The Good Dinosaur Review (Spoilers)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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

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While I was defiantly looking forward to this film, I did go into the theater with some trepidation. I did look at a few reviews before seeing it, and while there were many positive reviews for the movie, there were quite a few people who were quite disappointed in it. Some went as far as saying this is one of Pixar’s weakest films. So going into the movie, I did set myself up for this film to just be one of those ‘blah’ experiences, even if I still wanted it to be good. And after seeing it, all I’ve got to say is….really critics? Did we see the same movie? This is far from Pixar’s weakest effort. I wouldn’t even dare call it a weak effort. I legitimately loved this movie. I liked it a heck of a lot more than I thought I would, even with the story problems that are admittedly present. But personally, I liked this movie more than Inside Out.

WHAT?!!!

Now, hear me out. I’m not saying I disliked Inside Out, I loved. And I’m not saying The Good Dinosaur is among the best Pixar films, it’s not really. And personally, I have a feeling Inside Out will be remembered more in the years to come and The Good Dinosaur will be one of those films you remember when talking about the Pixar movie slate as a whole. But all that aside, I still freakin’ loved this movie. And maybe my opinion of it will change as time goes on (as of writing this part of the review I have only seen it a few hours ago) but as of now I’m going to praise the heck out of this movie.

Now, before I go into the movie, first I want to talk a bit about the short that proceeded it, Sanjay’s Super-
Team. It’s about a young Indian American boy who prefers American superhero pop culture over his father’s religious traditions, but then goes on to imagine the gods of the Hindu faith as an awesome superhero team.

Now, I live in Texas, and the theater was full of lower middle class white families. I won’t lie that a part of me feared that the parents may look at this short in disgust at the fact that it dares to show a different culture other than Christianity to a naive and easily mislead American youth and that it has the gall to present an alternate religion in a way other than the pagan foreign filth than it is. But such thinking would be hypocritical of me, and it would have made me no better than the xenophobes that would actually try to boycott this short (which I’m sure do exist). For the most part, the audience did seem to enjoy it, although I still feel a bit of cringe when I hear people in the audience confused that this isn’t the movie they went in for and wondering if they went into the wrong theater. Come on guys, every Pixar film and most of the recent Disney films have had a short in front of them, you still get surprised when this happens?

As for the short itself, I thought it was incredible. The animation was incredibly fluid and stylistic, particularly in the fantasy sequences. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a CGI short that looks quite like this. But personally, my favorite part was actually the underlying message of the whole thing. The story is really about the disconnection between two cultures; that of a boy raised under the American society, and his father who still takes his heritage seriously. You can tell that this is a story very true to the director Sanjay Patel’s childhood, and is definitely one that will resonate with both the children and parents of immigrant and multicultural families (including myself).

Alright, let’s get to the movie itself. The film stars Arlo, a young sauropod dinosaur who is the youngest and smallest member of his family. Yeah, this ‘runt of the litter’ type of main character is something we’ve seen in several family films before (especially family films) so I can see why some people feel this movie is a bit derivative. But personally, I really like the direction they went with Arlo. Remember that when the film was first in production Arlo was supposed to be an adult, but this was changed when it was felt that the audience would feel more sympathy for a child who was all alone in the wilderness. Now, I’m just speculating here, but perhaps the earlier drafts of the film didn’t quite give enough reason for us to care about Arlo, so his character was completely redone. Despite a young sauropod being alone in the wilderness being quite similar to The Land Before Time, I have a feeling the change was for the better. Than again, I didn’t read the original script, so IDK.

The sauropods are shown living as farmers in an agrarian sort of lifestyle. Now, another common criticism this movie gets is that the movie doesn’t take advantage of the idea it is trying to sell; the question of what would happen if dinosaurs never went extinct. I’ve seen some reviews just straight up say that this movie could have just taken place in actual dinosaur times and nobody would be able to tell the difference. What do I say to this criticism?

HAH!

First off, I think when people first heard the synopsis for this film they pictured dinosaurs evolving into making grand civilizations or talking on cellphones or stuff like that, and the fact that the dinosaurs didn’t develop to that level felt like a waste to them. But one of the reasons I love this film so much is that the way it shows how the dinosaurs and the world have changed since the Mesozoic is very clever and often quite subtle. It doesn’t spell out the differences to the audience, but when you look for them they are there.

First off, we have to remember that the talking dinosaurs in this movie aren’t like the talking animals we see in other Pixar movies (Finding Nemo, Ratatouille) where animals only talk amongst themselves and humans can only hear incoherent squeaking or squawking. These dinosaurs are fully sentient in every sense of the world, on the same level as modern humans. They build structures, have customs, and are on the top of the world intelligence wise. The fact that they have mastered the concepts of agriculture, ranching, and construction shows that they are not ordinary dinosaurs.

But there are also clues in the environment depicted. The world the characters inhabit looks very much like modern day Western North America, not the North America of the Mesozoic. Many of the animals also seem a bit more modern. We see both mammals that wouldn’t look out of place in the time of dinosaurs but also pretty modern looking foxes, gophers, and of course the bison. Plus, it seems like evolution took some twists and turns that it wouldn’t have done if dinosaurs went extinct; such as the large insects and the four legged vipers. But most of all, the fact that humans exist in this world show that this film took advantage of the concept it was going for. The idea of this film gave us the opportunity to have a dinosaur and a human boy be friends without science geeks like me crying out ‘humans and dinosaurs never lived at the same time’! Come on guys, one of the main characters was a human being! Did people just not notice that?

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Or did they think this movie took place in some weird Flintstones type universe?

So yeah, this movie doesn’t go with the idea that if dinosaurs never went extinct they would create cities and futuristic technology. Anyone could think of that. Pixar once again took the road less traveled and decided to take this opportunity to create a dinosaur movie that is, of all things, a western.

A dinosaur movie.

That’s a western.

Do you know how absolutely rare that is?

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OK, it’s not unheard of, but have you ever seen it done well?

Anyway, so Arlo, being the smallest and weakest of his family, is constantly bullied by his siblings and feels insignificant in return. His father, surprisingly, is actually quite supportive and patient with Arlo and that right there is basically a death sentence.

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You see, if you’re a father figure to a disappointment of a son, your story line is going to go one of two ways. Either you’re a jerk who can’t understand why is offspring is so incapable only to learn his lesson by the end of the film when said offspring goes off to do something amazing, or you’re wise and understanding and overall a loving father, meaning you have to die so the main character can have some believable motivation/much needed drama. So yeah, spoiler alert, the father dies, and it’s painfully obvious. He’s a cool and likable character, but just like Mufasa, that brings him to his ultimate downfall. Jerks have to stay till the end of thew movie so they can learn their lesson (dying after that is optional), but good father figures have to act as martyrs so their wimp of a son can have some much needed character development. It’s the male equivalent of being ‘stuffed into a fridge’ (look it up).

But yet, I still think it really works.

Many people criticize this part of the film as being emotionally manipulative and expected from a Disney/Pixar film, thus loosing it’s intended impact. And yes, both Disney and Pixar have pulled of this stunt in family films several times before. But I don’t think the scene itself is handled any better or worse than what others have done before it.

One of the criticisms of Pixar is that their films have become emotionally manipulative, trying to make us feel emotion instead of having them come out of us naturally. Personally, I think that is just a side effect of time. I don’t think Pixar movies today do any more or any less emotional manipulation than the Pixar movies before them. We as an audience have just gotten more accustomed to seeing it, the novelty isn’t new anymore. Imagine if Finding Nemo came out today instead of a decade ago. The first scene where Marlin’s wife gets killed by the barracuda probably wouldn’t be the tear jerker like it was back then, but instead be painted as another example of fake emotion by critics. Think about it, we don’t really get to know Marlin’s wife as a character, we don’t get the chance to become attached to her. Really, her death could be seen as just a way to get out some cheap drama for the first act. But back in 2003, that kind of dark material was still kind of surprising to the audience, even with movies like the Lion King that came out a decade before it. Now it’s kind of expected. Or at least, it doesn’t hold the same impact. But really, all film making is at it’s core is emotional manipulation. When you’re making a movie, you’re doing it not only to make money or to tell a story but because you want your audience to feel a certain way, whether that be sadness, happiness, laughter, terror, or so on. And in writing scripts and filming scenes, you are painstakingly working to make sure your audience feels those emotions. Really, if a movie fails to make you feel anything, than it has failed as a movie. I know I end of disliking movies that made me feel nothing over movies that made me angry or got me offended. Pixar is an expert at making it’s audience feel, I guess movie goers nowadays just see it as an expected thing.

Than again, it makes sense that people are talking about emotional manipulation in Pixar films when their last movie was actually about emotional manipulation.

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Literally.

So, Arlo’s father dies in a freak flash look while helping Arlo complete a job. You see, Arlo was tasked in capturing and ultimately killing an unknown creature eating their food reserves for the winter, and this job was supposed to help prove Arlo’s worth in the family. This creature, which turned out to be a human child (but the dinosaurs just see it as another critter) ran off before Arlo could do the deed and his father went to help try an catch it. So you see, Arlo feels guilty in himself as being the cause of his father’s death since he couldn’t complete the job, but he also blames the human itself. Later, the human kid returns to steal more food, and Arlo chases it in anger. In doing so he accidentally falls into a raging river and his drifted miles away from his home, stranding him in the middle of nowhere.

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Now, let’s take this moment to talk about Spot, the human boy. Now, kid characters in family films can be kind of hit or miss, so I am so happy to say that Spot is one of the best things about this movie. The twist of this story is that Spot doesn’t act like a normal human boy but instead like a dog, and everyone knows that dogs in movies automatically get sympathy from the audience. But Spot is more than that. He can’t speak, so he has that silent likability that a dog character would have, but since he’s human he’s a lot more emotive, so you can still get a good sense of his personality. Spot is mischievous and a bit of a prankster, but overall he’s curious. Despite Arlo’s initial hostility, Spot continues to watch over him. He even tries to give Arlo food, but the first couple times he didn’t realize Arlo was a vegetarian and continued to give him meat (in some ways more disgusting than others). Eventually, Arlo and Spot learn to depend on each other, and as the movie progresses a very natural love between the two is shown. Arlo and Spot’s relationship together truly is the heart of the movie, and some of my favorite scenes in the entire movie involve these two (one being the scene where they both explain to each other the fate of their dead parents, and the scene where they get high together after eating some fermented fruit that comes literally the frick out of nowhere).

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On their little adventure, Arlo and Spot run into a few colorful characters. One of which is Forrest Woodbush, a lone ceratopsian who collects animals as spiritual protectors. Although this character only appears for a few minutes, he makes an impression. This guy is hilarious!!!

 

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The main antagonists of the film are a group of pterosaurs lead by a Nyctosaurus (?) named Thunderclap. Now, I have quite a few things to say about these guys.

OK, so it is basically shown that dinosaurs and only dinosaurs (and perhaps humans) evolved to attain sentience. All the other animals shown act like normal animals would. So, why can the pterosaurs talk? Pterosaurs aren’t dinosaurs. They aren’t biologically linked together beyond sharing a common ancestor. Pterosaurs should just be another animal in this world, but for some reason they happened to develop intelligence as well. What makes them so special? Does this mean all archosaurs attained intelligence? Can crocodiles talk to? Why can’t the birds talk then if birds are nothing more than super advanced dinosaurs? Did they loose intelligence somewhere along the line? Those chicken things at the beginning of the movie had hands and a bony tail, they were basically Oviraptors! If the raptors in the movie can talk so should those birds!

OK, now let’s talk about accuracy. I didn’t really bother with this earlier because the dinosaurs are so stylized and exaggerated it would just be pissing in the wind to bring it up, but it seems whenever pterosaurs are involved the stakes seem to get much higher. You see, the pterosaurs in this movie aren’t actually that bad. I mean, sure, they exhibit classic Ptero-Soarer cliches, but the way they walk and move around really feels natural with their anatomy, something that can look very awkward in some pterosaur reconstructions. But a lot of people bring up the fact that the pterosaurs have eagle like talons and that lead Nyctosaurus has claws on his wings, even though said genus is quite notable for lacking those. Personally, I have the head canon that the pterosaurs of this world evolved talons in order to compete with the growing bird population and remain the true lords of the sky, effectively taking up the niche eagles and vultures would have filled in their absence. This is supported by the fact that these characters are depicted as ruthless hunters. As for the Nyctosaurus hand claws, I don’t think Thunderclap is actually a Nyctosaurus, but instead just a pterosaur that evolved a similar head crest. I mean, you have to remember that the actual head crest of a Nyctosaurus was much more…..exaggerated in real life.

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Here’s Thunderclap…

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And here’s a Nyctosaurus. It’s not often a dinosaur movie tones down an unique feature.

OK, OK, I’ve done my science ramble. How are these guys effective as characters? My personal opinion? Pretty damn effective. They initially come off as quite friendly if not a little eccentric, professing some strange religion  that deifies the weather. And initially they have no desire to hurt Arlo, and sincerely promise to help him find his way home. But when they show a desire to eat Spot, that’s when it hits the fan. These guys become mercilessly deranged, and their devotion to their weather cult just adds another layer of uncomfortable. Steve Zahn’s performance as Thunderclap also masterfully switches from comedic to terrifying.

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Thankfully, Spot and Arlo are saved by a family of tyrannosaurs. Of course, whenever you see a T. rex in these kinds of movies usually it’s followed by the main characters screaming and narrowly escaping being eaten. However, not only are these Rexes given speaking roles, but they are legit good guys. It seems that while the herbivorous dinosaurs evolved to become farmers, the carnivores became ranchers raising long horn cattle (actually bison). I think this is an awesome way to show how the dinosaurs have changed, as I can imagine carnivorous dinosaurs now being uncomfortable preying on fellow sentient species.

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Now, these tyrannosaurs really bring home the fact that this movie is actually a western.  They’re essentially cowboys, they’ve got thick American accents, even the way they move is meant to mimic the way a rider on his horse moves. It just really amazes me that this is the direction Pixar decided to go with in this movie, but I’ve got to say I love it. These characters I find incredibly endearing and likable, seven year old me would be quite happy with this (I always wanted to see a T. rex character that was a good guy).

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Now, if you’re in a western herding cattle, then cattle rustlers aren’t far behind. And in this movie, they take the form of hillbilly raptors.

Of course, these days whenever you talk about raptors you have to mention whether they are feathered or not. And surprisingly, the film decides to actually add some. Granted, the feathers have that ‘glued on’ look to them that doesn’t look quite natural and their bodies and forearms are still proportioned more or less the same way they are in Jurassic Park. So yeah, they still aren’t great despite the feathers, but in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting them to be. With the other dinosaurs in this film being so cartoony as a visual choice, I kind of think it’s too much to ask for scientifically accurate dromaeosaurs.

 Now, the final act of this film I find to be quite exciting. With the help of the Tyrannosaurs, Arlo and Spot finally find their way home, but along the way, they find what looks like another human. Spot seems to recognize them, but against his better judgement, Arlo leads him away from the person. You can now tell that Arlo just can’t bare the thought of loosing his best friend, even though he knows deep down it’s probably for the best.

But on the way home, a storm once again brews up and the pterosaurs from before snatch away Spot. While trying to save him, Arlo get’s knocked out and begins to hallucinate his father’s presence. In an incredibly well done scene, Arlo slowly begins to realize what he thinks is his papa isn’t real and has to abandon it in order to save Spot. The scene is gut wrenching and full of emotion, one of the saddest scenes in a Pixar movie in my opinion.

Arlo gets back up and finds the pterosaurs, and he knocks them into the flooding river, presumably killing them. Heck, he even tears through the skin of Thunderclap’s wing when throwing a piece of wood at him. You know, I’ve seen some contradictory statements made about this movie in some reviews. Some say the film skews a bit young, while others say this movie is too dark for small children. I have to say I agree with the latter. Despite the cartoony animation style of the characters, the stakes in this movie are definitely high, and you can feel it. Death is addressed, and strong thematic emotions are felt throughout. This film earned it’s PG rating, which is especially strange since we live in a world where Frozen is rated PG.

So Arlo defeats the pterosaurs, but Spot is swept away in the rapids. Then, the whole valley begins to flood in the same way it happened when his father died. Here, Arlo has to face his greatest fears to save someone he loves, and in an absolutely exhilarating series of events, Arlo saves him. Yeah, in the grand scheme of things the whole thing is pretty predictable, but the way the scene is done almost makes you forget that. It even has a cliche waterfall at the end of the river and yet you still feel invested. The danger just felt so real, it really felt like these two characters could actually die even though the rational part of your mind knows they won’t. I think it’s just a testament to just how great storytellers the Pixar staff are.

So the movie ends with Arlo and Spot returning home, only to see that family of humans again. Arlo, now much more mature after the experience, knows that it’s the right thing to do to return Spot to his family (but not after a classically drawn out and tearful goodbye is given to us). Arlo returns to his home a stronger man, is greeted happily by his family, and finally gains the respect he so desperately wanted but has finally earned.

Guys, I love this movie.

Like, I really love this movie.

Yeah, the characters may feel familiar and the story line has been done before, but Pixar still got something familiar and turned it into something great. The animation in this film is great, the backgrounds being some of the most realistic CGI I have ever seen. And even though the characters aren’t designed realistically, they still move with a realistic weight that is very noticeable (especially in the father character and the tyrannosaurs). I personally enjoyed this more than Inside Out, and I think it is a wonderful addition to the Pixar resume.

But not everyone is as enthusiastic as I am.

This film has a surprisingly low score on Rotten Tomatoes; a 77% last I checked. Remember that Pixar film review averages are usually in the 90’s, and other Pixar films with this low a score include the fairly forgettable Brave and ….shudders…Cars. For me, this film was easily a B+. But a lot of people just can’t seem to get past the strange visuals and the overdone plot.  And sadly, this is being reflected in the ticket sales.

This movie was expensive to make, partly due to the advances in the animation and also because the film kept on getting delayed and reworked. In fact, it ended up being one of the most expensive films of all time. It’s been estimated that the movie has to make $500 million just to break even! That’s a tall order for any movie, but usually Pixar is up to the task. Sadly, it doesn’t look like The Good Dinosaur is going to make half it’s money back, let alone make a profit. It looks like this will be the first Pixar movie to actually loose money. And usually, that’s not that big of a deal in the long run. Other successful companies have made several expensive movies that lost money (this was the financial situation at Disney for most of the early 2000s), but usually the just bite the bullet, quietly ignore the failed movie, and move on. But when you have the kind of track record that Pixar has, where every single one of their movies has been a smash hit, people aren’t going to forget so easily. Sadly, I think this movie is going to go down in history as the first Pixar movie to flop, and that may be all it’s remembered for. But there’s so much more to this movie than that. I saw this movie in a packed theater, and everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves. The people who like this film will remember it, and the ones who don’t will just quietly forget. But personally, I loved this movie to bits. I encourage you to support this film, and see it for yourself if you haven’t already.

