My opinion right after watching film
My opinion right after watching this film is that it is not really bad, but it is boring, dull, and kind of heartless. I cannot engage with the characters, the plot is a bit thin, and the animation does not really stand out, as it has a lot of dull browns and grays. I will say that it has a strong score.
The studio have been contemplating making a computer involved Dinosaur film for over a decade in 1988, but it did not go into production until the mid 1990s. The film was supposed to be much darker and violent, with the film ending with the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event, but it was too dark for the company, and it was ultimately rewritten.
The film was supposed to have no dialogue in it to distinguish from The Land Before Time (which was also not supposed to have any talking outside of the narrator), but in both situations, the dinosaurs were forced to talk. Michael Eisner demanded the change to make the film more commercially viable. I swear this happens to every animated dinosaur movie. This would be the start of the very prominent and huge Anti-Michael Eisner campaign that would run throughout the first half of the 2000s, and until he was booted from the studio.
The only animated part of the film are the characters, and I honestly do not think this belongs in the canon, because it has live action backgrounds, and everything else is live action. This film was not initially in the canon for that reason, but ti was added in 2008, so Tangled would be the 50th feature film.
The film starts with an Iguanodon mother tending to her kids, but when a Carnoturus attacks, the egg gets left behind with everyone else running away, or running away to only be killed by the Carnotaurus. The egg is taken by a few animals, and gets passed along until it is found by a lemur family. The first 5 minutes makes us think that we are gonna get a big and timeless tale…….which does not happen.
So the lemur Pilo (Alfre Woodard) picks up the egg, and breaks it to reveal the baby that is known as Aldar (D. B. Sweeney), and asks her husband Yar (Ossie Davis) if they can keep him, but he initially says no because dinosaurs eat lemurs, but eventually agrees after he fails to throw Aldar off the tree to his death.
It is mating time, and his
corny, annoying, horny best friend Zini (Max Casella) is trying to win the ladies with his corny, painful, stupid, illogical (for the time) modern pick up lines. Because of this, all of the lemurs hook up and get down and dirty but him, which we are supposed to feel sorry for, but……I do not. You need to be humble and not over the top to get other`s affection. Soon enough, an asteroid crashes into a lake, which causes the destruction of the land and home that they know, and they are forced to migrate. It would have been SO nice if this was the asteroid that made Dinosaurs extinct, so I would not have to suffer through the rest of this film.
So Aladar carries his entire family through the water to get to the closest land available, as their home catches flame. The next morning, they are endlessly walking through unknown land, and are chased by Velociraptors, which causes them to join a herd that is gong to the `nesting Ground`. This composes of a bunch of dinosaurs (too many to name), and it is run by Kron (Samuel E. Wright) and his left hand man Bruton (Peter Siragusa). Him and his family are talking to some elder dinosaurs that is slowing the herd down; named Baylene (Joan Plowright) and Eema (Della Reese), which causes the leaders to approach them.
So Kron`s sister Neera (Julianna Marguiles) was initially charmed
somehow by Aladar, but when his friend (who I already forgot the name of) starts growling to get her attention, and calling himself the “Love Monkey”, it causes her to call him a Jerkosaurus. I already mentioned above how these modern catchphrases ruin the film. Also, the voice acting is often uninspired, and completely takes out the realistic, epic feeling they are trying to get out in this film.
The long walk is taking its toll on the herd, and Neera is telling her brother that they are going to lose half of the herd if they continue going, with Kron responding that they will save the half that deserves to live (since this is about survival and nothing else), so they stop from the break they were on, and continue to move. Aladar realizes that they are leaving without him, his family, and the elder dinosaurs that are slowing down, and as he pushes them to catch up to the herd, he unintentionally finds water.
Bruton warns Kron that there are other dinosaurs that are about to attack, which Kron reacts by telling him to lead the herd out. The entire herd quickly follows orders, but Aladar tells them that they need to slow down, so the elders can keep up. This causes an altercation between him and Kron (who hates that he is growing closer with Neera), and for him to push Aldar and to threaten to kill him the next time he interrupts Kron’s leadership. Neera tells him to save the others while she will be fine with her brother.
This causes the elders and his family to hide in a cave (waiting for the rainfall to end), and meets up with an injured Bruton. I do not recall him getting injured. Can anyone tell me when he got injured? He seemed fine when he warned Kron. Anyways, he does not warm up to Aladar at first, but when the same dinosaurs attack them in the cave, Bruton sacrifices himself to be killed, so they can escape.
