Urban Cinefile
"I've shocked myself, I didn't think I had it in me "  -Michael Clarke Duncan on his role in The Green Mile
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday, October 15, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

DINOSAUR

SYNOPSIS:
About 65 million years ago, during the late Cretaceous Period, Aladar, a vegetarian Iguanodon, is separated from his own species at birth (?) and raised by a clan of small, furry Lemurs. When a devastating meteor shower plunges their world into chaos, Aladar and his Lemur family are forced to seek safety from the natural dangers and vicious, carnivorous (carnotaurs).

"A simple enough story - simple enough for even little kiddies - is coupled with some potentially terrifying scenes (which may scare the same little kiddies), in a dinosaur story which portrays them with all the humanistic virtues - and some of the vices. They speak, they joke, they have empathy and sympathy, they are in all respects human - except for their shapes and sizes. And except the carnotaurs, who just roar hungrily. Schmaltz is thicker than dinosaur skin here, but that's a Disney trademark, and Dinosaur is not intended as a Jurassic Park outing. It begins with a Tarzan-parallel, and veers off to a Lion King-like tail. The film is leaps and bounds ahead in its technical rendering of the creatures, with photorealistic animation integrated into exceptional live action footage to create a truly magical world; as it might have been. The stunning opening sequences, with soaring, bird's eye view of exotic landscapes accompanied by James Newton Howard's dramatically inspired dinoscore, is my favourite part of the film, a truly awesome achievement. The fur (individual hairs are manipulated) the dino-skin effects are most impressive. Note: this is not a great date movie. Unless you've started dating very young, in which case it's excellent for several opportunities to hug your miniature partner for reassurance."
Andrew L. Urban

"The dinosaur must be one of the most misunderstood creatures until now, that is. Disney humanises this fantastic beast that has captured the imagination of scientists and filmmakers alike in an extraordinary marriage of live action and animation. Just as Tarzan recounts the circle of life, Dinosaur reinforces survival of the fittest, illustrating that hope and goodness overshadows evil anyday. The story is simple and sincere the emotional trip greatly enhanced by James Newton Howard's rousing score, whose haunting themes reinforce the thumping dinosaur step. There's a lot to absorb from the educational to the remarkable CGI achievements. The opening sequence on the wings of a bird-in-flight brings the enormity of the project into view, and is probably the defining moment and highlight of the film. From the very beginning, when an adorable little dinosaur baby is hatched, we fall in love with Aladar, the hero of the piece, whose journey we follow wholeheartedly. The lemurs will be favourites for many: they are as cute as can be, injecting a wicked sense of fun, life and humour throughout. Where else but in Dinosaur land would our hero describe his dream-mate as having 'scaly skin, yellow eyes and thick ankles'? But it's not love at first sight for the lady dinosaur (she of the Kate Hepburn-high cheekbones and luminous blue-green skin), who initially calls Aladar a 'jerkasaurus'. Theirs is a relationship that takes time to develop through a journey filled with adversity, where courage and the will never to give up is the key. There are more than 30 different species of pre-historic creatures represented ranging in size from a 12 inch lizard to the 120 foot long, 100 ton Brachiosaur. Anyone remotely interested in dinosaurs or special effects will be fascinated needless to say the research and detail used was painstaking. Visually sensational, Dinosaur is a delightful adventure the whole family can enjoy together."
Louise Keller

"The old distinction between 'animated' and 'live-action' cinema is now seriously outdated. Neither term properly describes Dinosaur, a wholly computer-generated film that does its best to mimic photorealism. Of course, these dinosaurs don't literally look real - their skin textures are too glossy, their movements too fluid, their expressions and gestures are blatantly humanised. But then, you could say the same about the computer-generated beings in supposedly live-action films like Starship Troopers, Mars Attacks, Stuart Little and Flubber. And who knows what 'real' giant bugs, Martians, talking mice or dancing balls of goo are supposed to look like anyway? Digital effects allow filmmakers to create new, seamlessly artificial breeds of characters, with no necessary link to an outside world. Bizarrely, Dinosaur turns this opportunity on its head, trying to offer us a kind of simulated accuracy and truth. What's stunning about this endeavour is its sheer pointlessness and lack of imagination. Yes, the animation is technically impressive, but so what? Why bother pretending that we're watching 'real' dinosaurs in the first place? For all its vaunted authenticity, the film never seriously ponders what it might feel like to be a dinosaur: the epic pretensions of the narrative (monumental landscapes, a bombastic orchestral score) are undercut every time the characters open their mouths and wisecrack like kids in bad family sitcoms. It's a genuine problem - how do dinosaurs talk? But compared, say, to the inventively whimsical language in the Babe films, Dinosaur's only good moments come when the ultra-lame script induces a kind of surrealism. Banal dialogue sounds much, much weirder when spoken by realistically rendered twenty-tonne reptiles. 'Whoa, didja see that?' 'Sheesh - is that guy ugly or what?' 'Things are so different now. I don't know what to think any more.'"
Jake Wilson

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

TRAILER

See Andrew L. Urban's
FEATURE

See Brad Green's SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

DINOSAUR (PG)
(US)

VOICES: D.B. Sweeney, Julianna Margulies, Joan Plowright, Alfre Woodard, Ossie Davis, Samuel E. Wright, Della Reese

DIRECTOR: Eric Leighton, Ralph Zondag

PRODUCER: Pam Marsden, Baker Bloodworth

SCRIPT: John Harrison, Robert Nelson Jacobs

CINEMATOGRAPHER: S. Douglas Smith

EDITOR: H. Lee Peterson

MUSIC: James Newton Howard

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Walter P. Martishius

RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Buena Vista International

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 15, 2000

VIDEO DISTRUBUTOR: Buena Vista Home Video

VIDEO RELEASE: April 4, 2001







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017