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Jurassic World Spoiler Review (I’m sorry it took so long)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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

 

 

This will be my in depth review of the film Jurassic World, and I will not hold back on the spoilers. If you wish to remain unspoiled before you see the movie I suggest you click out of this page and go to my non spoiler overview if you want to know my overall opinion of the film. Here I will go deep into what I thought about this movie, and there is a lot to talk about. Some good, some bad, some scarily controversial. But my self imposed duty as a bored kid with a blog demands that I bring up these facts to my lovely, lovely audience.

Alright then, let’s get started.

 

The movie begins with the Indominus Rex hatching from it’s egg; it’s unnatural looking human-like hand claws it’s way through the shell. The ominous music lets us know that the unsettling creature before us is not to be trusted. Suddenly, a dinosaur’s foot stomps into the frame, and we think we’re going to get a good look at the unholy abomination, but unfortunately the dinosaur before us is a bit more mundane. As in, it’a an extant species; merely a crow. I thought the gad was a brilliantly done bait and switch that I think fooled the entire audience, and just goes to show you just how similar modern birds are to their prehistoric relatives.

See guys, I wasn’t crazy.

No you weren’t Dr. Grant, no you weren’t.

Anyway, we see the obligatory Spielberg kid characters of the movie, Zach and Gray, who are heading off to Jurassic World during their Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, during the midst of all this their parents are going through a pretty tough divorce. Like I said in my non spoiler review, I don’t think these kids are annoying and I feel that the role they played in the film was necessary, but I don’t think the who divorce subplot was. Literally everything about the divorce could have been cut from the film and the plot would have remained completely unchanged. Their isn’t really any emotional payoff to it, and it really just comes off as one more thing the movie wants us to care about even though chances are the audience won’t.

Thankfully, the movie knows exactly what we came here for, and the kids get on the island within I think the first five minutes of the film.

 

I want to take this moment to comment on just how beautifully this park is realized. The film does a fantastic job at convincing you that this is a full on functioning theme park. It also does a great job at making you want to go to this park, despite the less than favorable events that take place later.

Jurassic World has the works: gift shops, restaurants, luxury hotels, and of course, product placements. I know the product placements in this film distracted many movie goers, but only a couple of times did it really bother me. For the most part, it made sense to have so many name brand stuff all over the park because real theme parks have that. Rides and attractions will be sponsored by companies, name brand restaurants will be in the populated areas, it’s a real thing. The only time it got really distracting to me I’ll touch on later.

However, the best part of the park has to be the Innovation Center (presented by Samsung :-D). With the holographic dinosaurs, the interactive activities, even an appearance from Mr. DNA, everything about it screams “I WANT TO GO!!!” On a side note, the holographic Apatosaurus seen in the center makes the same noises as the Brachiosaurus from the first film, and we hear the same ambient cries later on. Apparently the Apatosaurus and the Brachiosaurus sound exactly the same, which is probably unlikely but I’m not going to complain because I absolutely love that sound effect!!

 

At this point of the movie we are introduced to Claire, perhaps the most divisive and controversial aspect of this film (and to think months ago I thought the Raptor Squad or the I. Rex would hold that title, but no, they’re pretty universally loved). She begins the film as a very professional business woman who is Jurassic World’s operation manager, making sure pretty much everything that needs to get done gets done. We see her talking to some company big shots who are interested in sponsoring a new dinosaur, and Claire points out that the creature they have created is nothing like they have ever seen before. You see, now that Jurassic World has been a successful theme park for several years, dinosaurs have began to loose their wonder. She states that people once likened de-extinction to magic but now a kid looks at Stegosaurus like an elephant at the city zoo. Of course, this idea is a parallel on how modern day audiences need more than CGI dinosaurs on the big screen to fill a movie theater even though Jurassic Park blew away audiences on the effects alone (the good screenplay was a nice touch, though). But this does beg the question, would we get bored of dinosaurs if we brought them back to life?

 When you think about it, getting to Jurassic World isn’t exactly easy, nor would everyone be able to do it. You can’t just go there, you need a plane and a boat just to reach it. It’s not like going to the zoo where you only have to drive across town and pay 10 to 20 dollars at most to get in. Seeing dinosaurs would still be an amazing experience for the common person. Than again, in this world dinosaur footage and documentaries from Jurassic World would probably bombard news stations and channels like Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and History. Seeing them alive constantly on TV may eventually make them just another part of our modern world.

After the pitch meeting, Claire makes her way to the Control Center, where she announces that the pitch was a success. Soon Jurassic World will be graced by ‘Verizon Wireless Presents The Indominus Rex‘. Lowery, the comic relief tech guy, hates this blatant product placement and quips that they might as well let the companies name the dinosaurs after themselves like the sports stadiums, which actually isn’t an invalid or exaggerated point (although I do think Pepsi-saurus does have a nice ring to it). We also see that Lowery is wearing an original Jurassic Park T shirt, which Claire points out is probably in bad taste (and creating a new dinosaur park while the branding team tries to sweep the old one under the rug isn’t). But Lowery is a Jurassic Park hipster, and comments that the original park was legit, as it didn’t need to rely on corporate pandering and genetic hybrids to keep people interested.

Oh my God, he’s one of us!

Now, I think I should put my two cents on how I think Lowery even acquired this T Shirt. He says he bought it off of Ebay, but where did the poster get if from. Most people say the original gift shop from the park, but I personally don’t think that it’s outside the realm of possibility that before the park’s opening T shirts for Jurassic Park were manufactured and shipped to retail stores on the mainland, but when it hit the fan this merchandise was quickly recalled, but some sneaky retail worker took a few for himself knowing one day they may be worth some money. IDK, that’s just my personal theory.

At this point, we find out that one of the Pachycephalosaurus’ has escaped, and the creature name is shorthanded as a ‘Pachy’. Unfortunately, in the UK the term ‘paki’ is a derogatory term used towards people from Pakistan, and this hasn’t escaped the all encompassing reach of the Internet. Most are pointing this out in a tongue in cheek sort of way, but I’m sure there are some out there who see this as intentionally offensive. You know, Poe’s law and all.

Anyway, Claire starts to get impatient that the situation isn’t being handled as efficiently as she would hope. In this scene Lowery points out one of Claire’s personality quirks, in the fact that she is so analytical that she only sees the animals like they’re numbers on a spread sheet, and perhaps she sees other human beings in the same light judging by the way she treated her nephews in an earlier scene. What is her response to Lowery’s accusation of her being a cold and unfeeling robot person?

“Clean up your work space, it’s chaotic”.

 

Now excuse me, I’m off to slap our logo on some cans of Barbasol.

Yeah, the corporate satire doesn’t really work when this film has product placement out the wazoo. I bet Verizon Wireless sponsored this movie too, didn’t it?

It is at this point where we meet Simon Masrani, the owner of Jurassic World and the massive Masrani corporation. Like I said in my initial reaction post, Simon surprised me in how likable he was. I thought he would be at best a boring character and at worst a cringe-worthy stereotype, but he was an incredibly well rounded and charismatic character, to the point that several audience members in my showing were upset when he dies later (yeah, spoilers).

Anyway, Claire shows off the new dinosaur to Simon; the vicious Indominus Rex. Masrani shows quite a range of emotion in this scene, he seems both intrigued, excited, and yet quite fearful of the new creature. He says the beast would give the parents nightmares, and remarks that’s a fantastic thing when Claire asks if that’s good. He knows this will be a great attraction, but when he notices some cracks in the glass and learns about the creature’s aggressive tendencies he orders for some greater measures to be taken. A more one dimensional character would either be completely blind to the problems and only care about the money he would make off the creature or downright disapprove of it and claim it to be too dangerous. But Masrani reacts completely believable in the situation.

Simon wants Claire to contact Owen Grady, one of the dinosaur handlers, to get his opinion on how safe and secure the paddock is for the I Rex. Owen, played by Chris Pratt, has an interesting hobby. He trains raptors.

Wow, raptors can be tamed? Philosoraptor, did you know about this?

Raptors can’t be tamed. Raptors can’t be controlled. They do all those exercises because they find it amusing and they get free food from it.

Whatever you say, Raptor.

Since the Raptors are the first dinosaurs we get a good look at in the film, I think this is a good time to discuss the special effects. I’ve heard so much negativity on how the CGI in the first film was so much better than the one in this movie, and to those people I say you should probably take off our nostalgia glasses. Yes, the dinosaurs in the movie never look convincing, but I want you to really analyze how the raptors looked in the first film.

They’re actually not all that convincing.

Let me clarify this. The practical raptors in the first movie look BEYOND amazing!!

Still terrifying and completely convincing.

But the CGI ones?

Sigh…

As awesome as the kitchen scene from the first movie is, it’s probably the scene where the CGI dinosaurs looked the most fake. Thankfully, most of that scene is done with practical effects, but I’m still taken out of it when the computer raptors show up. The raptors in the new film are so much more detailed and much more fluid, the only problem is that they still look like CG, and that’s the fact people will forever latch onto. That being said, Jurassic World would have benefited if there was much more use of practical effects.

Anyway, Owen and his partner Barry have been studying the raptors intelligence through these exercises, but head of Jurassic World’s security division and overall scumbag Vic Hoskins thinks the animals have potential as military assets. Like I’ve said before, this is my least favorite character in the movie. Nix that, I can’t STAND this character. Everything he says is so over the top and cartoony. He’s such an obvious bad guy and not even in the entertaining way. He doesn’t make good points when he should, he spouts out clunky exposition, and he takes me out of the movie every time he’s on screen. It’s just a chore to watch the parts he’s in.

Thankfully, some exciting stuff happens to wash out the taste of Hoskins’ monologuing. An inexperienced worker accidentally falls into the raptor pit trying to save a pig and gets cornered by the dinosaurs. Owen acts quickly and diverts the raptors attention on himself, leaving for the exit at the very last minute and thus saving the kid. This scene shows that although the raptors don’t pounce on him nearly as quickly as they would anyone else, the creatures are still dangerous and probably would have killed Owen if given the chance. I absolutely love this dynamic.

Meanwhile, we see Zack and Gray messing around in the park, looking at awesome attractions like the Gentle Giants petting zoo, where children are allowed to physically abuse infant dinosaurs.

I’m choking!

Of course, Zack thinks thinks the petting zoo is for babies (how dare you say such a thing?!). Even the T. rex feeding show doesn’t get his full attention, despite the fact that any sane person would have their eyes glued to the gory freak show.

Now, you’re going to have to forgive me because I’m trying to remember which plot points happened where from memory at at this point it’s been a bit since I’ve seen the movie, and I don’t completely remember when each little thing happens in the movie, so the placement of scenes in my review may be a little bit off. I believe at this point of the movie Claire gets a call from her sister asking her how her nephews are doing. Claire admits to not being with them personally, which makes her sister begin to break down over the phone. Now, I’ve said before that I don’t think that Claire’s character is nearly as sexist as some make her out to be, but this is the only moment where I begin to raise an eyebrow. After Claire makes fun of her sister for using ‘mom slangs’ (which was an admittedly funny moment), her sister says that they do work and Claire will find out when she has kids. Claire corrects her by saying ‘if’, only for her sister to reinforce ‘when’. Yeah, I can see why some people make the argument that this film seems oddly obsessed with forcing this idea that Claire needed to be fixed from her stuffy worker-ness by embracing her nurturing side. If looked at simply it would seem that the film is trying to send a message that working women can’t be likable until they embrace a traditional motherly role, a moral that many a feminist would savagely tear apart. And yes, even to me this whole exchange made me think twice, but on the flip side those arguments do insinuate that having children is somehow sexist, which it certainly is not. I tend to see a different story arch for Claire, and I’ll touch on that more later.

Anyway, we then go on to that infamous ‘sexist’ scene where Claire asks Owen to check on the Indominus’ paddock. And yes, I do understand why this scene irked some people the way it did, but for me personally, I think it works well in the context of the film. This is where we find out Claire and Owen once dated, which is of course going to lead to awkward conversation. And the scene does give us some moments that I do find genuinely funny, in a snarky sort of way. My only real problem with the scene is that it does kind of stop the action, but thankfully from this point on we get a lot of cool scenes.

We then get to see the boys at the mosasaur attraction, which is actually so cool that Zach manages to look up from his phone for a second! After seeing the monster from the surface, the seats actually go down to a lower level so you can see the mosasaur from underwater. This whole performance garners cheers from the audience, both in the movie and in the movie theater. Zach, still genuinely enjoying the show, then turns to his brother and asks ‘you want to see something else cool’.  Then the movie jumps to this.

 

Hmm, subtle.

We never find out what that cool thing Zach was talking about, so I have to assume the movie was referring to obvious product placement. Nice.

Anyway, Claire and Owen make their way to the Indominus paddock, only to find that the creature doesn’t appear to be in the enclosure. She doesn’t come when food is offered, no heat signatures are being picked up on the computers, and there seem to be claw marks that lead all the way up the walls. Claire, realizing what this all entails, makes her way to the control room where she says a tracking device implanted in the I. Rex’s skin can be, well, tracked (why they didn’t make it so you can access the tracking device’s signal from the computers in the paddock I can’t tell). Meanwhile, Owen and a few other workers enter the habitat to investigate, which I think is beyond stupid but that’s just me. Yeah, there are a lot of plot contrivances and idiotic decisions made in this scene in order to have the Indominus escape, but hey, I honestly don’t care. Let’s see some dino carnage.

Yes, it would seem that the dinosaur didn’t escape from her cage, but instead concocted a brilliant plan to fool the puny humans into thinking that she escaped (which she probably thought up of while twirling her feathery handlebar mustache while maniacally crying out ‘MWAHAHAHA!!!). Yep, we’ve got an evil genius dinosaur on our hands.

The I. rex chases Owen and the other workers, grabbing on of them with her oddly dexterous hand before tearing him into two pieces (poor poor man, he should have known better than be a minority character running away from a monster with an A-list white actor). Owen escapes from the paddock while the gate doors close, but the dinosaur is able to bust through them.

Now, let me go onto record and say that this scene is absolutely terrifying. It’s tense, suspenseful, and really brings back the horror vibe that the other sequels sorely lacked. Owen hides from the creature under a truck, while Indy’s attention is turned to the big fat worker Owen was with a few moments ago. The film set this guy up as kind of a joke character, but I have to hand it to the movie, the scene where he’s about to be eaten is extremely disturbing. He even starts to cry before it happens, which really humanizes him and makes you feel sorry for the guy. That also makes the scene just that much more terrifying. Indy swallows the guy in a single bite, and then turns his attention to Owen, still hiding under the truck. Owen, using his quick wits, decides to mask his scent from the dinosaur by dousing himself in gasoline. It works, and the I. rex leaves him unharmed. (Wait a minute, didn’t they say earlier that the I. rex can see body heat like snakes? Wouldn’t that mean she could sense Owen even if he disguised his scent? Or is the smell of gasoline really that repulsive. Personally I think it’s kind of nice. Woah, my room’s turning into tie dye….)

Jesus, the Indominus is a bad@$$.

Claire returns to the control room, with everyone visually horrified. She attempts to declare a state of emergency, but Masrani suggests instead to have their own teams quietly take down the dinosaur without alerting the guests. Even though any genre savvy movie goer knows this is a bad idea, I do see where Simon is coming from. If the public finds out a dangerous attraction escaped, Jurassic World’s reputation would be damaged beyond repair. That’s billions of dollars down the drain. In the moment, it does make sense to have their team of trained professionals who are there specifically if this sort of thing were to happen to try and take it down before its too late. Unfortunately, we soon see why this is a bad idea.

After a scene with Zach and Gray discussing their divorced parents (like I said, a subplot I feel doesn’t really belong), Owen enters the control room ready to give Claire a piece of his mind (and rightly so). He sees that the team is being sent with non lethal weapons, in order to protect their million dollar investment, and firmly states these men are going to die.

  

The team approaches wear the tracking device says the creature is located, only to find a chunk of skin lying on the forest floor. It turns out to be the tracking device, and apparently Indy clawed it out herself. Owen states that she must have remembered where they put it in, but I also remember Claire saying the device emits an electric shock if it gets to close to certain points. I’m sure the electric pulses probably clued her in to where the device was at, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she still set a trap. Unbeknownst to the soldiers, Indy is hiding in plain sight, as she apparently has a camouflage ability. Sadly, she only uses it once in the film, but when she does it’s incredibly chilling. The soldiers do their best to capture the beast, but one by one they get trampled, crushed, torn apart, and swallowed whole. Owen was right in assuming the whole endeavor was a suicide mission.

Owen urges that they evacuate the island, with Claire responding that they would never reopen. Of course, Owen isn’t having any of that, and demands that they use lethal weapons to destroy the creature. He then goes up to Masrani, and tells him to go talk to the guys who made this thing.

  

We then cut to the kids entering the Gyrosphere attraction, being the last ones to enter the ride before everything get’s closed because of the escaped dinosaur predicament. Just as Zach and Gray leave, the teenage ride operator gets a call that probably went along the lines of ‘A KILLER MUTANT DINOSAUR ESCAPED SHUT DOWN THIS RIDE NOW!!!!”. The kid reaches for his manual trying to find the protocol for this situation, and tells the people in the gigantic line that the ride is closed. They are all visually upset and begin to yell at him, many of them in different languages, prompting the teen to simply say ‘I just work here’.

Watching this scene got me thinking. Yeah it’s funny the teenage ride operator has to placate hundreds of angry tourists in an actual situation, but why is a teenager operating this ride alone anyway? Heck, how did this kid get this job anyway. It’s not like you can walk or drive to Jurassic World. It’s an island in the middle of the ocean! How did he even get here? How did he even get hired? This kid doesn’t look like he can hold a job at McDonalds. Is he like the son of some big shot working at Masrani or something?

“Son, you know that dinosaur theme park my company has been working on? How would you like a job there?”

“Oh boy, I love dinosaurs! Thanks dad! What do you need me to do?”

