: Eric Leighton, Ralph Zondag.
Walon Green, Thom Enriquez.
D.B. Sweeney, Joan Plowright, Ossie Davis, Della Reese
The truth must be said, that this is a children movie. Yet, you don't have to be a child in your heart or a pedophile in order to watch it. Either you are facing the unfortunate task of entertaining your offsprings, or, you are just a moderately normal, more than slightly techie person, and you are into fancy animation and computer generated graphics, the likes of which are featured in 'Dinosaur'.
Dinosaur is a kind of pre-historic Lion King, also by Disney.
Here the hero, an Iguanodon dinosaur, named Aladar, also does not grow among his own kind, but by a group of Lemurs (small ancient primates which still exist today). A meteorite shower forces him to abandon his beloved home. During his flight from the terrors of the heavens, he meets a herd of dinosaurs on their way to the dinosaur paradise, the mating grounds. The herd is lead by a big vicious dinosaur, who prefers to leave behind the weak and helpless for the benefit of the rest of the herd. As in The Lion King, Aladar confronts the violent, evil Fascist leader, while doing his best to help the old and weak (How very not Axis of Evil of him).
Dinosaur was built as a mixture of the usual children-nature-journey movies. Real life nature and journey movies stand out for their scenery shots, revealing beautiful landscapes and animals in their natural habitat. Animated movies may encounter some difficulties when trying to achieve the same effect. Disney wisely chose to overcome this problem by using real film shots which were enhanced by strong video computers. The dinosaurs were a combination of computer controtlled graphics drawn by hand and by computer. The highlight of which is a powerful and beautiful openning scene of pre-historic landscape from a bird's flight.
All these efforts amounted to the following technical figures, brought here for the benefit of the statistics fans: with a budget of 127 million US Dollars; over 2000 special effects shots were taken just for the opening scene in which several thousands dinosaurs of 30 different species take part; 550 video processors were used 30,000 hours a week which amounted to an overall of 3.2 million hours of processing time. 48 animators took part in the making of 'Dinosaur'; a third of them came from a background of hand drawn animation; another third from still pictures animation; and another third from computer generated animation. The entire movie production time came to a staggering length of 4 years.
The major downsize of the movie is its scientific credebility.
Fortunately, the days of movies in which dinosaurs are farm animals and pets of humans, are behind us, yet still it was difficult for Disney to accept the fact that innocent children would have to identify with vicious creatures as the cold-blooded(?) dinosaurs. Of course, they couldn't use humans, which appeared approximately 65 million years after the dinosaurs. "That would be ridiculous", they thought, "even a child would know that this is preposterous".
What they needed was an animal which will be ancient enough as well as humanoid. They tracked down the evolutionary tree and chose the Lemurs, an ancient primate species which still exists today. There are only two problems. First, Lemurs only appeared about 40 millions years ago, 25 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. Using Lemurs in Dinosaur is as wrong as using humans. Disney probably thought, "a 25 million years gap is better than a 65 million one, the suckers wouldn't know the difference". Second, even if we over look this insignificant gap, the 40 million years ago 'Lemurs' were only the ancestors of now-days lemurs and were quite different from them by name and greatly by form. The lemurs in 'Dinosaur' are current lemurs.
In conclusion, don't expect too much from 'Dinosaur'. Watching it certainly won't bring you to new heights of thrills and excitement. Yet, bear in mind that 'Dinosaur' was meant for children, or at least as Disney see children, and as such it can sometimes seem banal, if not dull. As for children, I expect most would like it, or at least bear it impatiently. Most of the children in the theater I watched Dinosaur in sounded quite enthusiastic after the screening.
The graphics are sure worth it. Especially the opening scene which is spectacular and shows signs of some brilliant creative thinking, which unfortunately could not be found in the rest of the movie. Of course, you can watch the entire opening scene in the 'Dinosaur' promo.
credits source: http://imdb.com/