When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #34: Disney’s Dinosaur (Movie Review)

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https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/

 

If you’ve been following my blog, you may know that I like dinosaurs.

But what you may not know is that I have several other interests as well. One of my other big interests is superheroes…

OMG I’M IN HEAVEN!!

…and my other big interest is in animation. And being an animation nut, I am also a big fan of Disney. I grew up in the latter half of the 90’s Disney Renaissance, with great movies like The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and so forth being a big part of my life. However, I was still young when Disney started going through a lull, and they weren’t sure what kind of movies they were going to make. During that time, there were a lot of hits and misses, with very few movies being financial successes, or even critical successes. That’s not to say there wasn’t anything good at that time period (Lilo and Stitch comes to mind), but it was obvious that Disney wasn’t sure which direction it wanted the company to go. It was around this time that they started to dabble in that newfangled CGI animation that was bringing in all the big bucks to the theaters (now it seems like everyone is just sick of it). And thus, Dinosaur was born.

Like I said in my first look at this movie, this film came out at right the time I was REALLY getting into dinosaurs. So of course I gave it unconditional love. I saw it in the theater (even though it scared me half to death), I had the toys, I always watched it when it aired on TV, I was completely obsessed with it! So when I read the Unshaved Mouse’s review of the movie (a blogger who I unabashedly ripped off) and saw that he completely tore it apart, I was a bit surprised. Then I saw that pretty much every review of the movie I could find was overwhelmingly negative. I only remembered good things about it: the visuals, the music, and of course DINOSAURS!!!! So then I decidede to watch it again, without the nostalgia goggles.

 

And what did I think?

Yeah, you guys were all right.

Watching this movie again broke my heart. Yes, it is true, this movie is crap. For some reason I only remembered the good this movie offered (and there is still some good) but completely forgot about the piles and piles of…

So, I wondered to myself, what can I possibly say about this movie that legions of other internet critic’s haven’t already. Well, you can read this knowing it’s from the point of view of a person who lived through this movie’s popularity, bought into it, loved it, and watched it again only for it to disappoint him.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

I guess that means we can get started.

 The movie starts, pretty well actually. All we see our the outlines of dinosaurs from outside an enclosed space, and we realize we are in an egg with a baby dinosaur ready to hatch. The music too this scene is really good, as is almost every music piece in this film. Seriously, James Newton Howard did a phenomenal job with the score in this film. It’s probably my favorite film score EVER, and I’ll pinpoint scenes in this review that have the best music accompaniment.

We then exit the egg (wow, that sounded weird) and get our first look at the CGI dinosaurs in this movie.

It doesn’t hold up that great.

Yeah, this is good CG for 2000, but it simply doesn’t stand the test of time. Whenever I see a character, I can’t see a living breathing creature. All I see are CGI creations, and it certainly doesn’t help when all the backgrounds are real. That being said, the cinematography is excellent, with some truly stunning scenes.

Scenes like this just make me want to go back to the Mesozoic.

To make the backgrounds of the movie, actual locations were not only filmed, but several locations were digitally put together to create something completely different. For example, the above picture has elements from the Florida Everglades, Venezuela, and the Utah mountain ranges.  Although modern viewers can probably see the seams in the technique, it still adds to the film, creating a landscape that doesn’t quite exist on the planet anymore.

OK, back to the film. We see a mother Iguanodon looking after her eggs, while a young Parasaurolophus pesters her. The young dinosaur runs off, chasing a Longisquama.

 

The creature is shown flying, which probably would have been about as likely as a porcupine flying with it’s quills.

However, when it wanders into the forest, an unwelcome visitor comes along: the Carnotaurus.

I remember this was the first time I was introduced to this dinosaur. I was always used to seeing Tyrannosaurus as the designated predator in these movies, but this caught me completely by surprise. I’ve never seen this kind of dinosaur before, until not long after I got a dinosaur book that had an entry on it. This movie was also the first time I came across a Pachyrhinosaurus (I was all ‘where are the Triceratops?). Speaking of which, the Carnotaurus runs out of the woods, scares the daylights out of all the dinosaurs, and kills itself a Pachyrhinosaur.

