Herd of Disneysauruses?
Review by Ross Anthony

Not quite the realistic Dinosaurs of "Jurassic Park," nor are they the caricatures of "Toy Story 2." These Mesozoics are a cute computer cross between cartoons and muppets.

In the grand opening scene, a fought after dinosaur egg trades hands (er.. ah claws) from one reptile to the next until a pteranodon (bird-like reptile) drops it on some distant Lemur Island. (Anybody know if primates and dinosaurs shared the same geological time period?) Anyway, the dominant male lemur wants to discard this inauspicious scaley baby, but is soon endeared to it. So, too, was I. Expecting big things from these Disney people, the sweeping egg-toss sequence didn't quite grab me; and then with the advent of that inter-species adoption - I sniffed a "Tarzan" copy.

But with the pace of a shooting star, the film changes direction as the inhabitants of the lush Lemur Island are forced into a hasty exodus. I'll leave the reason for their flight a surprise, but will say this ... it's lovely. Absolutely lovely. A fantastically magical, chillingly glowing, horrifically compelling sequence. It sucked me in like a tar pit (but it wasn't a tar pit).

From there the now grown dinosaur (Aladar) and his small pack of chimps join a herd of other "sauruses" as they brave the dangerous and course migration to a dreamy nesting place. Aladar exhibits some out-of-previously-established character, cocky behavior, especially inappropriate given present circumstances. This oversight could have been corrected with the addition of a scene or two in Aladar's growing up period.

Kron (the head honchosaurus) leads the pack with an evolutionary Darwinistic iron fist (er.. ah claw). "Then let the weaker ones die, they'll slow our predators." Apparently, Darwin had never been to Disneyland. Of course, Aladar encourages everyone to work together for the common good -- help each other out. It's kind of hokey, but aside from a few hints at "mating" that's about all the film has to offer in the meaning department.

But in the adventure and waycool-to-look-at departments - the film boulders! (er.. ah rocks!)

  • Dinosaur. Copyright © 2000. Rated PG.
  • Voices of D.B.Sweeney, Alfre Woodard, Ossie Davis, Max Casella, Hayden Panettiere, Samuel E. Wright, Julianna Margulies, Owen Klatte, Joan Plowright, Della Reese.
  • Directed by Ralph Zondag, Eric Leighton.
  • Screenplay by John Harrison and Robert Nelson Jacobs.
  • Based on an original screenplay by Walon Green.
  • Produced by Pam Marsden at Disney (C)2000.

Adult Grade ................................... B+
Kid Grade ..................................... A-

Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:13:18 PDT