” You can be a ride operator who works far away from any dinosaur that has to stand in the searing Central American heat and deal with rowdy tourists from all over the world.’

“Um, thanks?”

Anyway, we now get to a scene where once again Masrani shows that he is actually a reasonable man. He confronts Dr Henry Wu, played by BD Wong returning from the original Jurassic Park. Thankfully, Wu gets much more to work with in this movie than the first, and actually displays his kind of mad scientist persona he had in the book while in the first movie he kind of comes off as just some nice guy. He explains that the reason the I. rex can change color and change it’s body temperature because of cuttlefish and tree frog DNA added for…ahem…adaptational purposes.

Oh, I’m sorry. I’m allergic to bull…

Yeah, those are some pretty specific choices to deal with some fairly minor problems. Really, you needed cuttlefish DNA just so it can survive an accelerated aging process? You needed tree frog DNA so it can adapt to a tropical environment? Did you not need this for the other dinosaurs? (Don’t worry, all will make sense at the end).

Still, Wu does make some good points. When Masrani asks for what purpose would they need a dinosaur that could do all these things, Henry states it’s because the higher ups wanted something cool and scary, and you can’t create a creature with exaggerated predator features without the corresponding behavioral traits. He also mentions that all the dinosaurs in the park are mutants like the I. rex and they’ve been doing this from the beginning because if they didn’t the dinosaurs would look very different.

   

Yes! Vindication!!!

So, this all but conforms the theory that the dinosaurs in the park look like old school reconstructions because they were made to look like what the public expected, not what they actually were.

Still, Masrani shuts down all of Wu’s work like a sensible man would, claiming that he never asked for a monster. Wu then states that what a monster is is relative, for a cat to a canary is a monster, and we’re just used to being the cat.

You know, that line looked a lot better on paper than it did out loud.

We return to the kids, who are in the Gyrosphere watching a helpful little instruction video hosted by Jimmy Fallon.

The voice you are hearing is Jimmy Fallon. We spared no expense.

It’s funny, seeing this in the theater, it was great to see the reactions of people who did not see this coming at all.

As for me, too bad this was leaked like a year ago.

Anyway, the kids finally get to see what they came for : Dinosaurs! They find themselves in happy herbivore valley surrounded by Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Stegosaurus, and Parasaurolophus. In reality, these dinosaurs were probably too aggressive to be viewed in this way, but you know movies : if it eats plants, then it’s nice!

Um, excuse me, Universal Studios. Yes, I would like to boycott this movie for depicting a stegosaurus holding it’s tail in a downward position, which would have been physically impossible for the animal. What are you trying to do, lie to us?!

Anyway, Zach, who has kind of been jaded throughout this entire movie, even begins to recognize the majestic beauty of these creatures. But nooooooooo, this isn’t good enough for him. After seeing a hole within the fence (I’m not sure how the whole was made, why it hasn’t been fixed yet, or why no one is keeping an eye on it), Zach gets the bright idea to go exploring outside the enclosed area. Gray protests this, saying that if they get caught they’ll be sent to jail and will end up making root beer in the toilet wait what?!

I think this is actually a good time to point out that in the original script, Gray was supposed to be autistic. Although they decided not to go that route in the film or make that fact explicit, a lot of that idea still comes through in the performance. It would explain the character’s obsession with numbers and stats, his overall intelligence when it comes to the dinosaurs, as well as some of his mannerisms and sayings that may have came off as strange to some movie goers. Even though they scrapped the idea, I still like to think the character has at least a minor form of autism or at least Asperger’s, and I think it’s a pretty sympathetic and positive depiction too. And anyone who knows someone with autism probably picked up the signs and quirks just like I did.

Anyway, while roaming through the forest the kids come across a group of Ankylosaurs, but are soon greeted by another, unexpected guest.

Oh crap.

You know, even though a lot of these scenes were in the original trailers, they still got gasp out of the audience when the I. rex showed up, probably because they now gully realize just how dangerous this thing is. In other words, those kids are screwed.

The I. rex tries to attack the Gyrosphere, but is distracted by the Ankylosaurs. While Indy fights the other dinosaurs, Zach and Gray are being thrown around like a beach ball. A lone Ankylosaurus puts up a valiant fight, but even it’s armored exterior is no match for Indy’s strength. With the Ankylosaur out of the way, she once again turns her attention to the kids. She slowly turns the face of sphere towards here, and effortlessly breaks into it with her claw.

This was another scene showed in many of the trailers, but even it still managed to get a terrified reaction from the audience. That’s how awesome they made this thing! The Indominus then opens it’s mouth and tries to wrap it’s jaws around the sphere, with the kids looking up only to see her open throat. She unhinges her mouth like a python, and at first I thought she was attempting to swallow the thing whole like an egg eating snake!

You know, like this!

Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. Instead she begins bashing the sphere on the ground, trying to open up the ball to get to the tasty treats inside.

Just like a Wonder Ball!

However, this process allows for the broken glass to create an opening, in which the kids escape from. With the creature still preoccupied by the Gyrosphere, they make a run for it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for Indy to catch up.

Jesus, that’s terrifying!

The kids find themselves at the base of a cliff, with body of water beneath. After some hesitation from Gray, which some found unrealistic given the current situation but I thought was fine under the lenses that Gray is slightly autistic (I hope I’m not offending anyone when I say that, the term is used on the internet so much as an insult that it’s almost impossible now to use it in the medical sense), the two jump into the water right before the I. rex can grab them with her jaws. Defeated, she goes off to find different prey, and the two brother bond after surviving the live or death situation they just experienced. You know, some people think that they handle the brothers growing closer together unrealistically quickly, but personally, if I went through THAT with my sibling I think we would have a new found appreciation for each other, not to mention the stuff they go through later.

Meanwhile, Claire finds out that Zach and Gray have gone off the trail and ask Owen if he can help her find the boys. When they reach the herbivore valley, they find the Indominus has already torn through the area and took a few casualties.

This scene with the apatosaurus is really the only time where practical effects are used and put front and center, and boy am I glad they did so. Sure, the skin texture is inaccurate, as sauropods had pebbly skin and this dinosaur is depicted like a traditional wrinkly pachyderm, but honestly I don’t care. I heard Chris Pratt was stunned when he saw how lifelike the creature was, and this was also Bryce Dallas Howard’s favorite scene to film because she was able to make an emotional connection with the thing. We see the apatosaur slowly dying, and it is absolutely painful to watch. It’s like seeing a big dog or horse slowly die, you don’t want to see such a large animal in pain. After a few moments, the animal finally falls asleep in death. Claire sheds a quiet tear, and so does most of the audience. No kidding, my eyes were watering during this scene, and many of my friends were holding back tears as well. Some of the audience was visually crying! It’s that effective. God, I wish they used more animatronics in this movie.

As our two leads look over the horizon, they see that the apatosaurus was just one of many that got killed. Still, none of them had any signs of being eaten. Owen states that she must be killing for sport, or just for the heck of it I guess. Why she would want to do this I don’t know. Maybe she’s still testing out how strong she is? Maybe she truly is evil and just kills things for the lulz. Like 4Chan.

Meanwhile, Zach and Gray continue to wander through the jungle, and eventually find the old visitor center from the first movie. It’s old and completely overtaken by nature, but still completely recognizable. And yes, the whole time they’re are there audience is bombarded with Easter eggs.

We see the banner ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth’ sitting on the ground, as well as the dilapidated dinosaur skeleton. Zach uses a bone from the skeleton and the banner to create an improvised torch, thus illuminating more Easter eggs like the Velociraptor and Parasaurolophus mural. Even the night vision goggles make and appearance. This all culminates to the kids finding the original Jeep vehicles from the first movie (which was a lot more subtle product placement than the Mercedes Benz because a Jeep seems like the kind of vehicle you would have in a safari park anyway!). We then have Zach turn to Gray and ask if he remembers the time they fixed up their uncle’s car and you know where this is going.

Yeah, the kids fix up the Jeeps and ride them off into freedom. I’m sorry but I just don’t buy it. Even though they do explain where they got fresh gas (a maintenance vehicle was attacked by the I. Rex near the visitor center that had fresh gas) I think 20 years standing around in the jungle would make these vehicles beyond repair. But of course Zach just happens to know how to work on cars, and of course they fix it and head off on their way. Owen and Claire also make it to the visitor center, and Owen echos the audience’s questions of how the heck these kids got one of those things to run. But before he can think too hard about the blatant plot convenience, the Indominus returns once more, and once again it’s chilling. Man, I’m so glad Jurassic Park is scary again!

Thankfully, the two are able to escape the monster when she is distracted by a helicopter in the sky. Said helicopter is being piloted by Masrani himself, as he is the only one left on the island with flying experience as everyone else has been evacuated. Why they decided to evacuate people who can fly a helicopter during a time where that skill would be needed I’m not sure, but I digress. We all know Masrani just wants to play hero here.

I am brave! I am a brave president!

In all honesty though, Masrani’s heroism is actually kind of noble.

The helicopters try to take down the beast with lethal gun fire this time, but to no avail. The I. rex then bursts her way through the Aviary that houses all the pterosaurs, and they all begin to fly out of the enclosure.

Thankfully she’s not talking to them like we all feared.

The pterosaurs, in their escape, begin to attack the helicopter. They eventually bring it down, and Masrani goes out with a bang.

Sorry, too soon?

Yeah, in a movie so full of unhealthy Hollywood spectacle, this is probably the most overt trailer shot in the entire film. And it is AWESOME for it!

Oh yeah, Masrani died. It’s supposed to be sad. My bad.

In all actuality, it kind of is. I remember people in the audience were actually visually upset when he died, which means the character actually connected with audiences. That’s a pretty impressive feat considering I thought he would be either a selfish business man at best or a racial stereotype at worst.

All right, next get on to our next trailer shots.

With the pterodactyl’s free, all hell is about to break loose. And no, these aren’t giant pelican Pteranodon’s or bug eating Dimorphodon’s like they probably were in real life. This is Jurassic Park god dang it! We have dragons and flying piranhas. Do you think they know subtlety?

Now, one of the biggest missed opportunities of the film is that there isn’t all that much dinosaur chaos interaction with the tourists. When I first heard the premise of this movie and found out the park would be open, I expected stuff like T. rex gobbling up crowds of people by the mouthful on Main Street, or raptors hunting down people hiding in restaurants. Heck, even the Indominus doesn’t interact with any park guests. Despite that, the movie does give us this scene. Flocks of Pteranodon and Dimorphodon descend onto the unsuspecting public, and begin biting and picking them up and stabbing them with their killer beaks and all that cliche and unscientific stuff you expect pterosaurs depicted in Hollywood would do. And it is GLORIOUS!! It’s like The Birds on steroids! It’s silly yet completely terrifying!

At this point Zach and Gray have made it back to the main park, just in time to see the carnage. They reunite with their care taker Zara, only for the most painfully glorious thing to happen.

Come to Jurassic World they said. It’ll be fun they said.

Zara then goes through the most over the top and needlessly cruel death scene of any character in the franchise (as well as being the first female death of the series). She is picked up by the pterosaur, dropped only to be picked up by another one, fought over in the air, and then dropped into the lagoon. Then the pterosaurs continue to fight over her in the water, only for a different creature to do her in.

And there’s our second trailer shot.

Yep, she and the pteranodon get eaten at the same time by the Mosasaurus. And the worst part about it is that she was still very much alive when it happened. She was probably still alive when it closed it’s mouth. She may have been swallowed whole and conscious, completely aware of what is going on and contemplating her fate. That is terrifying!

Owen and Claire finally find themselves in the mayhem as he and a group of other guys try to shoot down the pterodactyls. However, a Dimorphodon then attacks him from behind. Thankfully, Claire shoots the creature off his back, now looking less like Rule 64 John Hammond and more like Ellen Ripley. It is at this moment that Owen realizes ‘wait a minute, she’s awesome!’ and they share a climactic Hollywood style kiss!

I think this is a good time for me to talk about what I think of Claire’s story arch in the movie. Lots of people think that the movie is trying to tell us that Claire was broken because she was a business minded individual, and that she needed to be fixed by having a man in her life and embracing her nurturing side with her nephews. I think this is a very blunt and pessimistic viewpoint of the movie. What do I think her story was? She just became less of a stick in the mud, that’s all. Earlier in the film when people started berating her for looking at the dinosaurs like numbers on a piece of paper, I think she may have developed a similar attitude towards people in general. She closed herself off to any potential friendships, relationships, and even to her family. I don’t think that the message of the film was that she needed to embrace her femininity, I think she needed to embrace her humanity. She needed to learn to care again. And you can still be a successful person with that attitude, it’s not like if you care about people your the kind of woman that stays in kitchen. Some people said that she forfeited the park to embrace her female side, but really, she didn’t forfeit the park. It’s not like she walked away from a secure position because she wanted to live a home life. No, the park fell from under her. She lost the park because of the disaster. On top of all this, does everyone forget just how much of an active role she plays in the latter part of the film? She’s awesome!

Anyway, it is at this point that Owen finds out that Hoskins took over after Masrani’s death and is planning to use the raptors to take down the Indominus. Owen makes his way to the raptor enclosure and sees a bunch of guys prepping them for war. Vic goes up to Owen, and he gives Vic a well deserved and audience pleasing punch! Owen tries to talk Vic out of doing it, but Vic then asks him how it will feel tomorrow when the headlines read that these animals helped save lives. That is a nice sentiment, but even if the raptors are successful I’m sure the headlines tomorrow will still be “Hundreds Dead, Injured and Missing in Horrific Theme Park Incident’. 

Owen realizes that the mission is going to go forward with or without him, so he decides that if they’re going to do it they’ll have to do it his way. So the team equips the raptors and they are set loose to find the Indominus Rex. And this is where we get that now infamous motorcycle sequence.

Yeah! Raptor Squad!

Eventually, the raptors are able to track down the Indominus, but instead of attacking, the animals begin communicating. This is when Owen realizes that the I. rex is actually part raptor, and has just recruited the raptors on her side.

What a…nah, too easy.

Now, the Nostalgia Critic ripped this scene apart pretty hard, and even threw a pretty dramatic tantrum over it’s perceived stupidity. And it’s not for the reason you may think. Some people thought this plot point came out of nowhere and was kind of a stupid twist for the sake of being a twist. But the Nostalgia Critic hated it not because of that, but because he thought it was way too obvious. To him the Indominus just looked like a big raptor, and even criticized the design for being incredibly lazy, like they just put a raptor picture in PhotoShop, enlarged it, and colored it white.

That being said, he was the kind of guy who was expecting something like this when he found out about the ‘genetic hybrid’ stuff.

He even criticized the characters for not being able to figure it out, and claimed it as one of the most obvious plot twists ever.

And all I have to say to that is…really?

I mean, I really like you Doug, but really?

Are they really that similar?

I mean, sure, I can see why you would think it’s a lazy design if you were expecting a real mutated freak, and yes the long arms were one of the things that clued him in, but do you really think this is one of the most obvious twists in history? I don’t think anyone in my theater saw it coming (the only reason I did was because I follow leaks) and I certainly don’t think the characters were dumb for not figuring it out. They only look superficially similar, in the fact that they’re both theropods. Nothing else, really.

Now, what do I think of the twist?

It’s OK. I think it comes kind of out of nowhere and then kind of rushed, but it does give way to an awesome scene.

With the raptors now out of Owen’s control, we finally get to see them the way we wanted them to be. As bloodthirsty killing machines!!!

The raptors have gone rogue, and start killing the army guys one by one. It’s absolutely glorious. Even Barry gets attacked by Blue, but thankfully this movie doesn’t pull the ‘black guy always dies’ trope. Heck, now that I think of it, this movie has some pretty equal opportunity death in it. First a Hispanic, than a fat white guy, an Asian, a bunch of other white guys, a hot British woman, this is a movie where everyone can die together! That’s progress :-D!!!

Unfortunately, during this whole fiasco, one of the raptors does die. And when I say ‘die’ I mean blown to smithereens by a rocket cannon. It’s kinda funny in how sudden it is, but also really sad since it happens right in front of Owen, and right when it looks like she’s about to comply!

The raptors eventually make their way to Claire and the kids, who have locked themselves in a utility vehicle. She has to drive off the escape the raptors, who all seem a bit too obsessed in trying to kill them.

Bashing through the window of a speeding vehicle? That can’t be healthy.

Some raptors even try to come in through the back, but the kids are able to keep them at bay with a cattle prod. Zip zap. They eventually escape the raptors, and she and the kids reunite with Owen at the Innovation Center. They see that the entire lab has been evacuated, and then walk into a room that they probably weren’t supposed to see. In it they see a bunch of genetically modified creatures in terrariums, like a feathery lizard, a fin backed salamander, and a strangely intelligent chameleon. Then on a computer screen, we see this.

Wait, what?

Is that the….Stegoceratops from the toyline?

Oh My God it is!!!

So apparently, director Colin Trevorrow wanted this guy to be in the film, and he was going to be encountered in the jungle while the kids were lost in the restricted zone, but apparently Colin’s son talked him out of it. I wonder how that conversation went?

Colin: “Son, look at this new dinosaur we made for the movie. It’s part T. rex, part raptor! Isn’t it awesome?

Son: “Wow, that is cool! And since it still looks like a dinosaur people won’t think it’s dumb.

Colin: “So, what about this? A Stegosaurus with the head of a Triceratops!

Son: “OK Dad, the first one was cool, but now it’s kind of lame. Do you really think people want to see that in a Jurassic Park movie? Don’t you think you’re pushing it too far? How will people react if that thing pops out of nowhere? Have you no sense of limitation?

Colin: “…..aren’t you nine?”

Anyway, we then see a bunch of army guys come in and take all the stuff away. Then Hoskins walks in all smug like the scumbag he is. We then found out that he and Dr. Wu had an agreement to make dinosaurs that can be used for military purposes. That’s why the Indominus can camouflage and hide from thermal scanning, it was created not to be an attraction but to be used as a weapon. But before Hoskins can go off on his villainous spiel, a raptor comes in. Vic tries to placate it, hoping that it’s at least somewhat tame. He reaches out his hand, and the raptor does the most sensible thing anyone has done in this entire movie.

She bites it off.

Hoskins screams in agony as the raptor lunges to take out the rest of him. Blood splatters on the wall, and the whole audience yells out a collective “YES! THANK GOD!!!”

