Carry on Disney
My first memory of watching "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" was in the early 90s as a twenty something and I was bored out of my brains. Having not bothered to watch it again I decided to revisit this Disney family movie from the 70s in the hope of being more grown up it might appeal more but sadly I was bored more than ever. Now whilst I am not alone in being bored by this Disney movie there are plenty who adore it and it seems that those who watched it as a child have that nostalgic innocence when watching it again, and there is nothing wrong with that as I have the same with "Pete's Dragon". But for me "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" is weak, lacking the magic and comedy of Disney at its best and feeling more akin to being a "Carry On" movie.
Having escaped from China Lord Southmere (Derek Nimmo) finds himself with a group of Chinese spies after him because he has the secret formula for "Lotus X". Avoiding being captured on his return to London he is chased into the National History Museum where he hides the formula on a dinosaur skeleton before telling his former nanny, who happens to be there with other nannies as to what he did. After Southmere is finally captured by the pursuing Chinese men lead by Hnup Wan (Peter Ustinov) his former nanny Hettie (Helen Hayes - Airport) rounds up her fellow nannies to not only try and help Southmere to escape but also find the much wanted formula before it falls into the wrong hands an escapade which sees them driving a stolen dinosaur skeleton around the fog filled streets of London.
So there is something when watching "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" now that you cannot ignore and that it is seriously dated when it comes to having white actors pretending to be Chinese especially as a lot of humour comes from mockery. Now this is not an apology for how things were as whilst this is a movie which in this day and age is insulting was full of typical comedy on its release and to criticize it for having the likes of Peter Ustinov and Bernard Bresslaw acting like comedy Chinese men would be wrong. Saying that it is uncomfortable to watch now at how free it was in basically making fun of the Chinese, not in a vindictive manner but still in an uncomfortable way.
Anyway as to the actual movie, well to be honest "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" is one of the weakest Disney movies I have watched and whilst the humour feels like something out of a sanitized "Carry On" movie it seems like a one gag movie. That gag is the big production piece of having a dinosaur skeleton driven around the foggy London streets, something which I am sure would have amused me if I had watched this at the age of 7 but has always seemed quite dull. There are other gags from the outcome of this to the nannies climbing all over the dinosaur in search of the hidden formula but it is surprisingly weak and most certainly not a magical comedy.
In the end the most entertaining things get is when ever Helen Hayes is on screen because she is perfect as Nanny Hettie who has taken care of many children and remembers them all. But beyond that it becomes a case of a lot of actors under used with more fun coming from spotting the actors in minor roles such as John Bardon as a bookmaker and Percy Herbert as Mr. Gibbons.
What this all boils down to is that "One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing" just failed to entertain and it became a 100 minutes of lame humour and weak story. I am sure if I had watched it as a young child my opinion would be very different but unlike some Disney movies which still entertain as an adult this one doesn't.