Dinosaur

"Grim"

Dinosaur Review


Leave it to Disney to finally come up with a family-friendly way to explore natural selection. Much like The Lion King's "Circle of Life," Dinosaur regales itself in survival of the fittest, only few people are going to be humming "Hakuna Matata" after this one.

For starters, Dinosaur is that rarest of Disney animation flicks which is not a musical. There's a thumping James Newton Howard score, but the only singing here comes from trumpeting iguanodons and brachiosaurs. The story, on the other hand, is typical Disney kiddie fare: Iguanodon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is orphaned as a wee dino-egg on a remote island, where he is raised, Tarzan-style, by a family of lemurs (er... okay). When a freak meteor strike blows the island away, along with much of the rest of the world, Aladar swims to the mainland with his lemur family on his back, where he meets up with the surviving herbivorous dinosaurs who have banded together to trek to "the nesting grounds," a Waterworld-style vale which hasn't been reduced to desert and ruins like, apparently, the rest of the earth. (And never mind the fallout; there is none...)

Pushed on by embittered leader Kron (Samuel E. Wright), the group struggles across the wastelands, with Aladar quickly becoming the dissenting voice of teamwork, goodwill, and intelligence. Despite his sheltered upbringing, Aladar soon proves to be The Smartest Dinosaur of All Time, managing to save the clan time and time again by magically learning how to dig for water in the desert, how to fight off carnotaurs by banding together as a group, and even advanced tunneling-through-rock techniques. Part warrior, part motivational speaker, Aladar is your dino-Spartacus.

I won't bother to go into the various love-story subplots (involving, quite naturally, Kron's sister Neera (Julianna Margulies)), but suffice it to say there's at least one martyr who takes it for the team, a triumph over evil, incredible odds shattered, and a happy Disney ending. Dinosaur does not go lacking for obviousness.

As for its animation, computer-generated movies took two giant leaps forward with Toy Story and Toy Story 2, yet fall far behind with Dinosaur. While the textures and movements of the dinosaurs look quite realistic, the fur of the lemurs (which appear so prominently, Lemur might have been a better title) look oddly like Muppets on a bad hair day.

Compounding the problems is the weird confluence of genuine landscape photography with digital animation: Imagine animated beasts splashing around in Wild Kingdom streams. This does not convince the audience in the slightest and is disarmingly reminiscent of 1970s TV show Land of the Lost. The effect is so cheesy I was expecting the Sleestaks to show up. This is not Jurassic Park.

Some of the humor is funny, but a lot of the jokes are recycled ("Is he going to gum us to death?"). My personal favorite part of the film is the anklyosaur Url, who plays the dialogue-free part of a panting lap dog. Not highbrow, but humorous.

Kids will probably enjoy the film since it lets them see dinosaurs as heroes of the past. There's not much to think about, and by and large it's all in good fun. In its production notes, Disney acknowledges it took liberties with history by placing lemurs and dinosaurs in the same era. However, its bigger liberty is not mentioned at all: Dinosaurs could not speak English. Oh well.

To the Land... of the Loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooost!



Dinosaur

Facts and Figures

Run time: 82 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th May 2000

Box Office USA: $135.6M

Box Office Worldwide: $354.2M

Budget: $127.5M

Distributed by: Buena Vista

Production compaines: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 79 Rotten: 43

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eric Leighton, Ralph Zondag

Producer:

Starring: D.B. Sweeney as Aladar, as Plio, as Yar, as Zini, as Suri, as Kron, as Neera, as Bruton, as Baylene, as Eema

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.