However, the raptors are now after our heroes. Thankfully, Gray uses some quick wit to distract the raptors. In the Innovation Center, there is a device that can conjure up full sized holographic images of dinosaurs. He uses it to bring up a Jurassic Park style Dilophosaurus, head frill and all.

Dilophosaurus, you have been missed.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t last for long, and our heroes are once again cornered by our three remaining raptors. Thankfully, in the true contrived Hollywood fashion, Owen is able to bring the raptors back on his side. And right on time too, because Indy has made her final climatic appearance. But this time, the raptors are no longer under her control, and they begin to attack!

The raptors all jump on top of the Indominus, and it’s a battle to the death!! Sadly, the I. Rex makes pretty short work out of them. Blue is knocked away almost immediately, and the other two raptors are then crushed and one is thrown into a fire and burned alive!!! With all their options exhausted, Claire knows there is only one thing left they can do: The Godzilla Threshold.

So, what’s the Godzilla Threshold you may ask? Simple.

How do you defeat something big, scary, and destructive?

With something else big, scary, and destructive of course!

Claire calls Lowery, who is still in the control room, and orders him to open up Paddock 9. He reluctantly does so, calling her crazy (and for good reason in my opinion). The paddock door slowly opens, as Claire ignites a single flare. Two beady yellow eyes emerge from the darkness, and a familiar face is finally shown.

The Queen has returned.

Claire runs back towards Main Street (still in heels, mind you), and throws the flare straight towards the Indominus Rex. And then, in the greatest moment of ‘TAKE THAT’ in movie history, she busts through the skeleton of the Spinosaurus! She has returned. It’s the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

I’m back….

And thus the battle of the ages begins. The T. rex and the I. rex immediately embrace in battle, biting and clawing at each other. It’s absolutely glorious. But then, the I. rex gets the upper hand. She knocks poor Rexy onto the ground, and just when it looks like she’s about to rip into the neck, we hear that familiar bark.

Blue comes out of nowhere, with the triumphant Lost World soundtrack blaring (Thank you Michael Giacchino!). She jumps onto the I. rex’s back, distracting her long enough for the T. rex to come back up and ram her against the building and OMG THEY’RE WORKING TOGETHER IT’S A RAPTOR T.REX TAG TEAM!!!!

 

AHH! It’s so awesome and adorable all at the same time!!!

The dinosaurs put up a valiant fight, while our heroes do their best not to get caught in the crossfire. Eventually, they knock Indy to the edge of the lagoon. She’s injured from the battle but still standing her ground. But before she can continue, someone else decides to make a triumphant return.

Yeah, you didn’t think you saw the last of me, did yah?

The Mosasaurus comes out of the water and drags Indy to the bottom of the sea. The T. rex and Blue look at each other for a moment, with Blue visually scared of Rexy. But instead of attacking, they both go on their separate ways.

The next day. we see all the survivors of the incident, with Claire and Owen next to the kids. Zach and Gray’s parents return, happy to see them alive and that divorce subplot never fully paying off. But who cares, I just saw a sea lizard take down a mutant dinosaur, my life is complete! Owen and Claire decide to stay together, and we return to Isla Nublar for one final shot. We see the T. rex standing over an observation building. with Michael Giacchino’s amazing score blaring over it. She looks ahead of her, Jurassic World now in ruins. She has reclaimed her kingdom, and lets out that classic triumphant roar.

Cut to black.

Yeah, take that!!!

This movie KILLED!!!!!

It made over 500 million dollars in it’s opening week, that’s the biggest opening weekend of all time!!!! And week after week it remained on top, beating out other movies like Inside Out and Ted 2.

Sorry Pixar. Good effort though.

Ted, you got what you deserved.

Needless to say I had an excellent time watching this movie, and although it did have quite a few problems, the awesome moments more than made up for it. On a story level I would probably give this movie a C, but on a pure unadulterated awesomeness level his movie is a perfect 10 out of 10!! On a dinosaur accuracy level….

Let’s not even get started on that.

Well, now that this movie is out of the way I can get back to my regularly scheduled program. We’re Back A Dinosaur Story mini review will be directly after this, and after that my review of the Jurassic Park 3 and Jurassic World toys. I’ll also be updating my Ink and Paint Zoology blog again, just in case you thought that was dead. Hope to see you guys soon.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #59: Jurassic Park Toys part 1

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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

As a kid, I absolutely loved dinosaur toys. Anytime I was at Toys R Us or Walmart and I saw a little plastic dinosaur I didn’t have yet I begged my parents to by it for me. From the ages of 4 to 12 nearly every toy I owned was a dinosaur. They completely outnumbered any other kind of toy I had by at least 10 to 1. But then, came the most horrible change of my entire life.

I became a preteen.

I figured I was too old for all the toys I had, and decided I needed to get rid of them. Coincidentally, my parents were having a yard sale just around that time. I gathered up EVERY SINGLE TOY I HAD and sold them all that very day. As you can imagine, a yard sale that has toys that aren’t just being thrown away because no one wants to play with them but are actually cool and in good condition was very popular. By the end of the day, all my dinosaurs were gone. I probably had over 100 individual dinosaur toys.

I made $40.

I spent it all the next day at a mini golf/go karts/arcade entertainment place.

It’s a decision I regret to this very day.

Strangely enough, very few of those toys were actually Jurassic Park toys. One of the reasons I had so many dinosaur toys was because it’s easy to find cheap 99 cent ones. I didn’t care, I just loved the fact it was a dinosaur. However, JP toys always tended to be more on the expensive side, so I only got a hold of those on special occasions.

However, the biggest reason I didn’t have that many JP toys was simply because I wasn’t around for the first two. I am unfortunately a millennial, which means I am the mouth breathing inconsiderate everything-is-handed-to-me-and-I-will-never-appreciate-it-because-I-am-of-the most-recent-generation scum of the earth. Direct my well deserved hate in the comment section. I only saw the other two JP films after the fact, so I was really only around for the Jurassic Park 3 toys.

And they kind of sucked.

But thankfully, through the Internet I have discovered just how awesome the toys for the earlier films were. While I wallow in a pit of sadness knowing I will never be able to get my hands on these amazing figurines, I’ll go ahead an review them on my blog.

Note, if you want better, more informative reviews of dinosaur figurines, go to the Dinosaur Toy Blog.

http://dinotoyblog.com/

BTW, wanna know which dinosaur toys I bought the most?

I’ll review you guys later.

OK, let’s get started.

I’m going to return to the old format I used for the earlier reviews in my blog for this. I’ll be going down a list of each of the dinosaurs represented in these toylines and look at them individually. For the most part, I’ll be going in order of production codes. So that means we begin with the first toy produced in the first Jurassic Park toyline for the first Jurassic Park movie: Dimetrodon.

 Now, it might seem strange for the first Jurassic Park toy to be produced to be of a creature that didn’t even appear in the film, but you know if you’re making a dinosaur toy line you have to add Dimetrodon. You know, even though Dimetrodon didn’t live in the Mesozoic era, wasn’t a dinosaur, or even a reptile like we know them today. But like most dinosaur toy lines, they don’t care. The creature takes on an especially reptilian appearance,with the tail looking like that of a crocodile! The general scientific consensus is that the skin of a Dimetrodon would more likely look like a bald mammal’s skin as opposed to pebbly reptilian scales. But to toy manufacturers, Dimetrodon is nothing more than a lizard with a fin. But really, there is nothing truly wrong with that. The toy is pretty cool, and one I wish I owned as a kid. It definitely looks like something you would see at Jurassic Park, and I kind of wish they would put one of these in the movies. The trading card that came with the toy depicts a scene that begs to be included in a film.

Why must you tease me so?

The next dinosaur in the toy line is Dilophosaurus, a dinosaur that actually appeared in the movie. You know, despite some of the inaccuracies (such as the backwards facing palms and the oddly flat and lizard like feet) this actually isn’t a bad looking Dilophosaurus considering. In fact, it actually looks better than the dilophosaurus seen in the film. The body structure and shape of the skull is much better looking, but still not completely accurate. I notice they decided not to add the frill either, which I think was a good idea for reasons I’ll get into later. You can, however, make it spit water, which is something every kid probably wanted to do. All in all, this Dilophosaurus toy is probably the best looking one out of all the toy lines, and you’ll see why later.

Next up is Velociraptor, arguably the star of the whole franchise. Given how popular these dinosaurs were in the film, it’s only natural that these guys would have a lot of toys made for them. And when I say a lot of toys, I mean A LOT OF FREAKIN’ TOYS. There are more raptor toys than any other dinosaur in the series, and I can totally see the appeal. They’re smaller than the other dinosaurs, but still fierce and dangerous. These guys were basically made to be toys. But if you’re looking for accurate dromaeosaurs, than you should know a freakin’ lot better than to start looking in the Jurassic Park franchise.

You think they  would know by now.

You think they would know by now.

Wait a minute. Philosoraptor, is that you?!It sure has been I can’t remember the last time

Hey DG, long time no see.

Hey DG, long time no see.

Wow, I completely forgot to write you and the rest of my characters into my posts it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. What brings you around?

Well, it's been a while since you've done anything JP related, and I figured I'd come around for old times sake. Even take the form of the raptors like I used to do back when I was evil.

Well, it’s been a while since you’ve done anything JP related, and I figured I’d come around for old times sake. Even take the form of the raptors like I used to do back when I was evil.

You were never evil. Just misunderstood. So then, what do you think of this particular toy?

It's decent as far as Jurassic Park raptors go. But I must warn you, I looked over the other raptors, and things go waay down hill from here. Just sayin'.

It’s decent as far as Jurassic Park raptors go. But I must warn you, I looked over the other raptors, and things go waay down hill from here. Just sayin’.

Hmm, looks like I’ll see.

Surprisingly, the next dinosaur in the line is also one that doesn’t appear in the film, or anything else JP related for that matter. We actually get Coelophysis, which I think is actually a pretty surprising choice. Of course, they’re still not very accurate. The hands have the usual problems and there aren’t enough fingers (the toy only has three when a real Coelophysis had five). However, the strangest features these toys have can be seen by their description on the box.

Constrictor Bodies?

One of the features these toys have is that their necks and tails are made of rubber with a bendable wire running through them, so you can bend the bodies to different poses. I think that’s a really cool feature, but it seems to be insinuating that the Coelophysis use their necks and tails to constrict victims like a snake, which is beyond impossible. Still, as ridiculous as the concept is, that still seems like something they would do in the Jurassic Park movies. Coelophysis is another one of those dinosaurs I would like to see in a film, and once again the trading card reminds me why.

Stop being so awesome!

 Our next creature represented in the toyline is Pteranodon, and this toy actually marks the first time this creature is depicted in the franchise. And yes, this is the same Pteranodon from the first Toy Story movie.

Childhood enhanced!

Unfortunately, the pteranodon has all the common trappings of pop culture depictions of pterosaurs. The leathery wings, the pebbly scaly body, and worst of all the eagle-like talons are all present. But what’s strangest of all is the fact that the Pteranodon depicted on the trading card is much more realistic.

It even has fur!

But as far as this toy goes, the pterosaurs depicted in the later toy lines look much better, even if the later ones still remain completely inaccurate.

We finally get a Tyrannosaurus figure in the line, but this one is labeled as a ‘Young T. Rex’, and is much smaller than the one that comes in later. I’m not sure why they created a ‘young’ T. rex for the toy line; maybe it’s a reference to the young Rex from the novel, or maybe it was made to justify creating a smaller, cheaper T. rex toy. In any case, this particular toy can suffice as a normal T. rex for anyone who doesn’t want to shill out the money for the much bigger one. As far as accuracy goes, it’s a fairly standard JP Rex, and there’s not a whole lot to talk about that I haven’t already said before. This particular toy comes in two color variants, one brown and one green, and they both come with another awesome trading card.

I just freaking love the artwork on these things.

Next we’ve got Stegosaurus, a dinosaur that didn’t appear in the first film but get’s a pretty major appearance in the next one. Surprisingly, the look of the creature remains pretty consistent, even in color scheme. This may not be the best Stegosaurus toy I’ve seen, but it’s miles ahead of most of them, especially for the early 90’s. The front legs aren’t sprawled out, the tail is high and off the ground, I’m actually pretty impressed.

The Triceratops on the other hand could have been much better. As it is, it’s not very movie accurate nor accurate to the dinosaur itself. Everything about it just seems wonky, from the shape of the head to it’s placement on the neck all the way down to the length of it’s legs and tail. I can say with confidence that later Triceratops toys look much better.

I think I’ll also take this moment to point out that a lot of these dinosaur toys have a feature called ‘Dino Damage’. It’s basically just a removable piece of the plastic hide that unveils red tendon and bone to simulate dinosaur battle damage. The piece is removable and can be put back on so your dinosaur doesn’t constantly look like it has a life threatening gash on it’s side. More on that later.

 

We finally have a proper full sized Tyrannosaurus figure in the line, and frankly I think it’s great. It’s much better proportioned than the earlier Rex (I know it was meant to be a young one but still) and it also seems to be a bit more scientifically accurate to boot. The coloration still isn’t very movie accurate, but it does bring to mind the color described in the novel, which is just fine with me.

Next up we have another Velociraptor, with this one advertised as ‘electronic’ with the ability to make screeching noises. In some ways, this guy is an improvement. The palms are actually facing each other, which is actually quite a victory for me. Other thing about it though, just look weird.

What's with my color?! I look like freakin' Ronald McDonald!!!!

What’s with my color?! I look like freakin’ Ronald McDonald!!!! Ughh, and these hands. I guess that’s were all the frog DNA went.

Well Philosoraptor, just be happy you’re not as ugly as the electronic Dilophosaurus.

Ughh!

This Dilophosaurus is certainly not as good looking as the earlier, with the streamline body looking much dopier and frog faced. One notable feature, however, is that they decided to add the neck frill. Luckily, they had the foresight to make it a removable accessory. I’ll explain why that works better in a later submission.

 Next on our list of ‘prehistoric animals I never thought in a million years would be in a Jurassic Park toyline’ is Lycaenops, a therapsid (what we used to call ‘mammal-like reptile) from the Permian. Now, I understand why the Permian therapsid Dimetrodon got it’s own toy here, since that guy is almost universally (but still wrongly) associated with dinosaurs, but Lycaenops?!

Now, I’m not complaining, as I think it is an awesome addition to the franchise, but I still think it’s an unexpcted choice. Still, it is always nice to see a gorgonopsid portrayed in mainstream media (and long before Primeval I must add) and it is surely a welcomed addition to Jurassic Park.

Our next creature is just as obscure and surprising as the Lycaenops. Meet Tanystropheus, a Triassic reptile known for it’s incredibly long neck, which was longer than it’s body and tail combined. Much like the Coelophysis, the neck and tail are made of flexible rubber with a bendable wire running through it, so that you can contort the creature into any pose you would like. Once again, a pretty cool feature, even if it is sadly inaccurate. Even though Tanystropheus’ neck was incredibly long, it was composed of only a few VERY long vertebrae. Since the neck bones were so long and rigid, it is thought that Tanystropheus’ neck was very stiff, and would have only been able to move from side to side. So the snake-like movements made possible by this toy’s feature would be impossible. Speaking of snakes, this depiction of Tanystropheus seems to be very much inspired by serpents. It has fangs like that of a viper (a feature the real creature didn’t have), the box refers to it’s bendable neck feature as a ‘Constrictor Neck Attack’, and the box nicknames the creature ‘Cobra’. Maybe they used snake DNA when cloning this guy?

 

The next dinosaur we see is something much more traditionally Jurassic Park. Here we have Pachycephalosaurus in vibrant red and gold coloring. I really like the paint job on this guy, which I think is really detailed in all the right places. The scutes on the back are a bit strange, but this was made in the early 90’s so I can forgive them for that. The hands and feet are a bit strangely contorted, but that’s to be expected in these kinds of toys. And of course, this guy has an obligatory head butting action, par for the course in pachycephalosaur action figures.

 

Now we add another pterosaur to the line up with Quetzalcoatlus. At the time the only remains we had of this creature were very fragmentary, so depictions of this creature varied wildly. All we knew at the time was that it was an immense pteorsaur, bigger than any known before. So, it looks like the toy designers just took that aspect of the creature and ran with it. I would comment on how the proportions of the wings, body and head are all wrong, but it would be like beating a dead horse. No pterosaur toy gets the body structure completely right, and frankly I think it would be impossible to do so. I will comment however on the eagle-like talons, which I’ll admit it is fun to play with your pterodactyl toys and pretend you’re picking up humans or little creatures with them. Despite that, it’s still something I immediately notice when I see pterosaur depictions. There is a plastic rod in the wings that helps when folding the wings inward, but when outstretched it makes the wings look very bat-like, which is unfortunate.

 

Next up we’ve got another large carnivore to add to the line, Carnotaurus. At first glance, I think this is a pretty good Carnotaurus toy. The only thing that seems obviously wrong with it are the arms, which are wayyyyy too long (in reality, a Carnotaurus’ arms were basically little stumps with fingers). But the more I look at it, the less and less it looks like a dinosaur and the more it reminds me of a Japanese kaiju. Maybe it’s just the quality of the plastic, maybe it’s the dopey look in it’s eyes next to those comically oversized teeth, but can’t you just imagine this thing trampling through a city and yelling out:

It can’t just be me, can it?

 Now, I have to say I’m a little confused by the inclusion of Utahraptor in this toy line, since the Velociraptors shown are basically just Utahraptors anyway. Heck, they even created a distinct, original mold for the toy! It was probably just an excuse to get a larger raptor toy in the franchise, seeing how JP created a raptor mania and everyone knows that BIGGER means BETTER. With that being said, does the toy hold up on it’s own?

Raarh! I'm like JP Velociraptor only slightly bigger!

Raarh! I’m like JP Velociraptor only slightly bigger!

It is still a pretty fun looking toy, and stands up in it’s own merit fairly well. I really like the coloration  and pattern the figure is painted with, which sort of reminds me of a tiger or jaguar. But like any scaly raptor dinosaur, in modern eyes the entire body is mangled beyond belief. As far a a JP raptor goes though, it’s still a pretty cool looking toy.

The next toy down the line is actually a somewhat rare collectible. This dinosaur is a Baryonyx, and I have to say it certainly isn’t one of the better looking toys in the franchise. The tail is stubby, the legs look like they belong to a green chicken, and the famous long arms and giant hand claws are barely even there! Even the head looks wonky, it barely even looks like it belongs to this dinosaur. It is certainly one of the uglier figures in the toy line.

