Review this movie
MichelleP.Jan 3, 2003One word: Beautiful.
Apr 25, 2015While watching Disney's Dinosaur, with all of its incredibly rendered creatures and seamless blending of animated objects with real backgrounds, a question occurred to me: In movies like this, can the writing keep pace with the technology? Films like Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (released by Disney, but produced by Pixar) confirmed that dazzling computer animation does not have to overshadowWhile watching Disney's Dinosaur, with all of its incredibly rendered creatures and seamless blending of animated objects with real backgrounds, a question occurred to me: In movies like this, can the writing keep pace with the technology? Films like Toy Story and Toy Story 2 (released by Disney, but produced by Pixar) confirmed that dazzling computer animation does not have to overshadow the screenplay. Unfortunately, Dinosaur (done entirely in-house at Disney) argues the opposite. As stunning as this movie is from a visual point-of-view, it boasts little else of great interest. Like so many big summer extravaganzas, this is a classic example of the triumph of style over substance.
Of course, since Dinosaur is a Disney animated effort and is geared primarily towards a younger audience, one has to make certain allowances. And kids will love the film. Although old and young alike will be awed by the spectacle of dinosaurs coming to life, the adventure, romance, and moralizing are all aimed squarely at the under-10 crowd. Children will enjoy Dinosaur as a fairly typical Disney-generated experience. Adults will appreciate it on another level, marveling at what cutting-edge special effects can accomplish while paying little or no attention to the rudimentary story and bland characterization.
There's not much to the plot. It's essentially a prehistoric road movie with a little Tarzan thrown in for good measure (once again, Disney recycles themes and ideas). Aladar (voiced by D.B. Sweeney) is a dinosaur who has been raised by a family of pre-monkey mammals. His mother (voice of Alfre Woodard), grandfather (Ossie Davis), and siblings are all cute, furry creatures that make the Ewoks look like grotesque monsters. Disney couldn't possibly have further ratcheted up the cuteness level. At any rate, after a good portion of the surrounding terrain is devastated by a meteor strike (not the Big One, apparently, since there's no lasting nuclear winter), Aladar and his mammal friends join a herd of dinosaurs who are on their way to The Nesting Ground (dino-speak for Eden). The journey is arduous, with danger coming from climate changes (water is difficult to locate), roving predators, and in-fighting among the dinosaurs. In the end, it's up to Aladar to prove his mettle and be a hero.
While the dinosaurs look great, their appearance is not necessarily an attempt to represent reality. The animators have taken liberties, making the creatures viewer friendly. The "good dinosaurs" seem clean-cut and streamlined. Their colors and overall look is pleasing to the eye. Only the "bad dinosaurs" appear ugly, with knobs, spikes, and bumps marring the smoothness of their hide. Comparisons to the BBC television series Walking With Dinosaurs are inevitable, since both that program and this movie employed the latest computer-generated animation to create life-like dinosaurs. While the work for Dinosaur is more vibrant and colorful, Walking With Dinosaurs gets the nod for realism. (It's also worth noting that the mini-stories told during the course of the TV series were in many ways more compelling than the plot of this movie.)
Dinosaur contains two sequences of eye-popping majesty. The first is the ten-minute opening, which shows various facets of everyday dinosaur life: herbivores munching on plants and wading through water, small carnivores snapping at each other, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex bursting from its hiding place and finding prey. Subsequently, an egg is stolen from a nest, then makes a long journey by land, sea, and air to the island of the mammals, where it hatches. The flying scene, which depicts landscapes dotted with herds of dinosaurs, is especially impressive. The second sequence occurs when the planet is bombarded by hundreds of small meteors and one large one. Although images of destruction are sanitized to avoid traumatizing some viewers, younger children may become frightened.
Co-directors Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag have crafted a film that will be an unqualified success with their primary target group. Children, more interested in fast-moving action than in a story with characters, will adore every moment of Dinosaur's relatively short, 84-minute running time. Adults may be more restrained in their praise, but, even though the traditional aspects of cinema are lacking, it's hard not to be impressed by the package as a whole. Dinosaur is worth seeing. And seeing, as they say, is believing.… Expand
Apr 7, 2016"Dinosaur" is an eye-popping visual spectacle that serves up a vivid picture of what the planet might have looked like when reptiles ruled the Earth.
To modern audiences for which technological achievements usually count for far more than artistic ones and special effects coolness very often reps the most valuable possible B.O. component, “Dinosaur” definitely has what it takes. The"Dinosaur" is an eye-popping visual spectacle that serves up a vivid picture of what the planet might have looked like when reptiles ruled the Earth.
To modern audiences for which technological achievements usually count for far more than artistic ones and special effects coolness very often reps the most valuable possible B.O. component, “Dinosaur” definitely has what it takes. The startling visions of the first few minutes alone a ferocious toothsome attack and a flight over huge herds of dinosaurs inhabiting magnificent actual landscapes are enough to thrill any viewer as well as to serve notice that there’s never been anything quite like this before.
The visual splendors continue, to be sure, across the pacy 75 minutes of story time (seven minutes of credits follow). But it’s also the case that, somewhere around half-way through, you begin to get used to the film’s pictorial wondrousness to take it for granted, even and start to realize that the characters and story are exceedingly mundane, unsurprising and pre-programmed. Directors Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton seem afraid to show anything that will be the least bit disturbing or upsetting to anybody. Sure, 5 year olds will be momentarily frightened by the sight and sound of giant lizards roaring at them, but this is a dinosaur picture that’s petrified of showing death, for God’s sake , that shies away from all the grand elements that could have given it true stature and resonance: Majesty, terror, grandeur, tragedy and savage instincts in their most primitive state. Pic’s sensibility is closer to a “Sesame Street” lesson in caring and cooperation than to any monster favorite one could think of , from the original “The Lost World” and “King Kong” to “Jurassic Park” and even Disney’s own “The Rite of Spring” episode in “Fantasia.”
The great leap forward here lies in the incomparably “photorealistic” placement of computer generated creatures within real-world settings. Per the press materials, finished film includes more than 1,300 individual effects shots , and special attention was paid to such difficult-to-achieve illusions as detailed animal muscle movement, physical contact with water and dust, credible shadows and dinosaur p.o.v. shots. All the effort in these areas has paid off magnificently, to the extent that it’s safe to say that the bar has again been raised in this realm of CGI and effects-based pictures.
Would that one-tenth as much time and energy gone into developing more musculature and a few additional wrinkles for the storyline. Having begun life in 1988 as a script by Walon Green for Paul Verhoeven to direct as a live-action feature with effects by Phil Tippett (one need only think of “Starship Troopers” to imagine what that might have been like), screenplay as ultimately worked out by John Harrison and Robert Nelson Jacobs feels cobbled together with elements from the likes of “Tarzan,” “The Lion King” and, of all things, “Red River.” Result is synthetic rather than elemental, and with a pre-digested taste.
The various creatures are brilliantly rendered; they interact credibly with one another and are integrated seamlessly into the backdrops. But as realistic and expressive as they are, they don’t engage the emotions any more directly than have many more cartoonishly rendered animated characters in the past.
In a film in which the foreground technological wonders will be so widely noted, the superlatively chosen backgrounds should be mentioned; fantastic locations in California, Australia, Hawaii, Florida, Venezuela and Western Samoa have been combined to fashion the world of the late Cretaceous Period. James Newton Howard’s orchestral score is unusually good, and the sound work is expert.… Expand