DIE! DIE! DIE!

Sorry, I still have that other movie fresh in my mind.

While doing so, the Carnotarus (or carnotaur, as he is referred to by the characters) tramples through the mother Iguanodon’s nest and destroys all but one egg. Said egg is then stolen by that Oviraptor I’m constantly mocking for looking like a plucked chicken.

RAARR! I’m a dinosaur!

And of course, Oviraptor’s only purpose is to steal other people’s eggs.

I’m a good mother. I take care of my eggs. Scientists find me fossilized next to my babies, and they think I’m killing them. That’s theropod profiling, man.

Now, the egg goes on a convoluted, but awesome journey. Now, try and keep up with me. The Oviraptor runs into the forest to eat the egg, but another Oviraptor tries to steal it from him. While they fight over it, the egg accidentally falls into a river. What happens next, you’ve just got to see for yourself.

Man, I absolutely love this scene!

So, the egg goes down the river, get’s swallowed and spit out by a Koolasuchus, narrowly escapes being stomped by Pachyrhinosaurs, get’s scooped up by a Pteranodon/Geosternbergia, which flies over a massive herd of dinosaurs in beautiful terrain while the epic music swells before the egg drops after the pterosaur get’s pestered by some Ichthyornis.

Like I said, convoluted, but still awesome.

This scene really shows how great the cinematography is in this movie. This scene alone was the first trailer, and I remember when I first saw it, I was pumped (Disney did a similar thing with The Lion King by making it’s first trailer the Circle of Life sequence alone; I guess the formula works).

And OMG the music!

This scene contains one of my favorite pieces from the soundtrack. It’s so unlike anything I’ve heard in a movie before or since. The whole soundtrack in my opinion is a masterpiece.

Now, you may notice that this review has been pretty positive so far, and for good reason. The beginning of this movie is great, even with the animation that hasn’t held up too great. The cinematography and music totally makes up for that. Unfortunately, from this point onward the movie takes a massive spiraling leap into pure and utter dinosaur coprolites.

 After the pterosaur drops the egg, it lands on a tree branch (which it stays on a bit too perfectly, despite being, you know, a round object falling from a great height onto a tree branch). For some reason, the egg isn’t in a million pieces either. The crash disrupts a family of lemurs. Yes, lemurs. In the time of dinosaurs. And they talk, even though there was no indication of talking animals in the beginning of the film.

Alright, last time I talked about this movie I said I didn’t really mind the inclusion of lemurs in this movie. I understand they wanted human surrogates, and lemurs were probably the best bet. I mean, lemurs appeared in the fossil record only a few million years after the dinosaurs died.

 

Only when talking about geological time can a few million years seem short.

And I also don’t mind the fact that the animals talk. Come on, some of Disney’s best films involve talking animals.

This movie is so unrealistic. Lions don’t talk like people.

The problem with this, however, is the dialogue. By God is it insufferable! This is some of the poorest writing I’ve seen in a Disney film in a long time, and it just automatically makes me hate the movie. Even Plio, the character that I like most in the movie, get’s some annoying lines in her introduction. God, it’s like writing for an 80’s cartoon! From this point on, the film has sunk to annoying kids film.

Well, there goes the optimism.

Anyway, Plio, a female lemur, investigates the egg and finds that it contains a baby dinosaur, which looks oddly like a baby human. It’s pretty creepy, actually.

 

What is up with those toes?

Her father, Yar, is scared of the baby. He claims it’s a cold blooded monster, and I hope he means that figuratively because if he means it literally I’m killing him.

Get it, because we now think dinosaurs are warm blooded?

 

Anyway, Yar wants to kill the baby, but can’t bring himself to destroy such a defenseless little creature. In return it pees on him.

Because babies are gross, and the only humor you can derive from them is potty humor.

Entire franchises have been built upon this philosophy.

So, they keep the baby, and it grows up to be a carnivorous killing machine that consumes the entire lemur clan, causing Yar to taunt “I told you so” to his daughter as they slide down his gullet.

Yeah, I wish.

