Posted by: Craig Woolheater on April 22nd, 2007
Blog Critics Magazine has posted an online review of another upcoming crypto creature feature. This time the cryptid in question is the pterodactyl. At least a still living version of the pterodactyl.
The review also includes news of an upcoming Yeti flick as well…Oh, boy!
The DVD is available on Amazon.com for the low, low price of only $9.98.
Pterodactyl opens with the single greatest gore sequence in the short history of Sci-Fi Channel originals, and the DVD confirms it was uncut. As one of the resurrected title creatures swoops down, it picks off a hunter right at the waist, leaving one half of his body on the ground, the other half in the creature’s claws. It’s unmatched, and right around (if not over) the decency line for standard cable.
That immediately makes Pterodactyl far more enjoyable than most low budget fare. Unlike the other junk spewed out by the network, this one never drops its pace. The few goofy, forgettable sub-plots are always present, but never the focal point of the action. It’s weird that the title is simply Pterodactyl considering there’s a full flock (pack?) of them, yet it doesn’t matter.
This film is simply too much fun to deny it credit. The special effects are way above the usual fare, and when the creatures are at a distance, you can see how stunning the work is for low budget made-for-cable schlock. The final sequences, along with numerous shots on the ground, do go horribly wrong and bring the viewer back down to cable TV/direct to video level. Still, considering how many there are (and how long they last), it’s not going to be perfect.
Outside of the dinosaurs, the horrible characters (including Kate, played by the adorable Amy Sloan) are just ridiculous. The nerdy guy, the spoiled rich chick, the stuck up girl, and the college professor who dragged them out to the site for a paleontological dig are simply too much. It’s also impossible to forget the special ops team fighting terrorists too, especially considering the team is led by Coolio who is stuck with some of the more cringe-worthy dialogue in years.
The gore continues as the cast is slowly dismantled (literally), though they do manage to get in a few shots. It’s a mystery as to why a special ops team would conveniently have a rocket launcher to perform its original task, but the weapon surely comes in handy, and it gives the special effects crew (Worldwide FX, the same group who did Mansquito, amongst others) something else to blow up into gory mush.
As the pterodactyls become extinct (again), their final moments are shamelessly stolen from Japanese classic Rodan. It’s likely because no one involved had ever seen it, they didn’t have a better idea, or because it was a slight homage. Either way, it puts a fun cap to an impossibly entertaining piece of schlock that you’ll never actually admit you enjoyed.
Video quality is sharp, clean, and clear as most of these low budget features turn out to be. The special effects are not helped by the added clarity as opposed to the static of a standard cable broadcast, though you can appreciate the detail on the creatures. Compression can be found in darker scenes, while shots during the day are flawless. Shots of heavy jungle backdrops have few aliasing issues, a fine achievement for the format.
Gunfire is active in the audio channels, consistently with shots ringing out in every speaker. There’s only minor movement as the birds sweep through the sound field, though there’s enough going on to end with a nicely immersive effort. Bass can pack a huge punch during explosions.
Extras include short filmographies, an even shorter photo gallery, and random trailers.
Director Mark Lester isn’t currently handling directorial duties of any films, though he’s producing a few. Lost Colony is a period piece involving a trio of wraith’s attacking a small village in the 1500s. The second is a Yeti creature feature. Both are due for release this year direct-to-cable, and likely the Sci-Fi channel will be the network.Matt Paprocki