Legends Of Dinosaurs And Monster Birds (Japan 1977)

Rating: **
Review Date: 6/10/23

A young woman falls into a cave while wandering around in the Aokigahara Forest and witnesses an ancient dinosaur egg hatching. Her unbelievable story catches the attention of a rough and abrasive geologist named Takashi, and he decides to investigate. His father believed that dinosaurs still existed and that the right climate would bring them back, and Takashi wants to prove his theories to be true and make some money in the process. Increasingly strange things continue to spook the locals around Mt. Fuji, and Takashi runs into a former girlfriend named Akiko who happens to be working on a story about the annual Dragon Festival. Eventually, a plesiosaur shows up in Lake Sai and starts munching on visitors, while managing to elude all efforts to find the creature. The climax of the film introduces a giant pterosaur that does battle with the plesiosaur (which ridiculously takes place on land) and then a volcanic eruption makes a mess of everything.

The film starts out strong with a creepy intro in the Suicide Forest along with some mystery and intrigue, but it quickly loses steam and wastes way too much time on character development and pointless filler material before the "monster" ever shows up. And then after its first appearance, it disappears again until the end of the film. Unfortunately, the effects budget was pretty lean and the monsters look embarrassingly awful. I've never been less interested in watching two puppets unconvincingly beat each other up. The film tries to make up for this with some inexplicable and surprisingly shocking gore, but it's not enough to keep the viewer engaged. The film looks pretty good for the most part and features some nice sets and underwater photography, but the story is incredibly disjointed and often makes no sense at all. It was clearly inspired by "Jaws" (1975), but the main character is unlikable and the narrative fails to generate any interest or empathy. Possibly the best aspect of the film is its catchy disco soundtrack, which immediately betrays its 70's sensibilities. Overall, I found the film to be a disappointing waste of time, and kaiju fans might want to pass this one up.