predators present in the fauna.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Movie Review: Monster On the Campus (1958)

Well, it’s another Friday, and thanks to problems in my personal life, I haven’t had a chance to do any blogs this week. However, I’m working on that, and I’m breaking my week-long hiatus.  The good news is that Fridays are movie days. The bad news is that every other one is going to be a bad movie. This week’s bad movie has no dinosaurs per se, but some prehistoric “monsters” and some typically terrible science. Today, we’re looking at 1958’s Monster on the Campus, directed by Jack Arnold and starring Arthur Franz in his last major film role.  It’s a fairly obscure film, neither revered classic like Arnold’s It Came from Outer Space or Creature from the Black Lagoon, nor a cheesy disaster like King Dinosaur or The Beginning of the End.