Aladar makes it to the other side to tell the herd that there is another way, and that they will not be able to cross over the wall. Kron is about to have the children climb up the wall to prove that they are all weak if little children can climb it, but it does not work. He does not like that his leadership is being challenged, so he attacks Aladar. As the fight is gong on, he is getting closer and closer to killing him, but his sister pushes him off to save Aladar. They all go with Aladar to follow the path he took to get to the Nesting Grounds, but Kron refuses and goes up the wall. Another Carnotaurus arrives to attack the group, which causes all of the dinosaurs to band together. It sees Kron by himself, so he ravages him, but Aldar saves Kron by pushing the Carnotaurus off a cliff, but it is too late; Kron dies only moments later.
Yawn…….. I will only describe them in 5 words at the maximum. I still barely remember their names.
Since the backgrounds are live action imagery, I cannot comment on that. This means that only the special effects and the character designs are animated in CGI. What I will say is this; the dinosaur designs are extremely realistic ad detailed. The issue is that the texture is really bad. It does not really look like skin, but it looks like rubber. You can really tell that the film is not as vivid as you want it to be, which is shown when the CGI characters move around in the live action backgrounds. Also, this film was released 14 years ago, and we all know that CGI ages quickly, so I am used to seeing a lot better CGI.
What I will say is that the score is pretty good. It gives us the adventurous journey feeling when the characters go on their long journey to find water, and when the scenes get epic, the music really helps add to the epic-ness of the scene. It is not the most memorable, but it does well. There are absolutely no songs in the film though.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on May 19th, 2000, it was a box office success. It ended up being the 5th highest-grossing film of 2000, and it opened at #1, making $38,854,851 on open weekend. Overall, it made $137,748,063 domestically, and a worldwide amount of $349,822,765.
When it comes to reviews……..let’s just say that it got favorable reviews at best. Many called it out for its overall predictability, generic and dull plot and characters, the animation blended with the live action backgrounds was worth the watch
no it was not. Many biologists called out the film for being misleading with what animals were co-existing,as lemurs and dinosaurs did not co-exist. Many also criticized the film for making the dinosaurs talk, as it breaks the realistic illusion it is trying to give off.
Today, it is forgotten by most audiences, and the ones that do remember it think it is one of the blandest, weakest efforts from WDAS, and it only started the downward spiral of the Post-Renaissance era. It has a theme park ride, but that is it.
= 23/40 = 58%
10 thoughts on “Walt Disney Animation Studios Review: Dinosaur”
Yeah, to sum up the movie in one word: dull. Not a movie I’d watch over and over, unless I had a choice between this movie or Home on the Range and Chicken Little. Then it becomes a tough choice, wouldn’t you agree?
I just know you’re going to disagree with me on this, but I’d rather watch Atlantis (a movie I know you despise) over this one. At least that movie doesn’t bore me.
I believe you put Emperor’s New Groove in your overrated list. I imagine your production segment will be huge on that post, given that movie’s complicated history. It’s explained a bit here: http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID115140.asp
The Sweatbox documentary has behind the scenes footage of its troubled history. If you can possibly find it and watch it, I’d only watch the first 30-40 minutes. In my opinion, that’s where the real juicy stuff is
Also, one of the intended songs for the move, Snuff Out the Light, is, in my opinion, a very fun song. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1pYGvplG5Q
Good review and can’t wait for the next one! Keep it up!
I will never watch this film again, and I would honestly watch Home on the Range or Chicken Little over this. And yes, I would watch Atlantis over this film as well, but I still dislike all 4 films.
I totally forgot that I put Emperors on the Overrated list (it has been a year. I forgot), but from what I remember writing about my Emperor’s review, it does make sense as to why I thought that.
I have not watched the documentary, but I have heard that it is interesting. I have listened to the song, and it is a shame that they did not add it in the film. It adds more character to Yzma. Thanks for the links.
I think the worst thing a movie can be is dull. I rather take a creative mess than this terrible thing, which is easily my least favourite piece in the Disney Canon.
I don’t even want to consider it canon, but being dull is definitely one of the worst things that a movie can be called. I wrote this a few months ago, and after reading it now (I REALLY need to fix some errors), I do not even recall half of the plot. Just ugh.