Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2017)
In 1966, One Million Years BC became a big hit, mainly because a certain segment of the viewing audience loved the sight of Raquel Welch as a scantily-clad cavewoman. This leads us to 1970’s When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, a spiritual sequel in the “sexy prehistoric era” genre.
To satisfy their Sun God, primitive people attempt to sacrifice three blonde women. However, one of them escapes.
Free from her impending doom, Sanna (Victoria Vetri) meets Tara (Robin Hawdon), a member of a rival tribe. Those two explore a relationship while they attempt to survive a mix of threats, both human and dinosaur.
Question: back in the Sixties, did people really think humans and dinosaurs coexisted? From films like this as well as The Flintstones, one gets that impression, but I don’t know if this belief was pervasive.
Whatever the case, the juxtaposition of mankind and dinosaurs means one can’t expect much historical accuracy from Ruled. Just as I love The Flintstones, this lack of realism shouldn’t doom the movie to failure, as it could still entertain without much truth.
Unfortunately, Ruled almost completely flops as a film. It has one thing going for it: lots of hot cavebabes, all of whom frolic in skimpy outfits.
And sometimes less! Though edited for US consumption, the original film came with some nudity, and this cut restores those elements. Though saddled with a terrible blonde wig, Vetri boasted ample physical charms, and we get a reasonably good look at her.
Other than attractive females, however, I can find nothing to like about the meandering, boring Ruled. My synopsis makes it sound as though the film tells an actual narrative, but in truth, it doesn’t.
Instead, we find ourselves stuck with a sluggish, meandering tale that goes nowhere in particular. Like One Million Years BC, Ruled comes with no English dialogue, as it substitutes its own invented “caveman language”. I guess that’s a nod toward “realism”, though it seems pointless given how many other anachronisms exist in the film.
It’s also a distraction, as it prevents meaningful dialogue. Granted, I’m not sure a movie about cavepeople should include “meaningful dialogue”, but I’d still prefer lines of actual English instead of the gibberish spouted here, as that would at least allow for some passable story-telling.
Instead, we find a lot of random nonsense, as the characters go from one boring event to another. This culminates in a natural disaster that involves the slowest-moving tidal wave in the history of cinema.
Oh, boy – that oceanic calamity causes hoots of laughter! The wave builds up steam… and then builds some more… and just keeps building, all while the characters have time to build rafts!
It’s ridiculous, but so is the rest of the film. The characters never become interesting, and the action scenes seem dull and flat.
I do like the stop-motion animation of Ruled, as those elements add charm. I realize audiences won’t accept that form of effects in live-action anymore, but I still appreciate and enjoy the times these creatures appear. They bring warmth and fun to the proceedings.
Too bad nothing else about the movie succeeds. Ruled comes with enjoyable dinosaur animation and some sexy babes – that’s all the potential pleasure you’ll take from this stinker.
We all have movies we thought were amazing when we were 10 but we later realized were borderline unwatchable. For people born in the early 1960s, Ruled is probably that film. It’s a really terrible piece of work that may elicit nostalgic whimsy but that’s about it.