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Dinosaur Movies
#1
I feel that it would nice to have a thread for dinosaur movies in general, not just Jurassic Park. Discuss your favorite dinosaur movies, favorite dinosaur movie moments, dinosaur films we want to see, unrealized dinosaur films, and anything else related to the dino film genre. Here are my personal top five favorite dinosaur films...

5. When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth (1970)
4. One Million Years B.C. (1966)
3. The Valley Of Gwangi (1969)
2. Jurassic Park (1993)
1. King Kong (1933)
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#2
There's been many interesting dinosaur films that might have been. I've always been fascinated by these "what-ifs" and I've gathered ten of my personal favorite unrealized dinosaur films, the lost worlds of dino cinema...

Creation
Time Frame: 1930-1931
Premise: An American industrialist, his family and entourage are rescued from a typhoon-stricken yacht by a Chilean submarine, only to be thrust by a seaquake into the water-filled caldera of a gigantic dormant volcano. Amid a lost world of prehistoric life, everyone’s true natures are revealed.
Personnel: Willis O’Brien, Marcel Delgado, Harry Hoyt, Beulah Marie Dix.
Creatures: Triceratops (with young), Arsinoitherium, Brontosaurs, pterodactyls, Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus (with young), wooly mammoth, Styracosaurus, Agathaumas, giant ground sloth, Elasmosaurus, Ankylosaurus.
Notes: Perhaps the most famous dino movie never made. Canceled by RKO newcomer Merian C. Cooper. However, Cooper’s excitement at seeing the amazing visual effects in O’Brien’s test reel lead directly to O’Brien’s participation in King Kong.

Dark Continent: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure!
Time Frame: 1988-?
Premise: The legendary, fictional sleuth journeys to Africa and encounters Ayesha, “She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed”, from the writings of H. Rider Haggard. Holmes also finds the game’s afoot - a dinosaur foot - with a variety of prehistoric beasts given immortality by the eternal flame.
Personnel: Jim Danforth
Creatures: Spinosaurus, Arsinoitherium, giant snake, others.
Notes: The second intriguing-sounding entry in Danforth’s proposed film series spotlighting Holme’s adventurous side (following West of Kashmir: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure!). The Spinosaurus puppet utilized the armature made for the vetoed Ceratosaurus of When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth.

The Dinosaur Kid
Time Frame: 1990s-?
Premise: 10-year-old dinosaur fanatic Sean, his dad, and an adventurous young woman travel into a remote, time-arrested valley. They find not only a plethora of dinosaurs, but also a family of rural bank robbers who stopped aging when they holed up in the valley around 1900. The clan’s youngest, Katie, and her ability to communicate with the dinosaurs, may hold the key to Sean’s family’s escape.
Personnel: Brett Piper
Creatures: Centrosaurus, Megalosaurus, Stegosaurus, Mosasaurus, Apatosaurus, Scelidosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Psittacosaurus, Dimetrodon, Triceratops, Pteranodon.

Dinosaurs
Time Frame: Late 1980s-early 1990s
Premise: A visceral and sometimes violent look at the final days of the dinosaurs’ reign on earth, told in completely naturalistic fashion.
Personnel: Paul Verhoeven, Phil Tippett, Jon Davison, Walon Green, Tom Smith, David Allen.
Creatures: Styracosaurus (the “hero”), Tyrannosaurus (the “villain”), a small mammal named Suri, many more dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
Notes: This project, eventually to be reshaped and reprocessed into Disney’s CGI adventure Dinosaur, began as an all-stop-motion film with no dialogue, no narration - no words at all. This entire incarnation of the film eventually died.

The Natural History Project
Time Frame: 1983
Premise: A youthful duckbilled dinosaur grows to maturity amid a prehistoric world of dreaded predators and loyal friends.
Personnel: Jim Henson, William Stout, Lisa Henson, Bill Stout.
Creatures: Corythosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Alamosaurus, Triceratops, pterodactyl, Triceratops, more.
Notes: The Natural History Project was the film’s working title - a final title was never chosen. Reportedly, Jim Henson’s daughter Lisa had the initial idea to make the film and started the ball rolling. Noted dinosaur artist Bill Stout penned the screenplay and designed much of the film’s “look”. The project was abandoned when Warner Bros. learned that Don Bluth’s The Land Before Time was in development, and they didn’t want theirs to be perceived as a copycat endeavor. The dinosaurs were planned to be brought to life with a combination of stop-motion animation and puppetry,

People of the Mist
Time Frame: 1982-1983
Premise: A loose adaptation of a rather obscure tale written by Sir H. Rider Haggard. Two brothers lose their inheritance in England and travel to Africa to seek a new fortune. One is killed saving a woman from a lion and in return she leads the other brother on a quest to find the Land of Mist, situated on a huge undiscovered plateau, where the largest rubies in the world are to be found.
Personnel: Ray Harryhausen, Michael Winner,
Creatures: Pterodactyl, Stegosaurus, Dryptosaurs, plesiosaurs, man-eating tentacled plant, flying creatures that resemble a mutation between a prehistoric beast and a huge eagle, lizard-like aliens, other dinosaurs.
Notes: Harryhausen dropped out because of disagreements with Michael Winner, the director, over the script and the project was eventually abandoned after audience tests revealed that this kind of picture was no longer popular.