At first, it would seem like this is the case, as we are introduced to an adult Iguanodon chasing some young lemurs and catching them in his mouth. But since the dinosaur nerds in the audience all know that Iguanodons are herbivores and would violently voice their displeasure if they were portrayed otherwise, no one is fooled. Instead, he’s jut playing with the lemur kids.

This is Aladar, our main character. Most of the complaints I hear from his character is that he’s just a generally nice guy, who always does what’s right, likes to goof off, but knows when to be serious. In many people’s minds, that equals a boring character. Although I certainly see where they are coming from, I don’t really have a problem with characters like that. Not every character has to be flawed or angsty to be interesting, and sometimes it’s nice to see legitimately moral characters do good things. The problem I have with the character is actually the voice. I know this might sound weird, especially from a person born and raised in the USA, but his accent is too distractingly American.

Let me explain.

A lot of the characters in this movie have American accents, which makes sense since most the actors are American actors. But for the most part, it’s a bit more subdued, at least for the more serious characters. I don’t mind the comedic characters sounding like they do, they are comedic after all. But Aladar sounds too ‘hey dude what’s up’ American to be taken seriously. Maybe the problem is that his speaking pattern is too modern for my taste. A modern speaking style doesn’t bother me on comedic characters, but it does when it’s the main character in a world that is very much not modern. And I know the actor doesn’t always sound like that, he can be very subdued when he wants too. DB Sweeny (Aladar’s actor) did the voice of Sitka in Brother Bear a couple years after this film came out, and more recently voiced adult Aang in The Legend of Korra. I think the voices he does in those two films would have been much more appropriate here.

I mentioned this in my last review of this movie, but I’ll bring it up again. I can’t stand the fact they gave human-like lips to the Iguanodons. It looks so incredibly unnatural!

Iguanodon’s shouldn’t be able to make kissy faces.

I know they were added to make it easier to animate the character talking, but they got around that problem with a certain beaked ceratopsian character that appears later. The way I see it, there is very little excuse.

Anyway, we then meet Zini, Aladar’s quote unquote lemur brother. He thinks he’s a real Casanova, and is going to use his lady killing skills to get a date at the courtship ceremony tonight.

Spoiler: he’s going home empty handed.

I’m going to take this moment to say that the lemur animation is not that great. Although the dinosaurs are also obviously CG, in many shots they still look pretty good. The lemurs however, almost always look like a computer creation. I never for a moment believe they are actually there. And Zini here is probably the worst looking of the bunch. It also doesn’t help that he’s an overconfident prick who’s annoying as all heck.

Next we see a ceremonial courtship festival thing that the lemurs are doing. Here Zini hopes to find a mate, and I’m sure he will with his obvious charm and humility. I’ll go on to say that the music in this scene is really good, and has an uplifting African vibe to it. However, the scene itself kind of undermines the score with it’s less then witty banter. Still, some portions of the actual ceremony are pretty well choreographed, with the lemurs doing a sort of dance in the tree vines. Still, I would listen to the track on it’s own, as it holds up better on it’s own then in the actual movie.

 

In the end, though, Zini flubs up his routine by getting himself entangled in a vine and the party ends without him taking a girl home. Didn’t see that coming. Plio, however, is more worried about Aladar (I guess she sees Zini as a lost cause, as everyone should). There are no other Iguanodon’s on the island, so he is destined to die alone unless he and some other lemur share the same inter-species fetish.

I’m sure that’s somewhere on the internet.

However, the fun night comes to an end as falling streaks of light come down from the sky.

 

Heavenly bodies falling from the sky in a movie about dinosaurs. This can’t possibly go wrong.

Sure enough, a pesky asteroid comes along to ruin everyone’s day.

Now, this is obviously not the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, since (spoilers) the characters survive the ordeal. It is also much to small, with the explosion not being nearly devastating enough for an Earth killer (the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs is thought to have been about the size of MT EVEREST!!!)

Explosion in the movie…

…vs. how it should actually look.

Dang!

After a moment of calm when the asteroid hits, the impact finally hits them, and all hell breaks loose.

