Ray Harryhausen was busy on another project when this film was made, so other animators had to be hired. While the dinosaurs in this follow-up to ‘One Million Years BC’ are excellent, the film sadly leaves a lot to be desired.
In ‘One Million’, dialogue was kept to a minimum, but here there are entire conversations in stone-age language, the same words seeming to have many different meanings. It’s like watching a foreign film with no subtitles. In ‘One Million’, the scantily-clad cave-folk were put into the film to make it more palatable to audiences who would not otherwise go to see dinosaur films, but in ‘When Dinosaurs ruled the Earth’, the monsters seem to play second fiddle to decidedly uninteresting sub-plots about adultery, human sacrifice and the like. The dinosaur scenes here are good, but the creatures themselves have none of the presence they had in the first film. There is no sense of awe and wonder in this film and the music is decidedly humdrum. And it would have helped if there were more dinosaur sequences. The biggest con in this film must be the fact that there isn’t even a Tyrannosaur/Allosaur-type dinosaur. Instead, all we get is a Beast From 20,000 Fathoms lookalike who thinks Victoria Vetri is its young and comes across as pretty twee and about as frightening as Barney. And why on earth did they throw in footage from that dreadful 1960 ‘Lost World’ showing two lizards with spikes and fins glued to them fighting?
If you’re a fan of dinosaurs, which I am, then this film is worth seeing for the dinosaur sequences, but just don’t expect another ‘One Million Years BC’.