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Battle Lizard

A film-in-progress imagines a future in which cowboys ride dinosaurs

smithsonian.com

Are you excited for Battle Lizard?

Remember “Dino-Riders”? The super-cheesy cartoon—with oodles of toy tie-ins, of course—about aliens which battled each other on the backs of laser-mounted dinosaurs? The show went off the air long ago, but now a Kickstarter film project has revived the notion of dinosaurs as weapons of futuristic war. The project is called Battle Lizard.

Details about the film are scant. According to the short’s Kickstarter page, Battle Lizard is set in “a time-twisted post-apocalypse, where a cavalry soldier (played by Gil Darnell) tries to lure his steed out of hiding so they can confront their fate together. And by ‘steed,’ we mean dinosaur.” The video shows off some of the completed shots, although the project is still trying to raise funds for the special effects work required to bring the dinosaur to life.

The concept sounds like fun, although I’m not especially enamored of the dinosaurian steed’s design. Surprise, surprise, the dinosaur’s basic shape is that of a Velociraptor, but with a big nose horn and an array of spikes that make the animal look more like a dragon than a dinosaur. I adore Jurassic Park as much as the next dinosaur-loving cinephile, but with so many strange and wonderful theropods to choose from, yet another augmented dromaeosaur feels a bit bland. And then there’s the meme that just won’t die—dinosaur bunny hands. This may seem like a relatively small complaint, but there’s a big visual difference between a dinosaur that holds its hands in the silly, palm-down position and a more bird-like animal with the proper wrist articulation. It’s the difference between a generic monster and a creature that more closely approaches what dinosaurs were actually like.

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About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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