This scene used to LEGIT scare me. Whenever it would play I would run into another room until the scene was over. It was years before I finally mustered up the bravery to sit through the entire thing. I think it was because at the time I was really afraid of ‘end of the world’ prospects. Anything about asteroids hitting the earth or global warming or nuclear disasters or terrorism or the Apocalypse would give me nightmares. And for some reason, around my childhood everyone was talking about that stuff. It just made me super paranoid, and made scenes like this even scarier.

And even without all that, this scene is still pretty freaking scary.

Aladar tries to gather up his family and runaway from the incoming onslaught of fire and brimstone.

 

Like I said, this is still a comparatively small impact.

Aladar runs to the end of the island, with a giant cliff leading off into the ocean in his way. The explosion is still on his tail.

What does he do? He jumps.

And the explosion kind of just stops there.

YOU MISSED! HOW COULD YOU MISS?! HE WAS THREE FEET IN FRONT OF YOU!!!

Aladar lands in the water, but can’t put his head above the surface because of the super-heated fire ball that must be currently engulfing the-

Oh, I guess he can. Screw logic.

Well, I guess there is no way this scene can make sense and still have the characters surviving because, you know, it’s a freaking asteroid impact!

All things considered, they still got off rather easy.

Anyway, Aladar makes it onto the mainland, with only Plio, Yar, Zini and Plio’s daughter Suri surviving. The land, which used to be green and vibrant, is now a barren wasteland. After a bit of wandering, they meet up with some friendly Velociraptors.

Since raptors were small predators that probably mostly fed on prey their own size, and Iguanodon was the size of an elephant, Aladar doesn’t have anything to worry about right?

RAAAAA!!!!

Oh yeah, this is Hollywood, were dinosaurs the size of poodles can take down creatures the size of trucks if they work together. I guess that means a pack of foxes can take down a rhino if they really wanted to.

But, fossils of the genus Canis lupus have suggested a pack hunting lifestyle, so it would make sense if other member of the canine family also hunted in packs. 

That’s a future paleontologist defending his depiction of foxes hunting rhinos because wolves were discovered to hunt in packs. Kind of like how today we depict Velociraptor taking down huge prey because Deinonychus may have done so? It’s social commentary. Get it?

Aladar runs from the pack of super persistent raptors, when the predators suddenly run away. Aladar finds the reason for the fear; he get’s caught up in a huge herd of migrating dinosaurs, thus meeting his kind for the first time.

Going the opposite direction in one way traffic. That’s a recipe for disaster.

I’ll go on to say that this is a pretty cool scene as well. The music score here is excellent as well, and it’s cool to see all the dinosaurs too.

We find out that the dinosaur herd is ruled by a totalitarian leader named Kron, a dinosaur who I think is also supposed to be an Iguanodon but comes across as more of an Muttaburrasaurus or Altirhinus to me.

You guys see it too, right?

The only reason we as an audience is sure he’s an Iguanodon is because his sister Neera is obviously one.

You know, of the uncanny valley human lipped variety.

Apparently Kron is a big supporter of extremist Darwinism philosophy (and being a dinosaur, I guess that makes sense) and believes that the strong shouldn’t have to wait for the weak. This is to the detriment of our three new characters, a couple of old farts and their pet.

We have Eema, an elderly sassy black Styracosaurus wait what?

+

=

Oh yeah, she has a beak, and they seemed to animate her talking just fine.

Uhh, imagine a ceratopsian without a beak. Disgusting!

We also have Baylene, an elderly proper British Brachiosaurus wait what?

+

=

Alrighty then.

Lastly, we’ve got Earl, Eema’s Ankylosaurus that she treats like a dog wait what?

+

=

This movie has made some really weird characterization decisions.

So, why does Earl act like a dog when all the other dinosaurs are shown to be capable of speech, or at least capable of understanding each other?

Hmm, you might be on to something there. That’s it. There’s no point to critical thinking. ANARCHY!!!

Anyway, Aladar takes a liking to these weirdos and asks Kron to slow the herd down a bit to accommodate. Kron scoffs at such an idea. “Let the weak set the pace you say? Next you’ll be asking me to feed the children or be pleasant.

He doesn’t really say that, but he might as well. Kron is your typical hard nosed obvious antagonist, who’s every line is written so you can hate him more and more. Now, a character like this can be interesting, but they don’t pull it off here. He’s bland as far as most villains go. He does have a couple of cool and genuinely threatening moments, but otherwise he’s a bore.

