Dinosaur

“Some things start out big, and some things start out small, very small. But sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest changes of all.”

Disney does not have the best track record with dinosaur movies (e.g. The Good Dinosaur), but the special effects, sound and James Newton Howard’s musical score do impress. Dinosaur was the first computer-animated film of Disney’s animation studio (non-Pixar)…it was an expensive one too estimated at 200 million at the time.

The talent is there with directors Eric Leighton (The Nightmare Before Christmas) and Ralph Zondag (The Land Before Time), but the 82-minute screenplay, which surpassed a double-digit amount of writers, missed the mark. This story never really engages or packs an emotional punch as questionable actions (leaving the nesting grounds?) never really let audiences full grasp this pre-historic plot, which is too similar to Disney’s 1994 animated blockbuster The Lion King.

D.B. Sweeney voices an Iguanodon named Aladar who leads a dinosaur migration then, ultimately, survival. Max Casella voices Aladar’s best friend Zini while Alfre Woodard and Ossie Davis play the parental lemure characters Plio and Yar.

Hayden Panettiere voices the lemur Suri while Della Reese and Joan Plowright plays the Styracosaurus named Eema and Brachiosaurus named Baylene. The ankylosaur Url detracts from movie and is more annoying than amusing with dog-like behaviors and distracting antics.

Samuel E. Wright (Sebastian from The Little Mermaid) voices the Iguanodon named Krom while Julianna Margulies (TV’s ER) voices Neera, Kron’s sister and Aladar’s love interest.

The survival scenarios needed more creative, inventive directions and resolutions as the Carnotaur vs. Iguandon showdown is a well below average climax. The plot needed less stress on the creatures’ dialogue (and even eliminate it) and let the visuals speak for themselves. The impressive visuals (though a bit drab at times) are not enough to overcome the underwhelming story that does not match the epic scenarios and fascinating creatures. Not recommended (* out of four stars) and rated PG for intense images.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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