The second film in our Crap Film Club series Cowgirls vs Pterodactyls is a wild ride through an alternative wild west, where dinosaurs still exist and, unlike our first film who’s review you can view here, this one has a lot more heart and isn’t all that bad.
What is Cowgirls vs Pterodactyls about you ask? Well, after her husband is taken by a malicious pterodactyl, a schoolteacher enlists the help of a prostitute and a gunslinger to rescue him. From there they are joined by an escaped outlaw. Then (when they find they forgot to bring any food or water on their trip) they are saved by the prostitute’s colleagues, who join the group on their adventure to save the schoolteacher's husband and kill all the pterodactyls.
Now, if this sounds like a very silly film that’s because it is. It’s made even more silly by the acting, which is awful. In fact it was so bad that in a couple of scenes we all collective said out loud, “Is this porn? Have we been duped into watching smut?” I can report that no this is not that kind of film, and unlike the last film we reviewed I got the sense that everyone was putting their heart and soul into every line of ridiculous dialogue. That goes for all the side characters as well! No mater how small the role, everyone in this film was giving it their all and that lends a certain charm to it. Like watch a primary school play. The acting is bad, awful even, but endearing and it currently helps the film be less painful to watch.
The film's pacing is somewhere between excitable child and drugged up squirrel, that’s to say it goes a mile-a-minute. Locations seem to change between shots and the time-of-day changes even faster then that, couple that with the acting as mentioned above and it can be hard to follow what’s going on at times.
But let’s talk about the best bit of the film and why I low-key love this film. For the pterodactyls the production decided not to go with bad CGI, but instead stop motion and puppetry. When the stop motion is the only thing on screen it’s not half bad and at times it’s quite impressive, especially considering it was all done by a single person. And although the puppets aren’t as good and have a very "paper mache" look to them, the fact that the production team took the time and effort to make them shows that there was a lot of care and effort put into this production. On the other hand, when the stop-motion or the puppets have the share the screen with the actors, that’s when it starts to fall apart as the compositing is - to put it bluntly - terrible. People will clip through or behind the pterodactyls and the pterodactyls themselves change size from shot to shot and scene to scene. Sometimes they tower over our protagonists, and others they're no bigger than a very big dog.
In conclusion, the film Cowgirls vs Pterodactyls is a poorly paced, badly acted mess, but with a charming streak that’s hard to ignore. With the addition of some bad-to-middling stop motion and puppetry, the film overall is an enjoyable and wild ride through an alternative wild west. I encourage everyone to seek it out and watch it for yourselves as you won’t be disappointed with this very clear passion project.
Rating: Not as bad as it sounds/10
Come join the Wayfarers for our next Crap Film Club night on the 22nd May, 8pm BST, where we'll be watching Spaghetti Man.