We find out that the herd is heading toward the Nesting Grounds, the place that they’re going to raise their babies and where there is lots of green food and water and yes it’s basically the Great Valley. Everyone has made that joke. I guess there are very few stories you can tell with dinosaurs, huh?

Well, Aladar decides to join the herd to help out the elderly dinosaurs because, you know, he’s nice like that. The next morning Zini tries to set Aladar up with Neera, whom I should remind you is Kron’s sister. Aladar has enough sense to know that hitting on her is probably akin to suicide, but Zini think’s he just needs help. In his words : “You need a little help from the Love Monkey.”

The Love Monkey? THE LOVE MONKEY?! OMG someone got paid to write this. People, this is a multi-million dollar movie from a multi-billion dollar company. Yet somebody wrote this line and it made it to the final cut. RU KIDDING ME??!!!!

Have I mentioned the dialogue in this movie is insufferable?

(Funny story, this line used to bug me as a kid not because it is horribly written, but because lemurs were not monkeys. I really had my priorities in line back then.)

Zini makes wolf whistles and versions of that growling thing you see douche bags in movies do when they see a hot piece. Neera thinks Aladar did it, and calls him a ‘jerk-osaurus’.

So, they had the suffix ‘saurus’, stemming from the Latin word that means lizard, in their dinosaur vocabulary?

I have a feeling a joke like that shouldn’t translate very well.

Or it could just be lazy writing. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

Alright, lets wash out that bit of terrible writing with the coolest music piece in the entire film! In the scene, the herd begin’s it’s trek across the desert to reach the coveted Nesting Grounds. And the music is awesome. It’s this weird mix-mash of African and maybe vaguely Native American and Middle Eastern music styles a modern orchestra, but whatever it is, it makes you feel hot.

Like a desert, I mean.

I don’t know what it is. The drums, the vocals, the beat, everything about it is amazing.

Now, I personally think the music stands out best when you listen to it on it’s own, so here is a link to the soundtrack version.

The scene itself is pretty cool too. The cinematography is great, and so is the atmosphere. It is ruined a couple times with dialogue, however. You know what, I think I know this movie’s problem. When no one is talking, it’s great, but whenever someone open’s their mouth, it slips back into mediocrity. Whenever someone talks it’s either insufferable or boring!

Anyway, the herd comes to a place where they think there is going to be water, but it turns out that the entire lake bed has dried up. Kron tells the entire herd to keep on moving, while Neera tells him that if they don’t find water they’ll lose half the herd. So he responds that they’ll save the half that deserves to live.

You know, he could be less of a jerk about it, but otherwise he’s absolutely right! If there is no water, what can they do about it? The best they can hope for is to make it to the Nesting Grounds as soon as possible. Lollygagging would put the entire herd at risk. It may not be the ideal decision, but it’s the best for a bad situation.

Now, I’m not a social Darwinist. I am always willing to help someone who is in need of my assistance. But in the end, this is a survival situation. Tough choices have to be made. Not everything is going to have a clear cut answer. And whatever you do, sometimes people are going to get hurt. But there is nothing you can do about it. I know that extremism is not the answer, and even in a survival situation you should care for others needs. But this isn’t throwing people out because they are old. This is something he can’t control, and him making the best bad decision. And when things are tough, someone is going to have to do those things.

I hate it when a movie where the evil jerk is the only one who makes sense!

However, when Baylene begins to walk on the dry lake bed, the group discovers that the lake is still there, just covered in a layer of sand. All they have do do is dig into the dirt, press their foot into it, and they will have water.

OK, so it was a good idea that they waited a little bit to investigate.

Meanwhile, Kron’s second in command Bruton and a random dinosaur we don’t care about are scoping the perimeter looking for water, when they suddenly get attacked by Carnotaurus’. It seemed that the predators have been following them (I guess a huge herd of dinosaurs in a flat desert leaving trails of footprints, feces and dead bodies is pretty easy to track).

