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Last Call Blog | Retro Review: In the Nineties, a Trip to ‘Dinosaur Island’ was a Good Way to Get Away

Joe Bob Briggs praises "Dinosaur Island," a 1994 offering from the combined talents of Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray. The co-directors not only showed off their movie-making skills, but showed off some enormous, well-rounded talents of another kind in this throwback to classic prehistoric flicks.

Joe Bob reviewed this 1994 offering from the combined talents of Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray that showed off some enormous, well-rounded talents of another kind in this throwback to classic prehistoric flicks

Editor’s Note: This review was originally syndicated on February 11, 1994. Some things have changed since then.

What are people talking about when they say, “Well, you know, it’s the nineties”?

I have no idea what this means.

I mean, what do they expect me to say? “It is NOT. It’s the SIXTIES.”

There’s a movie out right now with a poster that says “A Love Story For the Nineties.”

Well, I HOPE it’s for the nineties, because the goldang movie is coming out in 1994.

Just exactly what idea is supposed to pop into your head when you hear the words “The Nineties”?

Are there really this many people into NUMEROLOGY? Has everyone turned into a New Age rock-worshippin loonie who thinks that when the date goes from December 31, 1989, to January 1, 1990, something in the sky moves and we go into a different MIND ZONE or something?

And even if we ARE gonna talk about “The Nineties,” what the hell does it mean? After all, we’ve just barely started in on 1994. We had three years with a Republican, one with a Democrat. We had two years with a bad economy, two years with a recovering economy. We had homeless people the whole time.

We had the same bad TV shows over and over again the whole time. We had one real war, but it was over so quick we forgot about it. We had two years of Communism in Russia and two years WITHOUT Communism, and it’s too early to tell which one was better.

In other words, what the hell ARE the Nineties, and what do people mean when they say that? We’ve got everything from “a car for the nineties” to “a fashion statement for the nineties” to that favorite of the news magazines–the “Woman of the Nineties.” And I get the impression, when people say “You need this new CD Player For the Nineties,” that what they’re really saying is that it’s BETTER than something you could buy in the eighties.

But that’s not really the way people say it on the street. They always SHRUG when they say it, like, “Oh well, you know, IT’S THE NINETIES.” If you say “It’s a Nineties Thing,” a lot of people mean, “It’s all screwed up, it doesn’t make sense, we’ll never fix it, and they’re all crooks anyway.”

So which is it?

Does The Nineties mean new and different and special and modern? Or does it mean crummy and cynical and broken-down and stupid? It can’t be BOTH things, right? And if it IS both things, why do we say The Nineties at all? Why does it matter what the NUMBER of the year is? Why don’t we just say “Today”?

Am I thinking about this too much?

I don’t think so. I think people are really screwed up on this one.

Anyhow, I got your movie for the nineties. Isn’t it about time for a flick about prehistoric bikini babes wearing nothing but furry loin cloths and animal-skin tops, running around a desert island being chased by giant dinosaurs and ripping off their clothes for some stranded Army guys who wash up on shore one day?

Of course it is, and who better to bring it to us than the can’t-miss ultra-low-budget directing team of Jim “Remove Your Tops, Please, Ladies” Wynorski and Fred Olen “That Looks Good Enough For Me” Ray.

The idea of this movie is to cross “Jurassic Park” with “Monster on Party Beach,” and so it’s got everything — virgin sacrifice, Amazon river bathing, jungle hot-tub massage, cheesy dinosaur attacks, catfights, pterodactyl-hunting, purple cave monsters, and, of course, primitive pesticide laboratories. That’s not to mention all the people making the sign of the twin-pronged rutabaga all over the landscape.

In other words, there’s no doubt about it: This is a feminist statement for the nineties.

Four dead bodies. Three dead dinosaurs. Twenty-four breasts. Soldier-munching. Bimbo-chewing. Exploding dinosaur head.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Nikki Fritz, as the blue-bodied high priestess who dances around like a dancer from Goldfingers Topless who’s done too much acid; Ross Hagen, as the grizzled old Army veteran who lands on the island with three goofball prisoners; Richard Gabai, as the private who washes ashore and says “Please, God, let it be Club Med”; Griffen Drew, as the prehistoric bimbo who says “Teach me page 34!”; Toni Naples, as the Amazon queen; Michelle Bauer, as the catfighting virgin, for her two enormous talents; Peter Spellos, as the obligatory fat guy, for saying “It’s time to kick some monster ass!”; Tom Shell, as the brainy one, for finding a giant blue dinosaur egg and saying “My God, think of the cholesterol”; and Antonia Dorian, as the dimwit soothsayer who could be a B-movie star of the future.

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

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