Movie #40 in the Disney Animated Marathon is beautiful, absolutely beautiful! Also, due to procurement issues Fantasia/2000 is being skipped over in the marathon for the time being. As soon as I can procure a hard copy I will get to it, I promise!
Screenplay By: John Harrison & Robert Nelson Jacobs
Directed By: Eric Leighton & Ralph Zondag
I spent a good portion of Dinosaur with my jaw wide open and my tongue nearly hitting the floor. Visually I dare say you may not be able to find a better looking animated film than Dinosaur ever! Yes, I am comfortable using that amount of hyperbole, if that means anything to you. Dinosaur isn’t a long movie, it doesn’t need to be, yet in it’s short run time it found new ways to make me say “wow” over and over again and trust me, that doesn’t happen often.
The prehistoric era isn’t exactly my forte, so while I am sure that Dinosaur is less than authentic in many ways, I can’t say that ever bothered me. Were all the dinosaurs in Dinosaur rendered according to their placement on the good guy/bad guy scale? Yes, they were, but so what? They still looked amazing, rippling leather skin to be seen everywhere, lemurs so expressive that I could have spent the entire movie just watching them move around, and backgrounds so lush, and stark, that I wanted to explore every inch of this created world. The bottom line is that Dinosaur is an arresting film visually, one of the best looking films I have ever seen. Dinosaur floored me with its beauty, I had heard next to nothing about Dinosaur going into it, but I did not expect the mouse to give me such a gorgeous picture.
You may have noticed that I am focusing an awful lot on the visuals, and there is a reason for that. In all other areas Dinosaur is just sorta there, if you know what I mean? It isn’t bad in any area, but it isn’t particularly inventive or good either. The plight of this group of dinosaurs and lemurs is fun, but it’s something we have seen before. The message of Dinosaur is blunt and very obvious, and it does work for what it wants to be, but it never rises above the level of adequate. The characters in Dinosaur are good, bad, cute and mean, but they never add any layers to those distinctions, leaving them all quite bland. Dinosaur fails to reach for artistic heights in any realm besides its animation, that much is plain to see.
If this sounds a lot like a summer blockbuster review that is because Dinosaur is very reminiscent of a standard summer blockbuster. On one level it is the most impressive of films, but on every other level Dinosaur is the most rudimentary of films. Your enjoyment of Dinosaur will come down to whether you are willing to accept a decent, but done many times over, story and bland characters with your jaw dropping visuals. Sometimes I’m not able to do as such, but this time I was and I thoroughly enjoyed Dinosaur. I would have liked to of seen more in those other areas and the mind races at the thrilling prospect of this level of detailed animation carried out with more of a story behind it. But, I’m still happy with the film I was given, warts and all Dinosaur is an almost never talked about Disney film worth checking out. I’m telling you, it’s animation is like, wow!