The Galileo spaceship crashes on the wild and inhospitable surface of a barren planet somewhere in the depths of space. A handful of mismatched survivors – a security officer, the edgy flight commander, a floating circular robot thing and a few faceless randoms – realise that their only possible way of escape is to locate the downed ship’s short-hop shuttle pod. But the group discover - shock! – that the planet’s only inhabitants seem to be dinosaurs who are vicious, hungry and on the prowl.
We’ve seen this sort of stuff once too often in the past of course, but with the latest Jurassic World movie now available to watch in the comfort of your own home it’s inevitable that the cheapjack rip-offs will crawl out of the woodwork in an attempt to fool the gullible into parting with their cash for a few additional Jurassic japes. Jurassic Galaxy (the original title Jurassic Planet more accurately reflects the film) is no better or worse than any other low budget dinosaur movie you may have chanced across in the last few years. The script is rarely better than workmanlike, the dialogue is frequently deathless and the characterisation is paper thin. The ragtag crash survivors rush around shouting at each other, occasionally fighting each other, and getting chomped on by dinosaurs which, fairly typically for a bargain basement budget movie, don’t quite look like they’re really part of the action. The FX are distinctly iffy (a problem for a film whose USP is its dinosaurs) with some seriously ropey compositing never allowing the dinosaurs to look particularly realistic, especially in scenes where they’re in close combat with the human performers. But, in fairness, the cinematography is quite competent, making good use of the bright, dusty location (which one character remarks as looking nothing like anywhere on earth when it quite clearly does) and the odd FX shot digitally augmenting the skyline or the landscape sometimes manages to make the environment look a bit more alien than it might otherwise have appeared.
Jurassic Galaxy tries to broaden its horizons when it becomes obvious that the dinosaurs aren’t going to cut the monstrous mustard by adding a human protagonist; the survivors meet up with Retch (whose name we constantly misheard as Reg which was a little disconcerting), survivor of an earlier crashed expedition who has found his own way to stay alive on the hostile planet and who has somehow devolved into a grunting, monosyllabic savage. Can this mismatched bunch overcome their differences and find their way to the shuttle pod before the ravenous dinosaurs make mincemeat of them all? You’ll find it hard to care, but as the film runs to just seventy-five minutes you probably won’t resent the time spent finding out, even if Jurassic Galaxy is really more of a Jurassic travesty.
JURASSIC GALAXY / CERT: UNRATED / DIRECTOR: JAMES KONDELIK, JON KONDELICK / SCREENPLAY: JACOBY BANCROFT, ERICK PAUL ERICKSON / STARRING: RYAN BUDDS, DOUG BURCH, ERIC PAUL ERICKSON, TAMARA STAYER, MADISON WEST, FRANKIE RAY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW