Monday, 27 May 2013

One Million Years B.C. (1966)

Take the eye-popping dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, add the violent apes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, throw in some tribal dancing from Apocalypto, narration from any BBC nature show and then add a pinch of symbolism with water being a portent for imminent danger and what do you get? Certainly not this film, although it does contain some of the aforementioned elements. That doesn't mean it isn't fun though.

This remake (and I haven't seen the original, a movie entitled The Cave Dwellers from 1940, so cannot compare - I didn't even know about it until checking out the details here) tells the tale of two brothers, both cavemen (so they have thick hair and beards, as does almost everyone else in the entire movie), who fight and grunt and generally get on each other's nerves as brothers do. When one meets another tribe he begins to discover new ways to handle situations and perhaps even a better way to deal with his own tribe. And dinosaurs fight each other or pick up some puny humans for dinner while people run around in fur pants or bikinis. That sums up the movie, basically.

There's also a love interest in the form of Raquel Welch, who is indeed beautiful (and absolutely iconic in that, arguably, most famous of movie posters), but I personally prefer the gorgeous Martine Beswick and hope other fans appreciate the charms of that woman. It's just a shame that director Don Chaffey and screenwriter Michael Carreras forgot to make an excuse to include any snoo snoo (Futurama fans should get that reference).

Poor John Richardson and Percy Herbert (who play the brothers, Tumak and Sakana, respectively), they must have known when they signed on for this film that they were going to be forgotten as soon as Welch and Beswick were onscreen.

So, you have a love interest, brotherly rivalry, peer pressure and dinosaurs. Nothing too impressive . . . . . but wait! Fans will be delighted to know that the dinosaur action is mainly provided by stop-motion legend Ray Harryhausen (though some are just provided by some trick photography) and very good they are too. It's not his finest hour but there are certainly enough little scenes in here to please those, like myself, who have always had a great affection for his work. It may be harder to appreciate in this age of such rapid technological advancement but it still retains a certain charm and care that, much of the time, a bunch of pixels can never replicate.

It's a lesser Hammer movie, but certainly not amongst the worst, and many people who grew up with the advertising imagery may well find they have an affection for the movie that has lain dormant until you end up seeing it once more, preferably on a big screen and with an understanding partner who will bravely model some fur garments afterwards.


No comments:

Post a Comment