The problem with making a movie starring a bunch of dinosaurs is that they're
really not the best actors.
And in the end, that may be the biggest problem with Disney's live-action
family adventure, Dinosaur.
Problems aside, this movie was bound to happen. They have incredible
charisma, you can't help but look at them when they're on the screen. And of
course, they're so damned BIG! Lord knows I'd have hated to be a Craft
Services manager on this shoot! Still, once the technology to clone these
monsters existed, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came
So now you have a bunch of Jurassic actors and you're gonna make a movie.
What movie are you gonna make? A romantic comedy?
"Do you love me, or am I just another piece of meat to you?"
"I'm a Velociraptor! Everybody's just a piece of meat to me!"
A gangster thriller?
"Everybody freeze or the Stegosaurus gets it!"
How about a science fiction adventure!
"The Furbies are attacking! All power to shields! Power up Photon Cannons!
Lt. Spandex! I know you're a Tyrannosaurus Rex but could you stop eating the
crew and keep your mind on the job for two seconds!!!"
OK, so they're not the most versatile actors in Hollywood.
So that means we get your basic 'get the herd to the nesting grounds'
Here's your plot. Aladar's egg is found by a bunch of lemurs, who raise him
as one of their own. Then the meteors start falling and destroy their
island, so Aladar and his family go to a new place and meet new dinosaurs who
are on the way to their nesting grounds. Aladar and Co. join up.
It's a pretty boring plot.
Oh sure, some of the actors do nice jobs to try to make it interesting. Mr.
Carnotaur does a good job being scary with all of his pointy teeth, but he's
a pretty one-dimensional villain. Aladar does all he can with his generic
Disney hero part, but in the end, his inexperience shows onto the screen and
he simply doesn't have it in him to carry the movie. And Neera's
strong-willed heroine is so by-the-book, it's pathetic.
Of course, it's not entirely the actors' fault. The story lacks punch. They
have to get the herd to the nesting grounds or... they'll have to get them
there tomorrow. They have to find water or else... they'll have to find
water somewhere else.
The only character that has any kind of growth is a quasi-evil henchman, who
finds inner strength and purpose, but he's the eighth or ninth most important
character, and when you have to go that far down the list for a character
arc, the script's in trouble.
The effects are pretty good. It really looks like huge meteors are falling
from the sky, though the entire idea of putting falling meteors at the
BEGINNING of a dinosaur story is a little silly. But that's the entire
caveat of the story. You've got falling meteors, characters who are "the
last of her kind", tales of all the weird things that are happening "these
days" and monumental land changes, things that point to the end of the
Dinosaur Age, and yet the movie has a happy ending with everyone frolicking
in the green grass. Shouldn't they all be going extinct right about now?
I only hope that the next film these actors are hired to do has a bit more
spunk, a bit more life, and a bit more realism. End it with a shot of their
bones on display in a museum.
Dinosaur gets 2 Babylons. Disney should stick to their pattern and go back
to releasing animated movies in the summer instead of live-action junk like
The SMC is testing my sanity with this one. I think he got a Self-Made
For those of you who barraged me with emails last week about the crappy
editing job you thought I did, the truth is that I was not able to edit the
SMC's Battlefield Earth review last week, so I forwarded your emails to my
assistant who covered for me, Jr. Brunching Editor Dietrich Tribble, who I
Directed By: Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag
Starring: Aladar, Neera, Kron, Baylene, Eema, Yar, Zini, Plio, Bruton and
Mean Old Mr. Carnotaur.