Dinosaurs are a staple subject matter in Hollywood, as nothing spices up a slow summer movie season than parading some large-scale reptiles on the silver screen. It's a tradition that goes back to the days of stop-motion animation by Ray Harryhausen and guys in lizard suits duking it out over Tokyo back-lots during the Godzilla matinees.
The nineties introduced audiences to the first batch of truly realistic looking computer generated Dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" series, and for the first summer of the 21st century, Walt Disney has taken up the helm with their family based film, simply called "Dinosaur".
Whether you're a "Dinosaur" fan or not, the opening sequence of this film will leave you in awe. It starts as a fantastic flyby through a prehistoric "Dinosaur" utopia, and follows the journey of a single Iguanodon Dinosaur egg that is tossed around until it finally lands in a camp of Lemurs. The Lemurs are small monkey-like beasties and act as the first talking characters in the film.
At its core "Dinosaur" is a traditional Disney movie that espouses the family values set down by uncle Walt so long ago. The story centers around Aladar, whose voice is provided by D.B.Sweeny, as the fully grown "Dinosaur" that hatched from the egg in the first scene, and his struggle to help get his adopted family of Lemurs to the fabled final "nesting grounds". Through their struggles we learn once more that only by sticking together, and helping each other out, will they all make it to the finish line.
Thankfully, only a predictable prescription of sugar sweet goodness in the plotline, is the only aspect of "Dinosaur" that follows the worn out Disney formula and the movie escapes the embarrassment of having inappropriate musical numbers sprinkled throughout it.
"Dinosaur" is a special effects masterpiece. The marriage of computer generated Dinosaurs against real-world locations is amazing. The settings in "Dinosaur" were shot on location using the magnificent beauty of some of the most striking landscapes on the planet today. From Death Valley to the Hawaiian Island of Kuai, the realism from the present adds a tactile background that helps put you into the prehistoric era.
"Dinosaur" delivers on big screen entertainment that is truly fun for the whole family. Some may recoil at the brief scenes of dino-violence and others may feel their teeth rotting from the scenes dipped in sentimental sweetness, but all of this will be overshadowed by the awesome animation achievement that is "Dinosaur".
© 2002 - Purple - Air Date: 5/17/00
USA - 2000