Back with the herd, Neera notices Aladar helping a couple of young Iguanodon’s out. Neera wonders why he’s so nice to everyone and helps out, to which he responds “What else would I do. Leave them behind?” Neera shirks back at this, since the herd has left lots of members behind before. She obviously is used to her brother’s philosophy, but Aladar responds that if everyone helps each other out, they all stand a chance to getting where they need to go.

Now, if my earlier comments on this situation made me sound like a social Darwinist, trust me I’m not. I don’t have the guts to be one. I’m pretty on board with Aladar here. Working together will help as many people possible to survive, while Kron’s extremist viewpoints are too much. But still, this is a survival situation. If Kron wasn’t so extreme, he would be right in a lot of his decisions. The only reason he’s the bad guy really is because he acts like such a jerk.

Well, I guess abandoning the elderly because they slow you down would give you that image.

Speaking of Kron, he finds out from Bruton that there are Carnotaurs coming. He is surprised, claiming they’ve never come this far north and WAIT A MINUTE?!!

Movie, are you serious?

No, no, you can’t be serious.

No, nobody would ever do this. It’s impossible.

Movie, did you just lampshade your use of Carnotaurs in the movie?

Now, for those of you who don’t know, Carnotaurus was a dinosaur that lived in South America, while the majority of the dinosaurs in the movie are from North America. Now, most dinosaur movies have creatures that lived in different times and areas then they do in real life. It’s a staple in dinosaur fiction, and honestly I don’t mind it that much (it only really bugs me if the program is supposed to be educational). It’s the moment you try and justify it when it becomes ridiculous.

I would have accepted it if Carnotaurus was just the carnivore for this movie, no questions asked. I can suspend my disbelief long enough for that. It wouldn’t bother me, I swear. Heck, I’m glad you went with a less popular dinosaur over the overused T. rex. But once you point out your mistake like this, then my suspension of disbelief runs out. Lampshading only works if the audience was already thinking it before the movie brought it up. Don’t bring up a problem the audience wasn’t aware of! And if you do, don’t just freakin’ hand weave it! Actually explain it! You can’t justify it by just saying Carnotaurs have never come this far north! That doesn’t make sense for a few reasons:

1. It’s like justifying a jaguars appearance in a movie taking place in Alaska by saying they’ve never come this far north or having a polar bear showing up in a movie taking place in Mexico and saying they’ve never come this far south. It doesn’t justify anything.

2. During the Mesozoic, there wasn’t land connecting North and South America anyway. That wouldn’t be an issue if this was just another dinosaur movie were all dinosaurs lived in the same time and place. I can accept that. It does become an issue when you bring it up!

3. How would the dinosaurs even know what a Carnotaurus was if they’ve never come up north to their habitat? They would just be a predator they’ve never seen before.

4. THERE WAS A CARNOTAURUS IN THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVIE!! You’ve already established the Carnotaurus as the predator of this ecosystem. It’s too late to go back now.

Sigh.

Well, anyway, Kron tells the herd to move, while Aladar says that Eema and Baylene wouldn’t make it. That’s OK with Kron, as he responds they’ll slow down the predators. This get’s Aladar angry, but Kron puts him in his place. Knocking him down, Kron tells him straight “If you ever interfere again, I’ll kill you.”

 

SILENCE! I KILL YOU!

So, Aladar tries to get the elderly dinosaurs to go with the herd, but they are to slow to catch up. Eventually, they just lose the herd. It begins to rain, so they try to take refuge in a cave. They then meet up with Bruton, who was wounded by the Carnotaurs and was left behind from the herd as well. Aladar, being the good guy, invites him in with them. He’s initially hesitant, having already accepted his fate in death. He can’t understand why Aladar continues to push people with false hope, while Plio states that it’s hope that’s gotten them this far. He then starts to sympathize with the group.

So, it would seem that Bruton’s role in the narrative is to be the arrogant extremist who learns from his mistakes. You know what that means?

Kron is doomed.

Speaking of which, do you think the internet has shipped Kron and Bruton together? Because if someone did, they would have the greatest combined ship name in the history of the universe.

Kruton.

Well, it would seem that Bruton is also doomed, as two Carnotaurus’ corner the group the cave.