Raiders of the Stone Ring
Time Frame: 1968-1999
Premise: A cadre of Allied prisoners escape from a World War I German POW camp in a stolen Zeppelin. They find themselves flying over the crater of a vast dormant volcano where their craft is attacked and damaged by a pterodactyl. The airship crash-lands in an incredible lost world inhabited by prehistoric creatures and humans (some real; some fictional) and a mysterious race of evil alien lizard-men living in an ancient city. The climax shows a flock of pterodactyls attacking a Zeppelin.
Personnel: David Allen, Jim Danforth, Dennis Muren, Charles Band, Randy Cook, Chris Endicott, Kim Blanchette, Kent Burton, Wes Ceafer.
Creatures: Pterodactyls, giant spider, giant lizard, giant prehistoric ground sloth, primitive humans, alien-controlled robots, lizard-men, Yeti, the “River Lizard” (a mysterious, hybrid beast resembling a cross between a rhinoceros and a dinosaur), more.
Notes: Concept originated when Jim Danforth, Dennis Muren and David Allen teamed up to initiate a fantasy-film project. During development Danforth introduced the Slithars, a race of “intelligent, humanoid mutant lizards” to serve as adversaries. Danforth proposed the project to Hammer Films, but an agreement acceptable to all parties was never reached. David Allen pressed on, but his untimely death in 1999 ultimately put an end to the project. At various points the film was titled Lost Creations, The Glacial Empire, The Warriors of Mordium, Primordium: The Arctic World, Zeppelin v. Pterodactyls, Creatures the World Forgot, The Stone Ring, Raiders of the Stone Circle, and The Primevals.

Timegate
Time Frame: Late 1970s
Premise: In the near future, the commercial time-travel company sells “dinosaur safaris” to wealthy adventurers. On one particular excursion to the Cretaceous, one person’s hidden agenda jeopardizes the group’s chances to return to the present.
Personnel: Jim Danforth, Milton Subotsky, Mel Simon, Bill Taylor, Randy Cook, Phil Tippett, Douglas Beswick, Ken Ralston, Tom St. Amand, Bill Hedge, Nick Seldo, Tom Scherman, Jon Berg, Tom Jacobson.
Creatures: Pteranodon, Tyrannosaurus, Styracosaurus, Phobosuchus, Monoclonius, Ornithomimus, Hypsilophodont, the fictional “wolf-lizard”.
Notes: Over a year of continuous work went into the project and much live-action footage was shot. Then Mel Simon, the financed, decided the project needed bigger “name” actors than those being considered and bumped the original $1 million budget up to $2 million. “So we had to start all over,” Jim Danforth said. “We lost a lot of momentum.” Despite all of Danforth’s efforts (including talks with Charles Schneer), production never resumed.

War Eagles
Time Frame: 1938-1980s
Premise: An outspoken history teacher and his brash young pilot discover and befriend a colony of Vikings living in a “blind spot” above the Arctic Circle. The Vikings have domesticated the region’s giant, white prehistoric “snow eagles” and employ the great birds to ferry food from the fertile but dinosaur-filled Valley of the Ancients. When a radio report reveals that America is under attack from an adversarial country, the Vikings mount their war eagles, fly to America with their new friends, and intercept the aggressor’s air forces over New York City.
Personnel: Merian C. Cooper, Willis O’Brien, Marcel Delgado, Ray Harryhausen, Charles Schneer, Jim Danforth.
Creatures: 15-foot tall snow eagles, Brontosaurus, Allosaurs, Triceratops, pterodactyls, more.
Notes: War Eagles was intended to be a truly worthy and even more spectacular follow-up to King Kong for the Cooper-O’Brien team, based on an original story devised by Cooper. Among the visual feats planned was an all-out aerial battle between the war eagles and a swarm of pterodactyls. Much preliminary work was done by Marcel Delgado, who constructed models of the eagles and an allosaurus, and by Obie, who actually filmed a 400-foot stop-motion test reel. This color footage, sadly, no longer exists. When World War II began, Cooper reenlisted in the Army Air Corps and an end was brought to War Eagles. Several times during Ray Harryhausen’s career, whenever a meeting came up to discuss possible projects, Ray would suggest the old O’Brien script, and on two occasions it progressed to a point beyond just talk. The first was about the time Ray began to consider Gwangi, and the second, and by the far most serious, was after Clash of the Titans. After Ray Harryhausen’s retirement from filmmaking in the early 1980s, Jim Danforth briefly discussed with Charles Schneer the possibility of rekindling War Eagles.

When The Earth Cracked Open
Time Frame: 1970-1971
Personnel: Ray Harryhausen, Michael Carreras, Don Houghton.
Premise: Opens with a montage showing Earth’s prehistory from the Ice Age to the first Neanderthal man, which takes us to the River People whose leader is Rabbala. One day, while the men are fishing, the Fire Warriors, lead by Za’Ama, attack the camp, killing the old men and children, and take the women. Rabbala and his men follow, finally catching up with the Fire Warriors in their home - an active volcano - and by pushing huge rocks into the volcano they create an eruption. During the confusion Rabbala and his men are reunited with their women and escape across an ever-widening chasm (thus the title), into which crumbles the volcano and the Fire Warriors.
Creatures: Dinosaur-like creature. tentacled swamp creature, giant toad, ‘Sand Crab’, Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, giant sloth, giant stag beetle, giant soldier ants, serpent, Primord-Reptile (‘a cross between a gorilla and a lizard’), giant armadillo.
Notes: After Ray Harryhausen’s involvement with Hammer on One Million Years BC, there were several suggestions from Michael Carreras for projects that would utilize stop-motion animation. When the Earth Cracked Open was one of the more concrete proposals. The story was fairly basic and followed more or less the same themes as the previous Hammer prehistoric adventures. The demise of the project came about when Michael Carreras was unable to obtain the necessary backing or some other project took its place. The film was supposedly set to star Caroline Munro.

Hope you enjoyed this list of lost films and unrealized possibilities. All of them would have featured stop-motion animation and other practical effects. Perhaps some of these films I mentioned could have rivaled Jurassic Park. What do you think?
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