Commentaries

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

COWBOYS VS DINOSAURS



COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS

Film Review by Fiore 


Watching TV, inevitably, the advertisement for Farmers Only. com will air.  It’s a dating service where farm boys can meet farm girls.  It’s filled with guys in jeans and cowboy hats, and girls in short dresses, or shorter cut-offs with halters, mid-riff tied jerseys and cowboy boots.  The ad appeals to a certain clientele and I couldn’t conjure who would be interested in this type of dating service until I watched COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS.  If the Jihadis ever run down the streets screaming “Alluha Akbar”, a real possibility if the Dems win the next presidential election, then you want Scarlette Johannsson as Black Window to be by your side as your date.  But, if dinosaurs ever invade, you want the cowgirls with their short shorts, halter tops and dead-eye shooting ability.

Written and produced by Anthony Fankhauser, COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS is destined to take a seat of prominence in the epicness that is defined as Sci-Fi Saturday night.  While not as noble as SHARKNADO, it will fit in nicely with SHARKTOPUS. PIRANHACONDA and SHARKTOPUS VS PTERACUDA.  Fankhauser has methane infused dinosaurs, most notably Tyrannosaurs and Velociraptors living in a hollow section of a mine.  When miners breech the opening, the dinos attack the town and nearby ranchers.  There is the mandatory subplot featuring a dishonored cowboy who comes home to gain past glories, and his past love, but that serves only as filler scenes between the dino attacks.

KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1.      The mine attack     
2.      Family reunion        
3.      T-Rex comes to town & the raptors visit the diner

COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS stars Rib Hillis, who is becoming a staple of cheese-fi flicks, taking the mantle from the grand master, Jeffrey Combs.  Casey Fitzgerald, Vernon Wells, Sara Malakui Lane (a dreaded three named actress) co-star with Hillis; and Eric Roberts, who shifts from serious films to popcorn flicks like others change underwear, drops by long enough to make a strong cameo and exit by a budget restricted version of a Dilophosaurus. 

Of course, in a film like this, the main concern is not the acting, but rather how good the dinosaurs look.  In COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS, they look pretty good.  The raptors in the opening sequence sport colorful feathers, keeping in vein with current paleo-thought.  Something happens after the opening sequence, because the raptors lose their feathers and look more like the trouble-makers from the original JURASSIC PARK.

The T-Rex looks good, coming complete with rippling muscles and protruding teeth.  This one is a little slower, though.  He plods, much like the older version of the Tyrant King.  It is hard to imagine this one keeping up with a racing jeep containing Dr. Ian Malcolm.

This isn’t the first time cowboys and dinosaurs have battled, to the detriment of the local town.  VALLEY OF GWANGI had cowboys, led by James Fransiscus fighting dinos from a lost valley.  Those dinos were created by the master of stop-motion photography, Ray Harryhaussen.  Dinos aren’t made that way anymore, and comparisons would be an apples and oranges affair.  With the new digital imagery, Director of Photography Stuart Brereton manages to shoot a fairly realistic prehistoric adventure.  There are only a few scenes, as in count them on one hand, where the matting of beasts and live actors is cheesy.  Some of the other films in the Sci-Fi Saturday Night genre contain matting that is really poor, like CROCOSAURUS, or MEGA-SHARK.    COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS is several steps above those endeavors and with the use of quick cut cinematography, ranks better than Lorenzo Lamus’ RAPTOR ISLAND.



COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS isn’t going to win any awards; it’s not designed to do that.  But if you want to gather with family and friends, let the popcorn and libations flow and enjoy 90 minutes of thrills and laughs, COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS will provide an entertaining evening. 

THE GRADE FOR COWBOYS VS. DINOSAURS = B

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