They attack the herd, and one almost kills Aladar, but Bruton sacrifices himself to save everybody else. He causes and avalanche of rocks that crushes one of the Carnotaurs and himself in the process. However, one of the predators survives, but is on the opposite side of the avalanche, which has blocked the entrance.

Remember that, it’ll be important later.

 Anyway, the group begins to wander through the cave, but they hit a dead end. However, Zini begins digging through the rocks, and finds light on the other side.

Congrats Zini, you did something useful! Now go away, I still don’t like you.

Aladar tries to break through the wall, but another avalanche strengthens the divide even further. At this point he gives up, and finally accepts Kron’s philosophy. Bsylene berates him for giving up, and then suddenly remembers “Wait, I’m a big fat freaking Brachiosaurus” and breaks through the walls herself.

Now, that kind of sauropod strength could have been useful before. Like when the Carnotaurs attacked.

Anyway, they break through the wall, and what do they find on the other side?

The Great Valley!

It might as well be.

So, I have a couple questions about this ‘Nesting Ground’. It’s implied that the asteroid destroyed the lush landscape that was seen in the beginning of the movie. What shielded this land from that catastrophe? Even if the impact was relatively small, how could this valley be untouched while the surrounding area is barren?

Anyway, it’s all fun and games when they make it to the valley, but Eema realizes that the old entrance they usually take has been blocked by a landslide. Aladar leaves so he can go and warn the rest of the herd, but he enters the cave to do so.

Wait, wasn’t the other entrance way blocked? It seemed pretty solid, I’m not sure if he can just bust his way through-

Oh wait, he can. Thanks plot convenience!

He catches up with the herd, and see’s Kron trying to coax the other dinosaurs to climb up the 60 degree angle rock wall to get to the other side, which is also a deep drop down.

Great plan, Kron.

He tries to get two baby dinosaurs to climb the wall, saying : “They can do it, they’re tough!”

OK, it might just be off delivery, but the way he says ‘they’re tough’ sounds incredibly hammy. I think it would be better if he said ‘they’re strong’ but the way it’s scripted out here it sounds like a 5 year old wrote the line.

Aladar tells them that there is a safer way to the valley, but Kron is adamant on his suicide mission. So, you’ll disregard an easy way to the valley in favor of a way that will certainly get you killed?

You know what Kron, you’re such a Darwinist, maybe natural selection should weed you out! Because you are absolutely STUPID!!!!

Aladar yells that he’s going to kill the herd (an apt observation) and decides to lead the herd himself. Kron won’t have any of that, so he attacks.

MORTAL KOMBAT!!

We even get some thumb spike action in here. If you were a kid who loved dinosaurs, then you know that there was no end of books saying how Iguanodon fought by jabbing it’s thumb spikes into a predators eyeball or jugular.

This image has been kind of swept under the rug as of late, but I think this film probably shows the most likely use of it if it were ever used for combat. I see it more as a weapon between two males fighting for dominance rather than a weapon against predators. Still, as a kid I was confused why it wasn’t used more. In fact, almost everything about the depiction of Iguanodon here confused me as a kid. It wasn’t just the lips, though. It was the fact that I was still used to Iguanodon’s looking like this!

Kron almost kills Aladar, but Neera saves him at the last moment. At this point, the herd would rather take the less suicidal option, so they side with Aladar. I say less suicidal because Aladar knew a Carnotaur was heading their way, and lo and behold…

I’m back.

The herd begins to panic, but Aladar tells him they need to stand together or he’ll just pick them off. The carnivore begins to run toward them, so Aladar puts himself between the Carnotaur and the herd. He runs up to it, and begins bellowing with all his might. You would think the Carnotaur would take this opportunity to take a giant chunk out of Aladar’s hide, but he seems more confused than anything.

 

What? No one has ever defied me before.

Thankfully, the rest of the herd helps Aladar and backs him up, bellowing together as a collective group. I find it hilarious that even a tiny little Struthiomimus is putting himself on the front lines.

Untitled

I’m helping! 

