Courtesy: Moonbeam Entertainment/Full Moon Features/MVD Entertainment Group
Dinosaurs are big business for Hollywood. From the Jurassic Park franchise to Disney Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur to Blue Sky Studios’ Ice Age franchise and more, dinosaurs have brought in big bucks for Hollywood throughout the years. Now thanks to MVD Distribution, a slightly lesser-known dino-centric flick has been brought back to light in the form of Prehysteria for audiences to enjoy again for the first time. Originally released as a direct-to-VHS flick more than 25 years ago from Moon Beam Pictures – an imprint of Full Moon Features – it was re-issued on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack Oct. 9 via Full Moon Features, and is a welcome offering for most families even today. That is proven in part through the nearly 90-minute movie’s story. The story will be discussed shortly. The movie’s bonus material adds to the movie’s presentation, and will be discussed a little later. Its average price point rounds out its most important elements. Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Prehysteria. All things considered, Prehysteria proves to be a work that while maybe not as well-known as other dino-centric flicks, is still a fun family flick.
Moon Beam Pictures’ newly re-issued indie dino flick Prehysteria is a welcome, fun family flick. It is an underrated and underappreciated addition to Hollywood’s much hyped prehistoric realm (and yes, that awful pun was intended). That is proven in part through the story at the center of the movie. The story centers on the Taylor family — Jerry (Austin O’Brien — The Last Action Hero, My Girl 2, The Lawnmower Man), his sister Monica (Samantha Mills — Step By Step, California Dreams, The Family Man) and their father Frank (Brett Cullen — Ghost Rider, The Dark Knight Rises, Person of Interest) as they deal with a group of newborn dinosaurs brought home by their family dog, Ruby, who is clearly mourning the loss of her puppies. As is explained through the movie, Frank gave away Ruby’s last litter of puppies, so she takes on the pigmy dinos as her own. Plenty of hilarity ensues in the Taylor household after the dinosaurs — named after the family’s favorite musicians – are born. From the little dinos making a mess of the Taylor family’s kitchen, to the adorable little creatures finding the beat as Elvis plays just outside their room and more, the smiles and “awwwws” are plentiful. Meanwhile, an evil museum curator named Rico Sarno (Stephen Lee — War Games, The Negotiator, Burlesque) is out to get the tiny dinos back, leading to even more laughs, and some action in the process. What’s interesting here is that plot point involving Sarno trying to get the little dinosaurs is somewhat similar to one of the plot points of Jurassic Park, which actually came out after this movie. So to that end, it makes that plot point even more interesting when added to the whole of the story. Of course, the whole thing has a happy ending, though the ending is left somewhat up in the air. Not too much will be given away here, but the story is left rather open-ended in its very last scene. The result is that audiences will be left feeling uncomfortable because it does not leave viewers with that full sense of closure that a finale needs. Director Charles Band and star Austin O’Brien talk about this and much more in the bonus audio commentary, which, as one of the movie’s bonus features, adds its own interest to the movie’s presentation.
Getting back to the movie’s story, there are some plot holes, not the least of which being the issue of how the dinos survived in the Taylor’s house for such a long time if they in fact needed a very hot, humid climate in order to survive – according to Vicki (Colleen Morris) late in the movie. In retrospect, it leaves one scratching one’s head even more. Even with that and other plot issues in mind, the movie is still a fun flick that the whole family will enjoy taking in every now and then.
While the story, even with its plot holes and other issues, does plenty to make this little-known family flick well worth at least one watch, it is only part of the movie’s success in its recent re-issue. The bonus material included in the movie’s new home release adds even more interest to the presentation. The bonus commentary, noted above, offers just as much entertainment as the story at the movie’s center. Throughout the movie, director Charles Band and lead star Austin O’Brien share plenty of insight and entertainment. O’Brien reveals that one of the scenes involving the family truck was so hot that ice had to be put into the truck bed for “Ruby” to sit on so that the dog could stay cool. That was because the movie was shot largely in Los Angeles. Another interesting tidbit to learn is that the very first appearance of the dinosaurs was shot on a stage placed five feet above the ground. That was so as to allow all of the puppeteers to do their jobs controlling the dinosaurs from below. Staying on that same note, Band also reveals during that noted sequence that he is – even in August, 2018 – against studios’ use of CG. This is a rare view from film makers today, even despite the cost. As noted above, the duo also takes on the movie’s rather odd, uncomfortable ending, actually pointing out how bad that final scene was. Again, that final scene won’t be revealed here, but it really does ruin the otherwise happy closure offered just before that scene. It’s just one more interesting note shared throughout the course of the movie’s 83-minute run time. There is also a note from O’Brien himself that prior to the movie, he himself was unfamiliar with Elvis and Elvis’ career, so he had to do a lot of cramming in order to get familiar with Elvis for the movie. Band also notes, surprisingly, that prior to watching the movie with O’Brien back in August of this year for the commentary, that he had not actually watched Prehysteria in full since its debut. That is kind of odd, considering the movie’s cult following. One would have thought he would have had more pride in the movie. That aside, that revelation, the others noted here and so much more offers plenty for audiences to appreciate. Keeping this in mind, the audio commentary is just one of the bonuses worth discussing here. The bonus “Videozone” featurette offers its own interest to the movie’s presentation.
The “Videozone” featurette included in the movie’s re-issue is important to discuss because it is, for all intents and purposes, a “making of” featuerette. Audiences get in this featurette a vintage look back in time at the original cast interviews that are in themselves eye-opening. There are notes about which cast members did and did not have that much fun making the movie. Band also offers his own thoughts in the vintage interviews alongside his father and Prehysteria co-director Albert Band that gives even more insight into the movie’s creation. As if these interviews are not enough, audiences are also treated to a companion feature that shows how the dinosaurs were created, using wires and special modeling clay. The whole of the features here shows even more, the importance of the movie’s bonus material. Between everything offered throughout the “Videozone” featurette and the bonus feature-length commentary, the bonus material included in this re-issue makes the movie so much more entertaining and in turn worth the money spent. Speaking of money, the movie’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.
The average price point for Prehysteria’s re-issue is $27.15. That price is determined using prices from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and MVD Entertainment’s online store. MVD is included as it is the company handling the movie’s distribution. On the surface, some might say that this price is a little high. However, taking into consideration everything noted in this review, and that the bonus commentary and “Videozone” featurette are included not just on Blu-ray, but also on DVD, that price actually becomes quite affordable. It is actually on par with prices for movies that are far more well-known and released in their own BD/DVD combo packs. In other words, audiences will not break the bank at such a cost. Keeping this in mind, along with the entertainment and insight offered through the movie and its bonus material, and that dual availability through the packaging, this presentation proves to be one that proves well worth the money and being added to any family’s movie library.
Full Moon Features/Moon Beam Pictures’ recent re-issue of Prehysteria is an enjoyable presentation for families seeing it for the first time and for those seeing it for the first time again. As has been discussed here, that is due in part to a story that even despite its plot holes, is still fun and endearing. In turn, it is sure to keep the whole family entertained from start to finish. The bonus material included in the movie’s new re-issue adds to that enjoyment. When the main feature and secondary material is taken collectively into consideration, they make the average price point of just under $30 well-spent. Keeping that in mind, the package in whole proves to be a positive presentation that the whole family will enjoy. It is available now. More information on this and other titles being distributed via MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:
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