The final dinosaur figure in the toyline for the original Jurassic Park movie is this colorful Gallimimus. Sadly, it suffers a lot of the same problems as the Baryonyx. The whole body is awkwardly proportioned, the head barely looks like it belongs to the dinosaur represented, and all in at it just looks ugly. It doesn’t really grab me to want to play with it, which kind of makes it fail as a toy. If a toy looks fun to play with, I’ll forgive it for inaccuracies. Sad to end this particular toy line and a low note.

I’ll be back for part 2 and discuss the toys made for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #56: You Are Umasou (Movie Review)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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

Alright Internet, you ready for the biggest bombshell of your entire life?

Are you sure?

I don’t think you are.

OK, I guess I’ll go ahead and spill it.

….

….

….

I don’t like anime.

KILL HIM!

WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!!!

Let me rephrase that.

I have nothing against anime nor the people who watch it. In fact, I’ll go on record that a lot of anime is absolutely amazing. It’s just, I could never really get into it. Whenever I try to watch anime, I always feel like there is something I’m missing. It’s kind of like the feeling I’m not in on a joke, and it really inhibits my enjoyment. Even Miyazaki films that are critically acclaimed and beloved worldwide just confuse the heck out of me.

I don’t know what I’m looking at!

Perhaps it’s just the ignorant idiotic burger eating American in me, and feel free to call me an idiot in the comment section. I am, however, a huge fan of Western Animation. Many hardcore anime fans (I don’t want to label an entire fandom, I’m talking about douche-bag extremists here) label western animation as nothing more than kid’s stuff, which I’m going to have to argue against. Yes, American animation is over-saturated with less then stellar content, but that shouldn’t take away from the really good stuff either; series that break the mold of expectations and cover a wide variety of genres.

Comedy…

…adventure…

…action…

…drama…

…mystery…

…all of the above.

No joke.

However, one thing I really respect about Anime is the fact that Japan doesn’t fall victim to the Animation Ghetto. Here in America, animation is usually thought of as kid’s entertainment and can’t be enjoyed by adults. Even though their is an older audience to all of the shows mentioned above, their is still a sort of stigma of adults watching cartoons. Even though the above series are really good and can be enjoyed by people of all ages, the fact that they’re animated turn people away before they even give them a chance. Japan, on the other hand, takes full advantage of the animation medium and uses it more to create worlds that would be impossible to depict in live action. As an art form I think Japan has perfected traditional animation, and I sorely wish America had their attitude on the medium.

Despite all of this, however, I still just can’t get into anime.

Maybe it just doesn’t have enough dinosaurs.

OMG I would be all over that!

Thankfully, this movie rectifies that situation.

One thing Japan also does…

…right?…

…is the way it directs it’s kids movies. In American film, movies that are made specifically for kids have the moral guardians breathing down their necks keeping them from directly referencing or dealing with harder subjects, even if the film warrants these themes. Japan seems to have no such problem, leading to much more complex themes in kids movies. However, this freedom of creative expression can lead to some sudden and unexpected leaps of tone, which can be quite jarring to Western viewers.

Look how cute this is! Probably going to be a lighthearted children’s film.

This is the same lamb on the poster. He has grown up into a monster and ends up dying alone because of his lust for vengeance.

The film I’m looking at today, however, doesn’t shift in tone as greatly as some other films in the media have, but it still deals with stuff animation for kids in America wouldn’t touch with a ten foot poll. And for that reason and many more I absolutely love this movie.

The movie begins with a mother Maiasaura finding a lost egg in the river and bringing it back to her nest. Now before I go any further, I should point out that the dinosaurs in this movie are very stylized, to the point that they sometimes don’t even look like dinosaurs anymore. The Maiasaurs, for example, almost look like dinosaur/human hybrids. They have body proportions similar to a human, and when they move on two legs they walk upright like a human. Do I have a problem with this? No, since I can totally see they were going for a certain artistic style. But for that reason, I won’t really go into scientific accuracy much on this movie.

The dinosaur designs themselves are very simple and minimalist, but the animation is incredibly good. It’s really colorful and fluid, and a lot of the backgrounds are amazingly detailed. Japan has created some of the best animation I have ever seen, and it really pains me that America doesn’t take this craft seriously anymore.

Anyway, the mother Maiasaura protects her eggs from the elements, including a dangerous storm and a flock of hungry Troodon.

Yeah, feathers!

 The Troodon eat and smash a lot of the eggs, and the mother is left with only two, one of which is the egg she found in the river. That night, she prays to Egg Mountain, a volcano that suspiciously looks like an egg (um, OK) and asks for it to protect her offspring. This becomes horrifically ironic when later events of the film come to play.

The next day, the eggs hatch and the mother is surprised that one of them isn’t a Maiasaur, but a T. rex. The male leader of the herd sees the baby predator, and without hesitation tries to kill it. The mother tries to protect the baby, but the leader says bluntly that when this creature grows up, it will kill their kind. One thing that separates this movie from any American film that deals with similar subjects is that it tackles the predator/prey issue head on. It’s not just glanced over or mentioned once or twice, it’s the focal point of the entire film, and it’s not afraid to show the more grizzly truths of this type of story that no Disney film would ever touch. You’ll see this more as I go on.

Later, we see the Maiasaur herd migrating while the mother stays to take care of her young (it’s greatly implied that she had been exiled from the group for raising a predator). Her two sons are now a bit older, with the T. rex named Heart and his brother named Light. They play and fight like any other sibling duo would. Light especially picks on his brother’s eating habits. Heart has sustained himself on berries alone, and can’t bring himself to eat leaves and nuts. Heart also tends to chase little creatures, and finds himself sucking on the tail of a lizard. Despite these odd habits, neither Heart nor his brother completely realize that Heart is actually a carnivore. Still, Heart begins having strange dreams and starts to realize that he is somehow different, he just can’t place how at the moment.

The next day Heart and Light go out into the forest to look for food. I would like to take this time to note the really interesting contrasting art style this movie has. While the characters themselves are drawn with simple geometric shapes and cartoony proportions, the rest of the world is incredibly detailed. The forest itself is lush and vibrant, and the other creatures are drawn much more realistically. The birds, the insects, the mammals, they all look more natural than the cartoonish main characters. You don’t really see this kind of style in Western Animation. In America the entire world in an animated work usually has a pretty consistent look and any change in that style would usually be pretty jarring. However, in this movie the contrasting styles seem to work incredibly well. I’m not sure if this is an animation trope unique to this movie or common in a lot of anime but whatever the case is I really like it in this picture.

Anyway, as the two brothers wander around the forest Heart get’s distracted by a mammal and starts chasing it. Light follows, and the two then accidentally fall down a ravine and into a misty swamp. There they hear an ominous voice, singing about a ‘Big Jaw’ (what they call Tyrannosaurs in this world, yes they do resort to Land Before Time dinosaur names in this movie) and how it steals away crying children. It turns out that the voice actually belongs to a….

….

….

…something (I couldn’t find a picture of it online, but it looks like some sort of reptilian sloth, perhaps a stylized therizinosaur? At times I can’t tell if this movie is supposed to take place in a cartoon version of the Mesozoic or in it’s own unique fantasy setting) singing her baby a lullaby (and if you think a song about a predator eating crying babies is too morbid a subject for a lullaby, I invite you to analyze the lyrics of ‘Rock a bye Baby’). The mother sloth thing is scared by Heart’s presence, and Light discovers that Heart matches the description of the ‘Big Jaw’ from the song. How does Heart react?

Looks like Light…..broke his Heart.

Sorry to subject you to that terrible, terrible joke.

Heart begins to realize he’s different, but his mother tries to comfort him. You can tell that she is lying to herself when she is doing so, and realizes that Heart will grow up to be very different and she can’t always be there for him but can’t bring it upon herself to let him go. It’s really heartbreaking.

After a short but beautifully animated food chain sequence (a small insect surrounded by mold spores in amazing detail get’s eaten by a spider, which then get’s captured by a frog, which then get’s eaten by a mammal, which is then carried off by a bird), Heart goes off on his own to figure out what it is that he actually eats. He stumbles into a clearing, and sees a pack of other Big Jaws trying to take down a Triceratops (called a ‘three horn’, as per usual).

The battle is surprisingly brutal, especially for the tone of the film. The T. rex’s and the Triceratops both fight very aggressively, and the Triceratops even manages to kill one of the pack members (while losing a horn in the process). The battle ends with a huge T. Rex named Baku, the leader of all the Big Jaws, taking down the poor creature in one bite.

Baku, at first, seems to be a pretty respectable and level headed leader. He let’s the rest of the pack eat the kill, and this is where Heart discovers what his kind eats. The pack members tear into the Triceratops, ripping out chunks of flesh (granted there’s no blood and the flesh looks more like clumps of bubblegum than anything, but still!). A scene like this may feel out of place to an American audience member, used to the way Western Animation tends to tip toe around these kind of images. But like I said, this movie tackles the predator/prey problem that a lot of these movies so poorly handle head on, and that means showing the predators kill other creatures. Nobody would dare do this in America. Even if they were to show a predator character hunting, the prey items being hunted would most likely not be anthropomorphisized and instead act like normal animals (even if all the other animals in the movie talk and show emotion). But there is a problem with that kind of portrayal. Let’s look at The Lion King for example. The main characters are lions, which are obviously predators. But we never see them eat. They talk about their diet and every once and a while we see hunting, but you would never see them actually eating a zebra or wildebeest. While you can argue that killing wouldn’t really enhance the plot in any way for The Lion King, my point still stands that if this movie was made in America with the same plotline, I guarantee you there wouldn’t be any dinosaurs ripping into each other’s flesh.

Heart is mortified by what the other Big Jaws are doing, and tries to run away. One of the pack members, named Gonza, approaches Heart and remarks that he smells like a plant eater. Baku then intervenes, and surprisingly shows a lot of concern for Heart. He asks if he’s hungry, if he’s lost and where his parents are. Heart says he has a mother, and Baku politely tells him to return to her. My first impression of Baku was very mixed, I must say. He’s certainly imposing, and looks like the kind of guy that commands a lot of respect, but he doesn’t raise his voice or show any real aggressive tendencies (you know, besides killing a Triceratops with one bite).

Heart tries to run back home, still traumatized by what he just saw. After meeting up again with his Light, he realizes that Gonza had followed him. Gonza puts two and two together and realizes that Heart and Light consider each other family. He taunts them for a bit, saying that Heart is a meat eater and his role is to kill others like Light. Heart doesn’t take this sitting down, and after being pushed to his limit, Heart retaliates and bites off Gonza’s tail.

 

Now, while watching this I thought for a second that perhaps they were going to pull the ‘dinosaur tails grow back just like lizard tails’ trope that I hate so much. There was a bit of foreshadowing for that, especially with Heart chewing on the lizard tail earlier in the movie.

But it becomes abundantly clear later in the film that no, dinosaur tails don’t grow back. Heart literally tore off another creature’s appendage.

And then swallows it.

Heart then comes to a horrible conclusion.

Yeah, I hear yah.

After this, Heart runs away from home. After a time cut, we see Heart as a grown adult, and actually comfortable in his role as a predator. He even sings that Big Jaw lullaby from earlier as his own personal theme song while hunting a herd of sauropods. Speaking of which, he has grown into a VERY good hunter.

 

Yes, because that is how tyrannosaurs hunt.

While trying to fight Heart off, the sauropods begin collapsing from exhaustion (at first I thought this was a reference to the idea that sauropods couldn’t hold their heads up for too long or else they may loose blood circulation to the brain, but I’m not really sure) and is able to feed off of one of them. However, he is one Gonza’s pack’s territory, and is ran off by Gonza himself (still tailless).

Sometime later, Heart finds and egg that hatches into a baby Ankylosaurus. Heart prepares to eat it, calling it Umasou (the Japanese word for ‘delicious’). However, the little ankylosaur latches on to Heart and thinks he’s his dad, and that his dad named him Umasou. Now, let’s talk about Umasou for a little bit.

Oh Japan, must you make everything adorable?

Umasou is one of the cutest, sweetest, most endearing child characters I’ve ever seen. But one of the great things about it is that he never gets annoying to me. Child characters often tend to overstay their welcome, and Umasou does do several things in the movie that are meant to be annoying, but it never goes to far. He remains likable and believable as an actual kid. I think a lot of it has to do with the voice actor, who sounds very genuine and is actually a very good actor.

Umasou instantly latches on to Heart, and of course this puts Heart in a very awkward situation. He didn’t set out to be a dad, heck he came here for an easy meal, but he can’t bring himself to abandon this kid. So he brings him back to his home.

That night, Heart has a nightmare of him as a kid looking for his mother. He walks around a black voice with the voice of his mother calling out to him. He can’t find where the voice is coming from, but then realizes that it was coming from inside him, for he has eaten his family-wait, WHAT?!!

Heart awakens from this horrifying dream with reasonable dread. He then sees Umasou next to him, and begins to contemplate eating while he’s asleep. As Heart begins to lick him, this happens.

Heart the appoints himself as Umasou’s caretaker, saying to himself that it will be better to eat him when he gets bigger (like that is going to happen). In the mean time, he still has to hunt. And because he doesn’t want Umasou to see him killing other animals, he must leave him behind. However, Umasou is just a tad bit, clingy.

Yep,  we’ve all been there.

While Heart is out hunting, Umasou is attacked by a…..

What is that supposed to be?

Is that a demon? Did that thing crawl out of the depths of hell and come to terrorize cartoon dinosaurs?

Oh, according to the creators, that thing is supposed to be a Chilantaisaurus.

Hmm, don’t see much of a resemblance.

Then again, this isn’t that kind of movie.

Anyway, the demon dinosaur thing tries to eat Umasou, but Heart comes back just in time and kicks the creature halfway across the world. Heart is frustrated that Umasou is so ignorant of the dangers around him, which doesn’t help when he Umasou runs off on his own again. Heart  goes on a rampage trying to find Umasou, who was simply out picking berries.

Umasou returns, and Heart is at first furious at him, but then realizes that he brought back the same berries he used to eat as a kid and all he wanted was to eat with his father. They reconcile and Umasou mentions he met an old tyrannosaur while hunting for berries. They meet the old dinosaur, who is no longer able to move and can’t chew tough food. He puts together that Heart is taking care of Umasou, and warns him to make sure that Baku, the leader Big Jaw from before doesn’t see this. He then tells a story of how Baku became ruler of the plains fighting off a pack of ‘gluttonous long necks from the south’.

I can assure you that isn’t me.

The conversation boils down to the fact that Baku commands respect, and that it’s going to be difficult for a meat eater like Heart to raise a plant eater like Umasou.

After listening to the old man’s advice, Heart thinks it’s time Umasou learns how to protect himself, so he begins training Umasou in the art of dinosaur kung fu!

No joke.

We get this great training montage that would make Rocky blush, and it’s all set to the beat of a corny Japanese pop song called ‘Jump Kick, Tail Smash’ (I take it Japanese pop songs with English randomly put in is a common thing?). As silly as the song is, it actually is pretty good, and Umasou ends up learning a lot (which makes sense, Ankylosaurus was probably a dinosaur you wouldn’t want to mess with).

Umasou: The Teenage Years.

The whole sequence also shows just how close Heart and Umasou are getting. However, Heart still worries about the inherit dangers of raising him, worrying what would happen if Umasou would ever find out about Heart’s true nature. We hear Heart’s internal monologue after he put’s Umasou to bed, as he contemplates the fact that he isn’t really Umasou’s father, right before he brutally kills a Protoceratops for food.

The next day (I think, the movie doesn’t really make the time frame all that clear) Heart tells Umasou that he is strong enough to defend himself now, and that he has to live on his own for now on. What is Umasou’s response?

Oh no, oh no don’t do this to me movie.

Umasou begs to stay, and Heart makes a ‘deal’ that if he can beat him in a race, than they can stay together. Umasou begins running with all his might, as you see Heart catching up to him by simply plodding along, without a hint of effort. This scares Umasou, who tries with all his power to keep ahead, and it is simply one of the most heart wrenching scenes I have ever witnessed.

Umasou continues running, without looking behind. Heart then takes this opportunity to run the opposite direction, putting as much distance between each other as possible. Umasou keeps on going forward until he runs into Gonza and his pack, who begin to toy with Umasou and try to kill him. Heart hears Umasou’s cries for help, and returns to fight off Gonza and his pack. But he doesn’t just fight them off, he kicks their butt’s with dinosaur ninja skills!

Jesus Christ!

By the way, this entire fight scene is set to that Big Jaw lullaby from earlier, which is either awesome or weird depending on your tastes. Personally, I think it added an unique atmosphere to the entire scene.

This fighting, however, catches the attention of Baku, who then decides to banish Heart from this territory and promises to personally fight him if Heart ever comes back. Heart accepts the punishment, and leaves with Umasou (I should note that Umasou was in Heart’s mouth during the entire fight!).

After Umasou awakens from a bought of unconsciousness, he asks if he get’s to stay because Heart never caught up with him in the race.

 

Heart happily agrees, and finally fully accepts himself as Umasou’s father in another scene that is absolutely tear inducing.

 Heart carries Umasou in his mouth, and the two head off to find a new home. Umasou, now curled up inside Heart’s mouth, remarks that ‘inside Daddy’s tummy is warm’-wait, what?

I’m sorry, is it just me, or does that line come off as a bit fetishy? Between this and that disturbing as hell dream sequence from earlier I’m starting to wonder.

Nah, I’m probably just over-thinking it. At least the scene does give us some genuinely heartwarming imagery.

Adorable!

Some time passes, and we see Heart talking with an Elasmosaurus named Pero Pero (which means ‘lick, lick’ in Japanese, due to the character’s tendency to do just that).

Japan, why must you continue to make everything so dang cute?

 Pero Pero is apparently one of Heart’s close friends (or maybe girlfriend, the movie doesn’t really make it all that clear). She kind of just leaves the narrative as quickly as she comes in. Upon some research I have found she is actually a character from the books that inspired this movie, which I guess explains her somewhat shoehorned inclusion. At first, I thought the scene with her kind of stopped the movie’s progression and would have been better off omitted, but upon my second viewing I found myself actually enjoying her character. She’s cute and a bit eccentric, and I just find the audacity of making a plesiosaur this type of character amusing.