The message behind this scene seems to be if that when people work together, they can overcome greater obstacles than if they were alone. This seems to be the message of the entire film: work together, all summed up in one scene. It’s a nice sentiment and all, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how nature works. Yeah I know that’s nitpicky, but things like this tend to bug me in movies, especially when I was a kid.

Why are you bowing to him!? Their race eats your kind!

The collective efforts of the group wards off the Carnotaurus, but he finds himself some easier prey.

Jackpot!

Kron is still determined to climb up that cliff, but doing so made him a target. Look’s like natural selection is weeding out the dumb after all. The Carnotaur attacks him, and nearly kills him. Aladar and Neera try to fight him off, and defeat him in the most cliche way possible.

Dropping it off a cliff.

I did it fiiiiiiirrrrrrsssssttttt……!!!!!

Well, Kron dies but nobody cares because he was a jerk. So we can still get our Disney style happy ending.

Aladar leads the herd into the Nesting Grounds, and he and Neera start a family (because they had so much chemistry). Even Zini get’s himself a mob of lemur ladies.

Wow, they must be REALLY desperate.

So, Zini gets rewarded for being an overzealous womanizing prick? Does this mean I was supposed to feel SORRY for him in that courtship scene? Because if that was the case, you didn’t do a good job of explaining that, movie.

The film ends with Plio narrating. She says “None of us really know what changes big or small lie ahead. One thing is certain, our journey is not over. We can only hope that, in some small way, our time here will be remembered.”

 

Yeah, I think dinosaurs will be remembered.

So, we get our classic Disney style happy ending. The good guys are happy, the bad guys are dead, and the future is looked upon with great optimism.

Oh yeah, forgot. Extinction.

Now, this review may not seem quite as negative as some of the ones you might have already read. But make no mistake, this movie is bad. I mean really bad. But just how bad it is depends on your tastes. Some may not like the CGI, which admittedly hasn’t held up the best. Others will find issue with the lackluster story, which borrows heavily from other dinosaur films and is predictable even without taking that into consideration (it’s like Hollywood can only think of a few story ideas for a film about dinosaurs). For me, the biggest problem was the writing and dialogue. There are way too many modern phrases (school’s in session, buffet table of love, “who booked this trip?”,  jerk-osaurus, and so forth), and the rest of the dialogue is either lackluster, annoying, or completely out of place. It really took me out of the movie, and kind of ruined it for me.

However, a lot of people really have fond memories of this movie, and I’ll admit I was one of those. There are still some good points in here too. The dinosaurs themselves are still cool, there are some genuinely cool scenes in this movie, and the music is phenomenal (I have almost the entire score on my MP3)! Really, it’s one of those movies you have to see yourself and draw your own conclusions on. If you still like this movie, great! Unfortunately, it just didn’t hold up to me. So I’m going to give this film a score of….

5.9 out of 10.

Well, that’s it for now for my full movie reviews. It was certainly fun, but also hard, so I’m glad to be returning to my old format. I’ll will be taking some time to clean up some of my older posts, correcting spelling errors and re-sizing pictures and junk like that. So keep an eye out for those updated posts!

Join me next time as I return once again to Jurassic World, and talk about a subject I never thought I would in this blog: copyright infringement.

See you then!

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10 thoughts on “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #34: Disney’s Dinosaur (Movie Review)

    1. If you’re asking whether I’m going to review Dinotopia, then the answer is yes, eventually. I have a list of films/series/books/games that I’m going to review, and Dinotopia is on it, but it won’t be for a while. I’ll actually be doing the miniseries first before the book series.

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    1. Yes, it’s on the list of things I want to review. What scares me about it though is not only have I not seen much of the show, but there are so mny interesting dinosaurs in the series to talk about that I’m not sure where to begin. It is on the list, though.

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      1. including some obscure one’s like ampelosaurus,opsthocoelicaudia,talasaurus,eucentrosaurus,Brachyceratops,gojirasaurus,
        arrhinoceratops,anchiceratops,sauropelta,jobaria,rajasaurus,altirinus but no
        protoceratops and velociraptor as just a attack cart not a dinosaur cart.

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      1. maybe you can tackle both trope’s at once seeing that they are very similar.
        protoceratops and triceratops are related so you could use that as
        a segway from the first trope into the other trope.

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