“Paleontologists have called them the crown of creation.”
Masten Thrust (Richard Boone) owns a multimillion dollar company. For fun he is a big game hunter. His company Thrust Inc. drills for oil under the polar caps using a manned laser drill, called the "Polar Borer". After the last expedition only one man, geologist Chuck Wade (Steven Keats), returns. Wade says during a routine check in the icecaps they surfaced into a valley super-heated by a volcano. He then says everyone was eaten by a T-Rex except him.
Thrust decides to go there himself to find the creature. With him on his expedition are Chuck Wade, Bunta (Luther Rackley) a Maasai tracker, Dr. Kawamoto (Tetsu Nakamura), and Frankie Banks (Joan Van Ark) a photographer. At first Thrust doesn’t want Frankie along, but she convinces him to take her along by sleeping with him.
They take the Polar Borer to get to the valley and come up into a lake. Avoiding prehistoric creatures they set up camp and head out to look for the T-Rex. They leave behind Kawamoto at the camp. While they are away the T-Rex attacks the camp and kills Kawamoto. It then attacks the Polar Borer and throws it into a canyon. When the rest of the team returns to the camp they find it destroyed and Kawamoto gone. The Polar Borer is also gone. Assuming that the borer was sunk the group must now reassess their situation. They are now stuck in a violent land full of dinosaurs. Among the dangers are a prehistoric people who continue to plague the group. With no known way to get back to civilization they need to make a stand in order to survive.
“The Last Dinosaur” was released in 1977 and was directed by Alexander Grasshoff and Shusei Kotani. This bizarre little movie was a Japanese and US venture. It was produced by Rankin/Bass (you know, the guys that made “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “The Year Without a Santa Claus”) and Tsuburaya Productions and was distributed by TOHO. The English version was 92 minutes long and the Japanese version 106 minutes long. The T-Rex special effect for the movie was primarily a guy in a rubber suit. The "ceratopsian", which is actually a Uintatherium, as well as the Triceratops, were done through the "two guys in a horse-suit" technique. The T-Rex is supposed to be 20 feet high and 40 feet long. The scale of it changes from scene to scene, the forced perspective being inconsistent. Godzilla’s roar is sometimes used for the roar of the T-Rex.
The song “The Last Dinosaur” in the opening and closing credits was sung by Nancy Wilson. Although the movie was made primarily for older children the attitude of Richard Boone’s character is your basic sexist pig. A lot of people liked his gruff, boisterous almost bully behavior. I found it more than a little annoying but I suppose it was necessary. The title referencing the last dinosaur is also referring to his character as well as the T-Rex. I was rooting for the dinosaur. The movie is not great by any means but it is fun. It’s meant for kids. I mean young kids and old kids that remember the movie from when they were young kids. Or for anyone who likes dinosaur movies and, like me, don’t care how crappy they look as long as there are lots of them.