Anyway, we see Heart and Pero Pero sharing a large fish, and Pero recounts the time she and Heart first met. They became friends after she saved him from drowning in the ocean, but at first he hid his true personality. It wasn’t until Heart ran into a ‘Big Jaw of the sea’ (a mosasaur, with a Charles Knightian back crest) and killed it when Pero discovered Heart was a serious carnivore. Despite this, Pero still didn’t fear Heart, because she knew what he was on the inside. This leads to Heart wondering what his mother would think of what he has become, fearing that she would be scared of him now. Pero convinces Heart to go see his family again, before Egg Mountain breaks.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Egg Mountain is actually a volcano and is starting to erupt.

Wait, Egg Mountain is basically the dinosaur’s deity, as Heart’s mother was shown praying to it at the beginning of the movie for protection. But now, their god whom they look towards for protection is now out to kill them?

Sigh, I use memes because I can’t think up of good jokes myself, it’s kind of sad really.

Anyway, Heart returns to his own territory, only to run into his old nemesis Gonza. Gonza threatens that the only way for Heart to pass is to kill him, which Heart does in a single swipe. Gonza falls down, but before he completely slips away, he tells Umasou that Heart isn’t his real father. Umasou then reveals that he knew all along, but doesn’t care. As predictable as that reveal may have been, it was still very well done and really reinforces the relationship between Heart and Umasou.

Heart runs through the forest that he once lived in, which has now caught fire from the erupting volcano. He eventually finds his old herd, and even runs into his brother Light all grown up. However, they don’t know where his mother is, and the herd is too scared to move away from their old territory. Frustrated, Heart once again goes off on his own. After a bit of searching, he finally finds her at their old nest in the woods, and they lovingly embrace each other.

Why am I crying? It’s a blue Godzilla hugging a pink humanoid duck bill. WHY IS IT SO SAD!?

Heart discovers that his mother is now taking care of a new litter of Maiasaurs, and that he is now an older brother. At first they seem scared of him, but they later accept him as their own. They then try to make their way out of the forest, only for Heart’s mother to slip down a ravine. Before she can fall, however, Light returns to give a helping hand.

As they continue to walk through the forest, Light asks the inevitable question as to whether Heart eats meat or not. Heart replies that he does, because if he doesn’t he will die. And that is one of the reasons I really love this movie, and it can really all be summed up in that one answer. Heart isn’t treated like the bad guy for still eating meat, nor is it treated as something he should be ashamed of. It’s simply a fact of life; if he doesn’t eat meat he is going to die. And the movie isn’t afraid to show him hunt and eat other creatures. In an American movie they probably wouldn’t do that not only because of the violence but also because they might fear such an honest portrayal of this creature’s lifestyle might make the character seem villainous. But characters don’t have to be so black and white. Heart is character with a lot of grey’s in his morality, he’s a carnivore that must kill to survive but has herbivores as friends and family. He’s still a good guy despite his eating habits, and he also has the discernment to choose what he does and doesn’t eat.

 Before Heart and his family can leave the range of the volcano, Baku suddenly appears. He has found out that Heart had killed Gonza, and he planned to make good on his promise to fight Heart if he were to ever return to this territory. Heart, wanting to protect his family, confronts Baku in a battle that is too dang awesome for it’s own good.

It’s so ridiculous, yet so awesome!

Heart puts up a valiant effort, but in the end is defeated by Baku. Heart’s mother then runs over to her son’s unconscious body, which surprises Baku. He can’t comprehend why a plant eater would ever care so much for a meat eater. He questions her raising him, asking what she would have done when the day came that he had to eat meat to survive. She responds that she would have let him eat her. Baku still can’t comprehend that logic, but in the end realizes that if it weren’t for the Maiasaurs Heart wouldn’t have survived. Baku decides to let them go, and it is at this moment when both Heart’s mother and the audience realize that Baku isn’t just some random T. rex, but actually Heart’s father.

After some time has passed, Heart says his goodbyes to his family and the Maiasaur herd. His mother suggests that he can still stay with them, but Heart says that it is best he stays with his own kind. Now, I know some people may take this message the wrong way and see it as the film trying to justify racial division and it would have been better if Heart stayed with his family, but I totally see why the film went this route. It’s not like The Land Before Time where there was racism between species that were all herbivores. Heart is a carnivorous T. rex, not a maiasaur with a different skin color. For this particular situation, it makes the most sense for the two to go their separate ways. Still, Heart says that he is grateful that his mother raised him, and he shares one last hug with his family before he and Umasou run off into the distance.

And that was I Am Umasou. So, what do I think of it?

Upon a second viewing, some parts of the film felt a bit clunky and out of place, and some of the characters may not be especially memorable or interesting, but in the end I absolutely adore this film. Heart in my opinion is a great and dynamic character, and Umasou is a great example of a child character being both cute and energetic without being grating or annoying. The dinosaurs may not be especially accurate, but the designs have a unique charm to them, almost like a child’s drawing, and the contrast beautifully with the richly animated and detailed surroundings. But the main reason I love this film is because it tackles the carnivore/herbivore friendship/adopted family plot I’ve seen so many times in children media in a way that is both mature and satisfying, and I can honestly say this film is the best representation of that particular story-line. At first glance this movie may just look like the Japanese Land Before Time, but it really stands out as it’s own work and shows that you can still make really good kids films about dinosaurs without having to rip off previous works. To sum it all up, i highly recommend this movie.

So, does this mean I will begin watching more anime.

Ehh, probably not.

I greatly respect Japanese animation as a beautiful art form, but in the end it it just isn’t really for me. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate anime or disrespect it’s fans, in fact the opposite is true. It’s really just a matter of personal tastes. On that note, if you’re into anime please don’t spam the comment section with reason’s why I should watch anime or direct me to your favorite anime show because I most likely won’t respond. I don’t have to like what you like and you don’t have to like what I like, because we all have personal tastes.

 

Now excuse me, I’m off to binge watch My Little Pony. 

Join me next time as I add a new installment to my surprisingly popular fan fiction Isla Sorna: Field Journal, and after that a Trope-osaurus dealing with the ever present battle of T. Rex vs. Triceratops.

See you then.

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #38: Fantasia: The Rite Of Spring Segment

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.) https://whendinosaursruledthemind.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/introduction-remember-dinosaurs-theyre-different-now/ As I mentioned in my Disney’s Dinosaur review, I am a fan of animation as well as Disney. For the most part, Disney Animation is considered children entertainment, or family entertainment at best. But Fantasia is in another league entirely. This movie was Walt Disney’s passion project, and his turn to be adult and artsy. And this movie is artsy as heck! Unfortunately, the film bombed when it was released (due in part with the high production cost, the lack of interest from the general public, and a freakin’ world war messing everything up at the time) but has since been considered a lost classic. Personally, I adore this movie, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. It’s really only for animation and music fans. For people used to modern day fast paced constantly moving Dreamworks style animation (not that there’s anything wrong with that, I love Dreamworks as well) this movie might be a little bit slow. Heck, I remember the first time I saw it I didn’t know what to think of it. It was in first grade in music class when I first saw this film (I finally recognized a lot of the background characters from the House of Mouse after watching it). At the time, it was way too slow for me, and I didn’t really enjoy it (except for a few bits). So yeah, this movie isn’t for those with a low attention span. However, if you’re a fan of animation (especially good animation) you’ll love this movie. From a technical standpoint, it’s GORGEOUS. This movie boasts some of the best animation I’ve ever seen, certainly the best of it’s time. Really, the entire film is just a showcase of what animation is capable of. The film boils down to a anthology of non connected stories set to classical music. Each one is tonally different from each other, and the change can be quite jarring for the first time viewer. We get cute segments with Mickey Mouse becoming a magician and hippos, ostriches, and alligators doing ballet…

…to an horrific segment with the devil raising spirits from their graves and sending them to Hell while demons, skeletons, witches and harpies dance around him.

I will remind you that this film was made for adults, so don’t say I didn’t warn yah when you pop it into the DVD player and your kids have nightmares after watching it. But forget all that. You know what we’re here for right?

DINOSAURS!!!

Yes, the segment that immediately got my attention as a kid was the Rite of Spring segment, which details the history of earth from it’s formation eons ago to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This segment opens a fascinating window into what the general public thought of dinosaurs back in the 1940’s, so I think it would be an excellent piece of animation to analyze scientifically here in this blog. Now remember, I’m only going to judge it by what scientists knew at the time, not by what we know now. I may make comparisons and observations to modern theories every now and again, but it won’t effect the movie’s overall score at the end. Now, let’s take a look, shall we?

The segment starts with the film’s composer (Leopold Stokowski) explains what the following animation is going to be about. He explains how the segment will be about the growth of life on earth, and says it will be a coldly accurate reproduction of what scientists think happened in earths early history.

 

O RLY? Excuse me, allow me to put on my skepticals.

He then goes on to describe dinosaurs, and shows us exactly what people thought of dinosaurs in the early 20th century (hold in your laughter). He says the name dinosaur means “terrible lizard”, and that they certainly live up to that name (I said don’t laugh). He says they came in all shapes an sizes including ‘little crawling horrors about the size of a chicken, to 100 ton nightmares”.

Horrors?

Nightmares?

Look, I know dinosaurs where strange, but don’t make them out like movie monsters.

He later goes on to say they weren’t very bright, with even the biggest dinosaurs only having the brain of a pigeon. I guess you can argue that’s technically right, since most scientists think dinosaurs had intelligence akin to birds, but the way he’s saying it is clearly in the ideology of the time that dinosaurs were dumber than modern animals. Back then scientists thought that dinosaurs were so stupid they could barely function, with some going as far as saying they were mistakes of nature doomed to extinction. That is a very unfair thought, as dinosaurs were probably as intelligent as animals to day. That means they were as smart as they needed to be, and certainly not clumsy in their own skin like science back then would have you believe. Dinosaurs were incredibly successful creatures, and wouldn’t have lasted so long if they were as awkward as we once thought. They were masters of their environment, and would probably still be here if that pesky asteroid didn’t kill them.

I’m sorry, the stereotype that dinosaurs were dumb really irks me.

Anyway, he then goes on to say that dinosaurs lived in the air, water, as well as on land. Now, modern science would actually agree with that statement, since birds are considered dinosaurs and inhabit the air, and Spinosaurus seems especially adapted for water (not to mention many dinosaur which probably spent at least some of their time in water). But I’m am nearly certain that this guy is referring to pterosaurs and marine reptiles, which certainly weren’t dinosaurs. Of course, he could be referring to sauropods which were thought at the time to live their entire lives in the water, but that still doesn’t excuse the ‘air’ dinosaurs.

He says as a rule they were vegetarians, which I believe was supposed to refer to the fact that there are more herbivorous dinosaurs than carnivorous ones, which is true. But the way he says it is misleading, as it makes it sound like carnivorous dinosaurs where rare, which they most certainly weren’t. He does say there where meat eaters though, and refers to them as ‘bullies and gangsters’. Why the colorful description? They were just animals, T. rex has gotta eat something.

Another thing that bugs me is that he says that the plant eaters were ‘rather amiable and easy to get along with’. First of all, just because you eat plants doesn’t make you docile (hippos anyone?). Second of all, didn’t you just a moment ago refer to them as ‘100 ton nightmares’?

He then mentions the extinction, which he says may have been caused by great droughts and earthquakes creating a great Dust Bowl like storm across the world. While this was a common theory at the time, nowadays we are confident an asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. Other factors where at play during that time that made it difficult for the dinosaurs, however. Increased volcanism and climate changed greatly reduced the dinosaurs numbers beforehand, with the meteor simply being the final blow. Still, I’m skeptical that those other factors without the asteroid would have wiped out the dinosaurs completely on their own. Heck, the end of the Triassic and Jurassic periods went through similar changes and no one seems to talk about those.

Sigh, it’s just the introductory monologue and already over 1200 words. This is going to be fun.

Now, let’s start at the REAL beginning.

The segment starts with the early formation of Earth, before there was any life. We see earth when it was still a volcano laden wasteland. This sequence has some INCREDIBLE animation, with the volcanoes erupting and the flowing lava moving incredibly. I have to remind myself this was before any computer animation techniques and shortcuts, and this was all animated by hand. No wonder this movie cost a fortune.

 

After that, we begin to see a plethora of primitive life, from single celled organisms to more complex ocean life to the first amphibian to crawl onto land. But before we see the creature make it’s historical destination, the film seems to cut to the late Cretaceous.

So, I guess nothing interesting happened between the last 400 million years.

Oh well, I guess this means I get to see some dinosaurs now. So, what do we’ve got first.

Well, it would seem we have entered a Mesozoic coastal scene. A turtle like creature swims to the shore. My first thought was that this was a Henodus, a Triassic marine reptile that looked superficially like a turtle but wasn’t closely related. But that was a Triassic reptile, not a Cretaceous. But it looks too much like a Henodus, it even has the head spikes.

Oh no, it’s going to be one of those movies, is it?

Anyway, we see some mosasaurs, which are incredibly spiny for some reason

It was once though mosasaurs had these spines along their back, but the depiction has since been debunked. Still, it was accepted back then, so I can’t blame them.

We also get some classic looking snake headed elasmosaurs, whose necks as per usual are depicted as way too flexible. Plesiosaurs actually had very stiff necks, and would never be able to crane upwards as they are depicted here. The most they could probably move it is from side to side  and straight ahead, nothing like they’re usually portrayed. They are also shown congregating on land, which would have been very much impossible, and probably would have been a death sentence to the animal in real life.

Scientists used to think that because plesiosaurs were reptiles they would have to crawl up to shore and lay their eggs on the land, like a sea turtle. We now know this would certainly beach them, and they more than likely gave birth to live young in the sea.

We then meet a colony of Pteranodon, which are actually refreshingly accurate.

Sure, some of them hang upside down like a bat, but other then that they’ve held up exceptionally well. They move and act like actual animals, and the animation when they fly together when fishing is beautiful, almost poetic. It really brings to mind pelicans in flight.

Still images don’t cut it, you have to see it in motion. That’s really the point of animation, I guess.

Sadly, one of the Pteranodons get’s snapped up by a mosasaur while fishing.

Ah dang it!

We then go through a jungle and…wait, is that what I think it is?

Are…are those Dimetrodon?

But, the scene beforehand was obviously Cretaceous. Is this movie trying to insinuate that Dimetrodon lived at the same time as Pteranodon and Mosasaurus?

No, it can’t be.

Maybe the movie took a step backwards in time for whatever reason. It wouldn’t make a lot of narrative sense, but this is an artsy movie, so why the heck not?

Look, Nothosaurs! Triassic creatures. Sure, not as ancient as Dimetrodon, but not as bad as Cretaceous animals. Perhaps the movie really did go backwards in time again.

Wait, is that an ankylosaur?

OK, so if you haven’t guessed it by now, this movie just slumps together creatures from different time periods into the same habitat. Now, for fiction, this doesn’t bother me. I didn’t bring it up in my Disney’s Dinosaur of my Land Before Time reviews because honestly it doesn’t bother me.

In fiction.

But when people make this mistake in something that’s supposed to be educational, I really get pissed. But you may say ‘this isn’t a documentary, it’s a Disney cartoon; it’s not meant to be strictly accurate’. And normally I would agree with you there. But this wouldn’t bother me if the conductor at the beginning of the short clearly stated this was a ‘coldly accurate reproduction’.

So yeah, looks like I was right to be skeptical.

Oh well, that’s actually the least of our worries. You prepared for what’s coming next? You should be. Prepare for a full frontal assault of….

1940’s DINOSAUR CLICHES!!!!!!

 

First we watch a Triceratops walk by, whom looks pretty standard for the time this movie came out.

The look of Triceratops in this film is pretty much how we though the dinosaur looked until the 80’s.

Like I’ve said before, I have a soft spot for old school depictions of Triceratops. They just give me a warm sensation of nostalgia. I really like how they animate the creature here, as it has a real sense of weight and presence. It feels like you’ve just walked into him in the jungle, like if you were to stumble upon an elephant or a rhino in the wild. Still, by today’s standards, it is woefully inaccurate, and that’s not even taking into account the lack of quills.

We even get to see a couple of babies! How adorable!

OMG IT’S DINAH AND DANA!!!!

We then see something that I’m guessing is supposed to be an Ornitholestes, but looks nothing like it. And in normal fashion, he is chasing after an Archaeopteryx.

I told you we were in for a lot of dinosaur cliches.

Actually, the Archaeopteryx doesn’t even look like an Archaeopteryx, but instead it looks like those weird feathered lizards we used to see in paleo art before dinosaurs were discovered to have feathers.

That looks so weird today.

Next we get probably the greatest dinosaur stereotype of them all, Brontosaurus’ in the water.

That's it! I've had it!

That’s it! I’ve had it!

What? Who are you?

Remember me? Dinosaur Martin Luther King? From the Dinosaur sitcom review?

Remember me? Dinosaur Martin Luther King? From the Dinosaur sitcom review?

Oh yeah, I remember you, you’re that dinosaur rights activist.

More specifically, my goal is to rid the public's opinions of hurtful dinosaur stereotypes. I've been reading this review so far, and the depictions in this movie are atrocious. Some of the worsts things I've ever seen.

More specifically, my goal is to rid the public’s opinions of hurtful dinosaur stereotypes. I’ve been reading this review so far, and the depictions in this movie are atrocious. Some of the worsts things I’ve ever seen. Dimetrodon in the Mesozoic, snake headed Elasmosaurs, Brontosaurs in water, Ornitholestes chasing lizard/bird hybrids, dinosaurs being depicted as slow and dumb reptiles, it’s horrible!

You think this is bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.

Oh, I dread the moment I see.

Oh, I dread the moment I see.

Next up, we see a flock of Ornithomimids exiting the forest and getting a drink of water.

My glorious feathered brothers. They have reduced you to naked snaking freak shows!

My glorious feathered brothers. They have reduced you to naked snaking freak shows! And are their tails dragging?

Well, yeah, but remember, science didn’t know any better back then. You can’t really fault them for…

No excuse!

No excuse!

Okay…. Next we meet up with a Stegosaurus, who seems to be struggling with a weight problem.

This Stegosaurus also exhibits many of the thoughts we had on dinosaurs back then. It is very slow and sluggish, and it’s legs are sprawled out to it’s sides, like a lizard. We now know that the legs of dinosaurs went directly underneath the creature, giving it a much less clumsy and reptilian look.

Now there’s a creature that looks like it can actually move!

The Stegosaur knocks down some little dinosaurs in the trees, which I think might be hypsilophodon. These dinosaurs were once thought to have inhabit trees.

Although many have disregarded this theory, I think personally it still may hold some ground. I mean, I’m not saying it’s probable, but would future paleontologists think this is probable?

Yes, those are goats. Yes, this is real. No, you can’t infer that with a skeleton.

The next dinosaur we see is a Parasaurolophus, and it’s one of the strangest depictions of the dinosaur I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know what it is, but something about that crest of skin throws me off. I’ve never seen the hypothetical skin flap of a Parasaurolophus depicted so big before.

Usually it’s depicted about as long as the image above, but in this movie the flap goes a long ways down the back. Heck, many scientists don’t think this dinosaur even had this crest, as it would have restricted the head movement. But these dinos in the film don’t seem to have any problem turning their heads. But it’s animation so anything is possible.

We get some more hadrosaurs (which I’m going to assume are meant to be Trachodon, I just gotta feeling), doing what first-quarter-of-the-20th-century-Edmontosaurus/Trachodon/Anatosaurus/hadrosaurs did best: act like literal giant ducks.

Look at those webbed feet! And why are you eating water plants? Did scietists forget you had the most complex tooth system of almost any dinosaur, meaning it could eat almost anything. You don't have to resort to eating pond scum YOU HAVE HUNDREDS OF TEETH GOD DANG IT!!!

Look at those webbed feet! And why are you eating water plants? Did scietists forget you had the most complex tooth system of almost any dinosaur, meaning it could eat almost anything. You don’t have to resort to eating pond scum YOU HAVE HUNDREDS OF TEETH GOD DANG IT!!!


I don’t even know what these dinosaurs are supposed to be. I think the big dinosaurs are supposed to be Plateosaurus or some other prosauropod (which are for some reason digging for truffles) but what about that little guy? Is that supposed to be a dicynodont? Dicynodon Wait, is it supposed to be one of those lizardy looking early depictions of Protoceratops?

What made these people think we were nothing but sprawled legged big lizards?

What made these people think we were nothing but sprawled legged big lizards?

Well, they had nothing else to compare dinosaurs to, so what would you expect. Things used to be simple back then, reptiles had scales and birds had feathers, no exceptions. They had no idea how complicated things would get. So for the time being, dinosaurs were big lizards.


This lovely looking creature is a Gryposaurus, a hadrosaur that was actually pretty popular in the early 20th century, but has since lost it’s popularity. Nowadays everyone loves the lambeosaurs.

I know, we are awesome.

I know, we are awesome.

The dinosaurs so far have been pretty chill, just doing their thing and trying not to bother anyone. That all changes, however, when this guy rears his ugly (and I do mean UGLY) head.

SHARPTOOTH!

Is that supposed to be an Allosaurus?

Is that supposed to be an Allosaurus?

Um, no. It’s actually confirmed to be a T. rex.

Then why does it have three fingers?

Then why does it have three fingers?

Because Walt Disney thought it looked better this way.

Oh yeah? And I bet Walt Disney looks better with gashes across his torso. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS THAT SONOVA...

Oh yeah? And I bet Walt Disney looks better with gashes across his torso. WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS THAT SONOVA…

Woah woah, calm down.

Don't tell me to be calm, pony boy!

Don’t tell me to be calm, pony boy!

Pony boy?

Anyway, the Tyrannosaurus is certainly weird looking, and in more ways then the fingers. The skull is very short and frog faced, but is consistent with how it was reconstructed in those days (see my post Dinosaurs Over The Years: Tyrannosaurus for more on that). But one thing I can’t get over are the fangs.

For some reason, two of the front teeth are shown to be much longer then the others, kind of like a Smilodon or a vampire. The canine teeth are way to mammalian (although vipers also have similar fangs). I don’t know if they did this for style or out of ignorance, but reptilian teeth normally don’t work that way, and that goes double for dinosaurs.

Wait a minute, did the Sharptooth from The Land Before Time also have fanged canine teeth?
He does! He actually freaking does. I can’t believe this crap!

Anyway, the T. rex decides to ruin everyone’s day and all the other dinosaurs run in a blind panic. Included in this fury is a pod of brachiosaurs, who submerge themselves in the water to escape the carnivore’s fury.

Those are some ugly brachiosaurs.

So, I wonder why the brontosaurs are only seen partially wading through water, while the brachiosaurs are seen living completely in it?

I…can’t…breath…

Oh yeah.

Eventually, the Rex finally sets his sight on a Stegosaurus, and engages in a fight so anachronistic that this would make more sense.

 

Time between T. rex and woolly mammoth? 64 million years. Time between T. rex and Stegosaurus? 85 million years. Makes you think , doesn’t it?

But it doesn’t matter, because they’re both dinosaurs.

The two continue to fight, while the other dinosaurs just look on.

Dude, pass the popcorn.

Although the Stegosaurus get’s a few good hits in, eventually the T. rex proves himself the victor.

RIP Stegosaurus. You will be missed.

The segment ends with the carnivore proclaiming his victory, right before he enjoys his well earned Stegosaurus steak. The next scene, however, begins with the extinction of the dinosaurs.

KABOOM!

Actually, no. This movie came out before it was generally accepted that a meteor impact wiped out the dinosaurs. This movie depicts the end of the Mesozoic going through what looks like a massive drought.

Although modern dinosaur fans may look at this and snicker at the thought of a heatwave killing all the dinosaurs, you have to remember that this was one of the better theories at the time. Others thought that the earth’s temperature got to cold for the dinosaurs, mammals ate all their babies, volcanic and tectonic disturbances, aliens, the great flood, or the idea that dinosaurs were too dumb to survive.

I’ll believe this before I believe dinosaurs were too dumb to survive.

Anyway, all the dinosaurs (a good 90% of the ones shown never witnessed the K/T extinction) are shown wandering around the desert, looking for food, drinking from rapidly depleting sources of water, and altogether roaming aimlessly until they fall on the ground dead. It’s actually kind if sad, even though I know most of these  dinosaurs didn’t live at the end of the Cretaceous.

Triceratops: yes.

Plateosaurus: heck no!

Hadrosaurs: yes.

Stegosaurus: definitely not!

What?! Is that a Ceratosaurus attacking a Diplodocus? When did this suddenly become the Jurassic?

This heinous disregard for science is unacceptable. Movies like this is why so many people think all dinosaurs lived at the same place and time.

This heinous disregard for science is unacceptable. Movies like this is why so many people think all dinosaurs lived at the same place and time.

The segment ends with all the dinosaurs dead…

Sorry, spoilers.

….when suddenly a massive earthquake and flood comes out of nowhere and wipes everything clean.

Floods and Earthquakes: God’s eraser.

So, that was the Rite of Spring. What did you think?

What did I think? It was terrible! A lazy attempt to show the earth's history that ended up an anachronistic sludge fest. What did you think.

What did I think? It was terrible! A lazy attempt to show the earth’s history that ended up an anachronistic sludge fest. What did you think.

I loved it.

WHAT?!

WHAT?!

Yes, I absolutely loved it. Yeah, I know I got a little upset when they said this segment would be ‘coldly accurate’ when it is chock full of mistakes, and I know that the dinosaurs don’t hold up by today’s standards, but that doesn’t stop my enjoyment of the film. The animation is breathtaking, some of the best I’ve ever seen. The mood and atmosphere of the segment is great, and really gives off this otherworldly feel. I also like it’s slow pace, which really allows the audience to just take in the visuals and music. And you know what, there is something really charming about old school dinosaurs. They kind of bring back a feeling of a simpler time in paleontology. And sure, I wouldn’t stand for depictions like this in any modern media, but they are quite in place in a movie made in the 40’s. I only wish it was longer, and perhaps depicted the Cenozoic and the Ice Age. I would love to see classic Disney animation of those animals, not to mention they would hold up much better than the dinosaurs.

Old Cenozoic artwork holds up much better than dinosaur art from the same time.

One other point worth mentioning is that this short was a great inspiration to another famous dinosaur animation…

It is kind of obvious.

Even Don Bluth said he owed a lot to The Rite of Spring with The Land Before Time. The colors and atmosphere are very similar, and the only real difference is that the dinosaurs in TLBT talk. So, without this segment, I may not have had one of my favorite childhood films.

But that doesn't excuse anything.

But that doesn’t excuse anything.

Sadly, you’re kind of right. Because of the inaccuracies in this film, not the ones that they couldn’t have known about but the ones they had full knowledge of at the time (misplaced species, three fingered Rex), I’m still going to have to gives this movie a low score. 5.5 out of 10. But that doesn’t detract from the artistic accomplishment this segment and the entire film is. If you’re into animation, check it out. If you’re into dinosaurs, at least check The Rite of Spring out.

Stop giving this movie credit! You really approve of this racist imagery?

Stop giving this movie credit! You really approve of this racist imagery?

Racist? What are you talking about? Sure, I know the mushroom and centaur segment are pretty off but…

Don't listen to this prick. He's no activist, he's an extremist. He wants to rid all inaccurate depictions of dinosaurs no matter when they came out or what merit they hold. That's not real science, that's extremism.

Don’t listen to this prick. He’s no activist, he’s an extremist. He wants to rid all inaccurate depictions of dinosaurs no matter when they came out or what merit they hold. That’s not real science, that’s extremism.

I figured you, Science of all things, would appreciate what I am doing.

I figured you, Science of all things, would appreciate what I am doing.

You can't go around berating things when they didn't know better.

You can’t go around berating things when they didn’t know better.

Enough!

Enough!

What? Who are you?

I am the Holy Lambeosaur, and I bid you to stop fighting. This constant bickering will go nowhere.

I am the Holy Lambeosaur, and I bid you to stop fighting. This constant bickering will go nowhere.

Question, are you the same as Raptor Jesus?

‘Sup.

Who, that poser? No, I'm totally different. Please, I implore that you three stop fighting. I'm afraid the path this will take will not end well for either of you.

Who, that poser? No, I’m totally different. Please, I implore that you three stop fighting. I’m afraid the path this will take will not end well for either of you.

No, I can't stop! I won't stop! I'll never stop! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

No, I can’t stop! I won’t stop! I’ll never stop! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Well that was weird.

You said it.

You said it.

Time Traveling Cynodont? Wait, were all those misplaced dinosaurs you’re fault?

Haha, maybe.

Haha, maybe.

To be continued…eventually…don’t hold you’re breath. Now, as I contemplate the fact that making a character called Dinosaur Martin Luther King an extremist has HORRIBLY unfortunate implications, join me next time as I do a mini review of of the Gravity Falls episode The Land Before Swine, and discuss tired old pterosaur tropes.

Oooh, this is going to be fun.

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

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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!

When Dinosaurs Ruled The Mind #31: The Land Before Time (Movie Review)

(This blog is not for profit. All copyrighted images belong to their respective owners and are used for review. New to the blog? Start on the introduction.)

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

Now, I’ve looked at the Land Before Time series two times already in the blog; in one I looked at the dinosaurs in the first movie, and in another I looked at all the sequels. But both times, I don’t think I fully expressed my thoughts and feelings of this movie. so, just like with Jurassic Park, I felt this film warranted my full attention, so I’ll be giving you my full review of the movie.

I can’t stress this enough, The Land Before Time was my childhood. Along with Jurassic Park (and a bucket full of old dinosaur toys my cousin gave me), this was the film that inspired my love of dinosaurs even to this day. I was obsessed with this film, and owned all the sequels all the way up to episode 10 (which kind of shows how young I really am). And this movie is still one of my favorite animated films of all time.

The movie was directed by 80’s animation extraordinaire Don Bluth, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. And this film is covered with the fingerprints of all three of those men. They’ve collaborated before with the animated film An American Tail, another 80’s animation staple. Sadly, this would be Don Bluth’s last collaboration with these Hollywood giants, as he felt they put too much pressure on him to create a film that was more audience friendly, instead of the film that Don Bluth himself wanted to create. You see, there are many changes to the movie that Don had to compromise on. Don Bluth is well-known for adding a scary twist to a lot of his animated movies, but this movie had scenes in it that Steve and George felt were too scary. In total of 11 minutes of film footage was cut from the final product, all of which was cut for being too frightening.

But even with those cuts, this movie is still pretty freakin’ scary for a kids movie. Well, at least it gives you something that’s rationally scary: carnivorous dinosaurs. The last Don Bluth film gave me an irrational fear of cats.

Don’t you dare judge me.

Alright, let’s get into The Land Before Time.

To be honest, the beginning of this film is rather strange, yet amazing at the same time.

We follow a small amphibian creature through the water as bursts of bubbles fill up the screen as the credits go by. The music is beautifully haunting, and it gives an otherworldly vibe to the scene. We continue to follow this amphibian creature, along with other fish like animals and reptiles in the water. The music begins to swell, and as a group of sea turtles swims by the camera, we get our title. It all sounds pretty random writing it out, but the effect I think is very well done. I think it sets up the feel of the movie quite nicely, even if it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie (I heard the reason this opening feels so disconnected is because Bluth needed to put his animators to work, but the actual movie’s plot wasn’t finalized yet, leading to this sequence of animation. Even if that was the case, I still think it works for the movie’s favor). We then exit the water, and a narrator takes over. He says:

“Once upon this same earth, beneath the same sun, long before you, and the ape, and the elephant as well. Before the wolf, the bison, the whale. Before the mammoth, and the mastodon, in the time of the dinosaur.”

I really like that above line, as it sets up perfectly what kind of world this movie takes place in. It’s still our world, but it from so long ago that we can barely even recognize it. It gives the film both a familiar and alien tone.

We see a few dinosaurs, while the narrator continues to explain about them. He states that the dinosaurs were of two kinds: some ate plants, while the others ate meat.

You know, more or less.

The narrator continues to say that the leaves are starting to die off, and that all the dinosaurs are heading to a place called The Great Valley, a land rumored to still be lush and green.

We then cut to a scene of a few dinosaur babies hatching from their eggs, whom will eventually become main characters. A little hadrosaur hatches from her egg, and goes after a butterfly. She runs into other animals she messes with, including a mammal she randomly jumps on and a snapping turtle who wants to bite her head off.

Yes, this looks safe.

The mom saves her from being chomped, and reunites her with her brothers and sisters.

We then see a little Triceratops being hatched, whom will also later become an important character. The scene sets up her basic personality, showing her at first fearless and headstrong, but then being frightened by lightning and rain.

We then cut to another scene, where a lone Apatosaurus egg (in the film referred to as ‘long necks’) sits in a nest next to the broken remains of the other eggshells, whom had presumably died. Then, a Struthiomimus struts into the scene, doing what 1980’s ornithomimids do best.

Steal eggs.

I tries to take the egg, but to no avail. After a bit of a trip, the egg returns to its family, and begins to hatch. This is where we see our main protagonist, Littlefoot.

AWWWWW….

After he hatches, Littlefoot meets his mother for the first time. He scared at first, but then see’s that she’s there to protect him. His mother licks him affectionately, and he licks her back in the absolutely cutest way.

OMG SO CUTE!!!

A bunch of lizards. amphibians, pterosaurs, and other assorted prehistoric critters come to say hi to the little newborn. He’s scared at first, but the begins to accept them as well.

Littlefoot’s mother then put’s him on her back to sleep. The narrator says that all that remained of Littlefoot’s herd was his mother and grandparents, and that he knew they would be together always. He then falls fast asleep on his mothers back and oh crap…

The Land Before Time

I’m sorry, but this entire scene just gets me teary eyed. I don’t know what it is. Is it the music? The nostalgia? The fact that it’s absolutely cute and adorable? The fact that I know what’s coming up? WHY AM I CRYING!?

No joke, every time you see that ‘feels’ meme above, it’s an actual time I started crying while watching this movie. No joke, no exaggeration, actual tears running down my face. And I’m man enough to admit it.

SHUT UP!

The scene fades to black, and we then time jump to a point where Littlefoot is a little bit older. He asks if there is anything else to eat. His mom remarks that the land has been changing, which is why they’re walking to the Great Valley to begin with (you would think Littlefoot would already know this). Still, I’m sure Littlefoot is tired of chewing on sticks all day.

Mmmm, fiber.

Then, Littlefoot’s mother finds him something softer to chew on; a special kind of leaf called a Tree Star.

Littlefoot looks at it with awe, probably never seeing a plant quite like it before. He plays with it, but doesn’t eat it right away.

His mother tells him that the Great Valley is full of tree stars, fresh water, and many more of their own kind. Littlefoot asks how they will get there, and she responds that they must keep going towards where the bright circle touches the ground (or for human speak, the sun’s horizon). Littlefoot then asks if she’s ever been to the Great Valley, in which she responds no. He the questions how she really knows it’s there then. She answers: “Some things you see with your eyes, others you see with your heart.”

Mother, I think I might be questioning our faith.

Littlefoot says he doesn’t understand, but his mom reassures that he will soon enough. Littlefoot then decides it’s time to eat the tree star…

…while making this face for some reason…

…but then he hears something. He hears laughing, and goes to investigate. There he meets the little Triceratops (or ‘three horn’) from earlier. She’s basing her head into rocks and chasing bugs. Littlefoot finds this amusing, but the little three horn doesn’t like being laughed at. They begin to run after each other, having fun, only for the three horn’s dad to interfere.

He tells Littlefoot to scram, saying that three horns never play with long necks.

Littlefoot’s mom picks him up before any more trouble brews. Littlefoot asks what a long neck is, never hearing such labels before. His mother states that that’s what they are.

The more politically correct term, however. is ‘Sauropod’. ‘Long Neck’ is more of a label.

Littlefoot wanted to continue playing with the three horn, and asks why he couldn’t. His mother responds that none of the different species of dinosaur did anything together, basically because they were different (seems like Littlefoot’s mom is also a bigot). But Littlefoot need not worry, as there will be many of his kind to play with once they get to the Great Valley.

Littlefoot still can’t wait to get to the valley, so his mother reminds him how they get there: they must first find the rock that looks like a long neck and pass the mountains that burn (volcanoes). It will be a long journey, but she reassures they will get there.

That night, while everyone else is asleep, Littlefoot is awoken by a frog (or hopper, as they call it). While doing so, he then meets up again with the three horn who who find out is named Cera ( Get it? Triceratops?), whom is also chasing the ‘hopper’.

After a bit of time chasing the frog and splashing in the swamp, the two begin to have fun with each other. But the fun is short-lived, as an intruder begins to stalk towards them. And thus enters the scariest villain in animation history….

SHARPTOOTH!!!

Now, this guy is absolutely scary. And he is AWESOME!!! As a kid I didn’t know whether I was terrified of him or completely intrigued. He begins to stalk the kids, who are hiding in what looks like a giant thorn bush. The two try to escape, but Littlefoot is almost captured by the monster. Before Sharptooth can get him, Littlefoot accidentally knocks a thorn into the tyrannosaur’s face, blinding him in one eye. The monster continues chace, only to be confronted by Littlefoot’s mom. And what follows in an awesome fight scene.

The battle is incredible. It’s tense, action packed, and the animation is incredible. At some points it seems like the Sharptooth is getting the upper-hand, but then Littlefoot’s mother smacks him into the ground, and the three run off.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there, as the ground begins to shake and an earthquake hits.

To make matters worse, the Sharptooth returns.

He begins to chase the kids again, and he almost catches them, but then a huge plume of volcanic gas shoots out of the ground like a geyser, knocking the Sharptooth off his feet.

And yes, it’s just as awesome as it sounds.

The tyrannosaur begins to fall into the abyss, taking Littlefoot and Cera right along with it. Just before the two are about to fall into the monster’s jaws, Littlefoot’s mother saves them, and Sharptooth goes careening down to bottomless pit.

 Cera tries to run back to her father, and gives out an absolutely eerie cry for help. Her father hears it, and screams out an equally eerie roar, fearing the loss of his child.

Chills, man.

After that, everything hits the fan. The ground begins to crack, dinosaurs scramble to safety (and many of them die), and herds get separated. Cera tries to return to her herd, but a massive chasm blocks her way. Cera’s herd and Littlefoot’s grandparents are left on the other side of the divide, while Cera, Littlefoot, and his mother are left behind on the opposite side. The scene is powerful, intense, and oh dang it! 

It’s happening again. And this isn’t even the sad part!

Next, we see Littlefoot all alone in the rain, calling out to his mother. He finds her, but she is unable to get up. He coaxes her on, but she doesn’t have the strength.

She asks him if he remembers the way to the Great Valley. Littlefoot responds he does, but why should he know because she’s going to be with him. You can tell he’s in denial, but he fully understands what’s about to happen. His mother responds she’ll always be with him, even if he can’t see her. He tells him to let his heart guide him (it whispers, so listen closely). After a bit of silence, Littlefoot calls out to his mom again.

Mother?”

Mother…..?”

Crap.

Darn, I’m a mess.

OK, I’ve got a confession to make. This death scene get’s to me more than Mufasa.

Blasphemy!!!!

I don’t know why! Logically, I should be more choked up by Mufasa’s death. Mufasa is a better character than Littlefoot’s mom; Mufasa is the most awesome and wisest king/dad in the world, while Littlefoot’s mom is just generic nice (although, she did fight of that hungry T. rex, which was awesome). We also spend more time with Mufasa. So, why does this scene make me cry waterfalls while Mufasa’s death only makes me sniffle?

Well, I think it’s because Littlefoot’s mom get’s to talk to him for a bit before she dies, so he kind of has to see her pass before him before his eyes. She gives him one last piece of advice, and then drifts off, leaving Littlefoot by himself hanging. Don’t get me wrong, Mufasa’s death still gets me, it’s just Littlefoot’s mother’s death that leaves me bawling my eyes out.

Anyway, now Littlefoot is an orphan, and all alone. While wandering by himself, he runs into an old dinosaur of undetermined species named Rooter.

 At first he seems a bit annoyed by Littlefoot suddenly waking him up, but then realizes what happened to Littlefoot, and begins to soften up a little bit. He tells Littlefoot that his mother’s death wasn’t his fault, her fault, or anyone’s fault, and that it was all a part of the circle of life.

Nants ingonyama bagathi Baba…

Littlefoot says that he misses her so much, and Rooter tells him he’ll always miss her, but that she’ll always be with him if he remembers the things she taught him.

OK, last Lion King comparison. This movie is more like Bambi anyway.

This character/scene was added to lessen the effect of the traumatizing moment that happened before it, and to explain to the children in the audience what the heck just happened. Honestly, I can tell this was kind of tacked on, since the scene kind of just comes and goes (not to mention that Rooter just abandons Littlefoot), but I see why they needed it.

So, what happens right after an emotionally scarring road-trip like the last couple of scenes? Why some fun, happy, colorful imagery that’s what!

We get this completely random scene where a bunch of baby pterosaurs fight each other over a cherry. It’s cute, sugary, and slapsticky. And it completely comes out of nowhere. It’s so jarring that such a nauseatingly cute scene can come right after the heartache we’ve just went through. It kind of reminds me of…

Tralalala tweet tweet twittle tweet tweet twittle tweet tweet twittle tweet tralalala, tralala….

It’ not a rip off. It’s an homage.

Anyway, the little baby pterosaurs get their cherries, and it’s nice and sweet. But then i goes right back again into heartbreaking. One of the babies sees Littlefoot laying down, sad and depressed. The narrator says that Littlefoot could only think about his mother, and didn’t notice his hunger and completely forgot about the Great Valley. Trying to cheer him up, the little pterosaur offers his cherry to Littlefoot in the sweetest gesture imaginable. But it doesn’t work.

In the next scene, we see Littlefoot nudging against a footprint in the sand that is presumably his mother’s. Then his tree star, which he lost during the earthquake, somehow returns to him. Littlefoot looks upon it, and begins hearing his mother’s voice.

“Littlefoot, do you remember the way to the Great Valley?”

Um, Littlefoot? You sure that’s not one of these tree stars?

The voice of his mother reminds him of how to reach the Valley, and Littlefoot resumes his quest to get there. The whole set up of the scene seems very mystical, with the disembodied voice of Littlefoot’s mother talking and the tree star coincidentally landing right in front of Littlefoot IN A BEAM OF LIGHT!!! I mean seriously, what was that? Dinosaur Heaven?

However, all that was said in Littlefoot’s mother’s disembodied voice was things that Littlefoot already knew, so it could have been just a visual representation of Littlefoot having an epiphany. So I’ll leave it at that.

Then there is a scene where Littlefoot see’s a long neck’s shadow across a clip face, and thinks it’s his mother. He runs to it excited, only to find out the shadow was his own. He is left heartbroken, fully realizing that he is truly alone.

Littlefoot continues to wander, and runs into Cera again. He asks if she wants to join him on his journey to the valley, but she refuses (she’s acting pretty snotty for a kid who was saved by this guy’s mother). She tries to pass through the gorge the earthquake created that separated her from her family, but ends up at the bottom of the chasm. Littlefoot offers again, but she stubbornly walks off, saying along the way that three horns only talk and travel with other three horns. Littlefoot is once again heartbroken, and goes off.

It is at this point that we meet Ducky, the big mouth, or ‘swimmer’ (really a Saurolophus, and back when we thought hadrosaurs were water bound creatures).

Those were the days, AMR?

Ducky introduces herself to Littlefoot, but at first he seems uninterested, and even tells her that long necks don’t talk to other creatures (he’s probably given up to the point that he accepts Cera’s ideology). Ducky won’t give up, however, and tries to pass of as a long neck as well, to no avail. She then admits that she’s actually a ‘big mouth’, and that she lost her parents in the earthquake. Ducky’s charm hits the right notes (not to mention Littlefoot probably relates to her), and Littlefoot begins to warm up to her. He then finally invites her along to the journey.

We then get a cute little scene with Littlefoot and Ducky playing that ‘don’t step on the crack’ game we all used to play. Now, I’ll say this. I know some people really can’t stand Ducky as a character. They find her annoying beyond belief, and I think it my be because of scenes like this. One of the problems in this movie is that it has an abundance of cutesy scenes, and if you’re not into that some stretches of this film will be unbearable. These scenes often don’t even contribute to the plot, making the film often seem clunky and unorganized. that being said, I really like ducky. I like how optimistic she is, and how eager she is to make a friend. She can come off as a bit precocious at times, but for me it never gets too unbearable.

After that little game, Littlefoot begins to gnaw on a tree branch, when suddenly a little creature lands on his head, scaring him. It turns out to be a young Pteranodon, and our next main character, Petrie.

This is another character that many people find annoying. He does have a shrill voice, a speech impediment, and a quirk that makes him constantly replace ‘I’ with ‘me’. I can see why this can get on people’s nerves.  But like Ducky, I have no problem with Petrie. Maybe it’s nostalgia, but i think it’s because I related to him most in the movie when I was a kid (although at certain points I felt more like a Littlefoot). Oh well, at least there are people who like him. I can tell, because some of the fan art that draws him as an adult make him quite the specimen.

I guess he takes after his uncle? If that makes sense.

One of Petries other quirks is that he’s a ‘flyer’ that can’t fly. As you can probably guess, that’s embarrassing for him.

Meanwhile, we find Cera trying to traverse the caverns she has gotten herself into. While doing so, she runs into the Sharptooth from earlier that fell in. At first, she’s frightened.

And understandably so.

But then she realizes it’s dead, and begins to have a little fun with it.

She begins butting into it, and then decides to get a running start before she hits it again. But then the beast wakes up, with its eyes glowing in Cera’s face like the eye of Sauron.

Concealed within his fortress, the lord of Mordor sees all. His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh. You know of what I speak, Gandalf: a great Eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.

So yeah, he’s not dead. Cera runs like heck.

Cera eventually finds her way back to Littlefoot and the group, and warns them about the Sharptooth. Littlefoot is insistent that the Sharptooth is dead, and they aren’t in any danger (Um, Littlefoot? Even if that sharptooth was dead, he can’t possibly be the only sharptooth around, right?). Cera responds by saying that her father told her that ‘flatheads’ had really small brains.

You can’t say that word! Only ‘we’ can say that word!

Cera then goes into her recollection of the events (all very much dramatized mind you). Caught up in the story, she accidentally stomps on a piece of wood and launches Ducky into the air.

 And somehow survives.

She lands near an egg, which hatches into the final addition to our group, Spike the Stegosaurus (or ‘spike tail’).

Back when Spike actually had ‘spikes’ on his tail.

Don’t see no spikes. do you? Geez, no wonder I used to think he was an Ankylosaurus.

Spike is a newborn baby, so he doesn’t talk at all. He’s basically here to look goofy, eat all the plants in sight, and add some extra muscle to the group (he is huge after all, and he just came out of the egg too). Of all the characters, Spike may be the one that annoys me the most, since he doesn’t really seem to add much to the narrative. He’s not bad though, and he does contribute a lot of the time, so he’s not dead weight.

So now, the friends continue their hunt for the Great Valley. The narrator comments that there has never been a herd quite like this one, with such vastly different species traveling together.

Hmm, an Apatosaurus, Triceratops, Saurolophus, Pteranodon, and Stegosaurus traveling together is weird, huh?

How about a mammoth, a sloth, and a sabre tooth cat together? Plus a couple of possums a bit later.

Eventually, the group finds a cluster of trees, and mistakes it for the Great Valley. However, out of nowhere, a bunch of sauropods appear and gobble up all the leaves of the trees.

Although they realize this can’t possibly be the Great Valley, they wait for the dinosaurs to leave and search to see if they left anything behind.

The do find a single tree that still had leaves on it, but they are out of reach. Littlefoot suggests that Petrie flies up there to get them, but he refuses. Ducky tells him not to feel bad, since many things cannot fly: rocks, trees, sticks…

Well, don’t rub it in.

 To remedy this situation, the group (except Cera) stacks themselves up and tries to use their collective height to reach the top. Petrie, being the acrophobic, is naturally on top. He throws down as many leaves as he can, all while trying not to look at the ground. Of course, Cera is getting a kick out of this. Eventually, there is enough leaves on the ground to feed them. However, Littlefoot falls, leaving Ducky and Petrie dangling from the tree. Ducky jumps into the leaves, but not before giving a big smooch on Petrie’s cheek.

The ship has sailed.

I hate the Internet.

Anyway, Petrie makes it to the ground by kind of ‘parachuting’ with his wings, floating softly onto the leaves. Littlefoot goes to get Cera and tell her they now have food, but she continues to be stubborn and insists on getting her own food. She tries ramming into a tree hoping some leaves will fall (and I’m pretty sure the tree is bare). Littlefoot, being the designated nice guy, throws some of his leaves on top of Cera, making her think her plan succeeded.

However, this nice gesture only boosts her ego. She is still determined to do things herself, and it’s REALLY at this point where you hope this character get’s a big fat heaping scoopful of karma  à la mode. However, she does seem to really care about her friends, because that night she joins them all in sleeping together. Or she could have just been trying to escape the cold, the selfish little-

Anyway, the next morning, the Sharptooth returns, debunking Littlefoot’s theory that it is deceased (but seriously Littlefoot, Sharptooth couldn’t have been the only predator around).

Anyway, the gang escapes the monster by entering a small cave, in which Sharptooth then gets his snout trapped in. When they get to the other side, they find the rock that looks like a Long Neck, one of the land marks to the Great Valley, meaning they’re going the right way.

The group continues going onward, but soon become exhausted. Littlefoot tries to urge them on, but their will continues to get weaker. Littlefoot believes the Great Valley might just be over a cliff face, but once they get there, all they see is rock.

This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and Cera announces she’s leaving to take an easier way. Littlefoot tells her that she’s going the wrong way. Cera asks who said so, and Litllefoot answers “my mother.” Cera says that she must have been a stupid long neck.

Understandably, this get’s Littlefoot pissed. They begin to fight, but sadly, Triceratops are better fighters.

Cera wins the spat, and she begins her journey elsewhere. The rest of the group joins Cera, leaving Littlefoot once again alone.

So Cera, can I see your ‘easier’ way?

So, Cera’s so-called ‘easier way’ get’s Petrie stuck in a tar pit and get’s Spike and Ducky trapped in a lava flow.

Cera, you’re so dumb.

Luckily, Littlefoot returns to save his friends just in time. However, when trying to get Petrie out of a tar pit, he accidentally gets himself trapped as well.

Meanwhile, Cera is getting chased by a bunch of Pachycephalosaurus.

So, Cera, how’s that ‘easier way’ coming along?

The dinosaurs almost kill her, but then a black blob of eldritch abomination comes by and scares them away. Cera is scared as well, but it just turns out to be the gang still covered in tar.

Embarrassed, Cera hides from them, and begins to cry to herself. The narrator says that she was too proud to admit that she went the wrong way.

This scene is actually pretty major, as Cera finally realizes the mistakes she has made, and has found out she isn’t as perfect as she thought she was. She put her friends and herself in danger, and now has to come to terms with it. It’s a pretty major turning point for the character.

Apparently, Cera leaves the group (the movie doesn’t really explain that part to well). Littlefoot and the group continues to head toward the Great Valley, but the Sharptooth returns once more.

How’d he get up there?

Littlefoot has had enough of this guy, and plans to get rid of him once and for all. His plan is to lure him into some deep water and drop a giant rock on his head and forcing him under the surface, drowning him.

Littlefoot concludes that the only component missing is some bait, and the entire group looks at Ducky, all thinking the same thing.

Wow, that’s…kind of mean. I mean, why her? Why was she the obvious choice? Does the entire group secretly hate her? And why would a Tyrannosaurus chase after something so small? It would be like us going after a grain of rice. It would be like a Tyrannosaurus chasing a mouse. it just doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, they convince her to do it, and she follows the Sharptooth into a cave.

She tries to get his attention, but because she is so infinitesimally tiny, he doesn’t pay her any attention and decides to leave her and the rest of her friends alone.

Oh, I’m sorry. I meant the opposite.

The Sharptooth is now in the water, right where they need him to be so they can push the rock onto him. Littlefoot and Spike try, but the boulder barely moves. Petrie then almost falls into the monster’s jaws, only for Sharptooth’s breath to rise him into the air.

Because of this extra push, Petrie is able to stay aloft, and finally learns how to fly.

However, Ducky is still in danger. With new found confidence, Petrie attacks the Sharptooth and lodges himself in it’s eye. Then the Sharptooth JUMPS ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF THE CLIFF!!!

Um. is that possible?

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, Cera comes to help. Little exclaims that she came back (apparently she left), and she rams into the boulder, with the Sharptooth still on it. He topples off the cliff, and into the water, but not before grabbing Petrie and dragging him in with him.

The whole group is saddened by the loss of their friend, but no one more so than Ducky.

But then guess who comes crawling out of the water?

Silly audience, they would never kill the comic relief character.

Oh really?

Of course, no one is happier than Ducky.

Yay! The fan fiction may continue!

Meanwhile, Littlefoot’s hemp begins to take effect again as he get’s hallucinations of his mother in the clouds.

The ghost of Littlefoot’s mother leads him into a cavern, and on the other side, we finally meet our destination.

OMG, COLOR!!!

After all their tribulations, the gang finally makes it to the Great Valley, and everyone reunites with their families.

user posted image

This scene just gets to me. It’s so nice to finally see these characters happy, after all they’ve been through. They really do deserve it. In the end, they come together in a group hug, as the narrator proclaims that they”l live their lives here, with generation after generation telling of the story of how they came to the valley, long ago. It’s absolutely perfect. The music, the atmosphere, the narration, it’s all just so beautiful- oh crap..

Please, no more crying. I can’t take it anymore NO NOT THE SONG!!!!!

Yeah, re-watching this film just made me a blubbering mess. It’s probably the nostalgia talking though, since this was one of the biggest films of my childhood and the reason I’m even into dinosaurs in the first place. That being said, the film does have problems. The pacing is a little wonky, with some scenes going on too long or feeling disjointed from the entire plot altogether (I can chalk that up to the last minute edits this film went through that took 11 minutes out of the film however). And to some, the entire film may seem a bit too cutesy in some parts. Not to mention the fact that some dinosaurs are depicted accurately for the time, others look like they walked out of a Charles Knight painting, and others still looked like they were from an 80’s Saturday morning cartoon about dinosaurs.

Oh, I’ll rip you apart some other time.

Still, this movie has a lot to offer. The animation is incredible, and the visuals stand out even to this day (traditional animation never gets old). The atmosphere is incredible, with the music adding very much to it. The characters are fun and memorable, and all the actors give solid performances, even the child actors, who all do a very good job. The film certainly holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, and I can certainly see why. Apparently, Universal saw that as a marketing opportunity, and well…

…the rest is history.

Join me next time as I take another look at Jurassic World, and discuss the new website, the dinosaur’s scientific accuracy, some news/rumors, and why I think this movie is important.

Still awesome, but is it accurate?