Movie 39: Dinosaur

dinosaur posterI knew it would happen.  Eventually a movie would get the dreaded F.  Even a movie that I really didn’t enjoy like Three Cabelleros or The Aristocats I still found things I liked.  Literally the only thing I liked in Dinosaur, Disney’s 39th animated classic, is the music by James Newton Howard.   Everything else really sucks.


Dinosaur is directed by Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton and it was the first movie for Disney to use all CGI.  At the time it cost $100  million to make and Disney said in the screening kit  “The visual effects will make it an instant classic”

Boy have they not held up.  I hate CGI and these dinosaurs look particularly bad. Honestly they look like their plastic toys from Mcdonalds

Here’s the toy-

mcdaladar1760Here’s the dinosaur from the film-


Take out the backdrop they look the same. In fact I actually think the toy looks better…

The velociraptors look so bad.  It boggles the mind.

That’s an actual screenshot from the movie. That’s how bad it looks.

VelociraptorsJust as a comparison the velociraptors in Jurassic Park made 7 years earlier in 1993.  It looks so much better-

jurrasic park
Jurassic Park had way better dinosaurs 7 years earlier than this film

Just like Jurassic park there are backgrounds that are real, which is cool at the beginning when it is lush and pretty.  The first 5 minutes was shown in the trailer and it is beautiful if you take out the CGI dinosaurs

The Story-

So the visuals, which were supposed to make it so special, have not held up.  How about the story?

Unfortunately I saw little to like about that either.  It starts out a lot like Tarzan with a Carnotaurus (why not just do  a T-rex. That’s what we all know as the villain of the dinosaurs…) kills a herd of dinosaurs.  An egg is saved and taken by a bird dinosaur (I don’t know all the names sorry!) to an island and it is found by lemurs (although the film refers to them as monkeys).

These lemurs look fine in a photo but the way they move in the movie feels so choppy- like the monkeys in Indiana Jones 4 that look so bad.  It’s kind of amazing when you think about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which blew me away in creating realistic apes.  How far we’ve come (I realize motion capture isn’t exactly the same but still the computer fur and movement looks so much better).

lemursJust like Kala in Tarzan a nice female lemur named Plio decides to raise the baby dinosaur (why not have the male raise the baby dino and the mother resist?  That would be new and different just anything other than the tired story we get). We even get the baby urinating on the male.  Like a bad sitcom with dinosaurs (actually there was a sitcom with dinosaurs and it was much better than this!)

There are friend monkeys just like Tarzan’s friends and one is called Zini and he is unlucky in love but he thinks he’s a smooth talker- never seen that before…

Various things happen and then we get a giant meteor shower that destroys the jungle.  Even this scene looks awful.  The characters look washed out, the explosion looks fake.  Like I said, the music is only thing I like.

So with the land now desolate and ugly they start searching for a new home and find on the other side of the ocean a herd of dinosaurs like Aladar.  You would think when you come across your own species as a dinosaur and you’ve been living with monkeys you’d be pretty excited but not so much.

In the herd we get every cliche.  There’s the love interest, jerk, crony,  wise talker, and everything else.  The big conflict for the rest of the movie is to find the nesting grounds.


As they march the leader Kron refuses to wait for the weaker dinosaurs.  He’s a Darwinist and believes ‘only the strong prevail and the weaker should be left to die’.  At first I thought this was a joke from the filmmakers.  I mean really?  A movie about dinosaurs is going to tackle Darwinism?

The whole species is basically killed by the sun…

Wouldn’t it make sense to keep the herd strong with as many as possible and not just kill off the weak?  They constantly show these predators out there,  and I think if there was a thinning herd that is good for nobody but this movie isn’t smart enough for that.

And it is all handled in such a preachy and stupid way it really doesn’t matter. Kron is bad.  Aladar is good.  People are thirsty.  They stomp their foot and find water (no joke) and the carotaurus appears sporadically and radically changes sizes throughout the movie.  At one point he is as big as a velociraptor, at others as tall as high mountains.

Part of the problem too is the dinosaurs show no emotion on their faces.  They look exactly the same when they are happy, sad, angry, and everything else and they don’t really have any arms to show emotions.  It makes t all very stale.

The writing is also laughably bad.  I tweeted that Michael Bay and George Lucas must have secretly wrote this script because it sure seems like their type of movie.  We get line stale lines like these:

“What’s happening?”

“My brother’s moving the herd”

“If you ever interfere I will kill you”

“stay away from him”

“Aladar, no.  Just go”

“What’s with you?  At least I know to get out of the rain”

What was this written by 5 year olds at a script convention? Every line explained the obvious like that.  We see he is moving the herd! It’s the twilight school of dinosaur script writing…

Eventually they get to the nesting grounds.  The carotaurus eats Kron and that’s it. 82 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

Movie Review/Conclusion-

This movie sucks.  If you like it great. I don’t get it.  It looks awful.  Almost unwatchable.  The story is stupid and plodding.  The script is laughably bad.

The voice work is fine and the score is very good.

That’s it.

Overall Grade- F

28 thoughts on “Movie 39: Dinosaur

  1. I actually saw this thing in theatres. It is by far my last favourite Disney movie. I can’t express how much I hate it. The animation is ugly (aside from the first few minutes with the egg which they used for a trailer back then), the colours dreadful, the story bland, the characters rage from forgettable to annoying…what was Disney thinking? And what were they thinking to add this…thing….to canon later on? If there is one movie which really should be buried and forgotten, it is this one.

    1. I totally agree. It stinks. It looks awful. The writing is laughable. The story is a joke. It’s hard to imagine anything being worse than this so I’m just going to say it this is #54 on my end rankings. It sucks.

      It’s not even like that kind of CGI was so groundbreaking. As I mention in the review Jurassic Park was made in 1993! This looks terrible compared to that.

      I said on twitter I would rather watch 82 minutes of Barney the purple dinosaur kids show and I stand behind that. This sucks.

      1. actually, instead of Dinosaurs, UK got The Wild. that Madagascar ripoff that isnt even Disney. id choose Dinosaur over that anyday now.

      2. I’ve never seen that. Is it really bad then? It looks awful. Strange that there would be a difference between UK Canon and Stateside. I just thought Dinosaur was so slow and ugly. The characters were so obvious and the attempt to be deep with Darwinism was really stupid. I found it tough to get through but that’s just me. The Wild must be very rough to be worse than that. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Dinosaur should be buried and forgotten? I disagree. I’d say Home On The Range and Chicken Little should be buried and forgotten. But that’s me, I guess.

      1. I also found it tough to sit through but you are right everyone has different tastes!

      2. Not to say that either of those are good movies….but at least they are not a tired repeat of a story which has been told multiple times already (and which Blue Skies of all people did better only two years later with Mamuts and tigers).
        Disney did it in Fantasia.
        Don Bluth did it in Land Before Time and raised the stakes so high that I doubt that anyone will ever reach it.
        But no, Disney had to do it again and created something which is so bland and unpleasant to look at that I nearly fell asleep in theatres. The damn movie was not even made by the animation studios.
        I can excuse enough. Not every movie a studio makes can be good. Sometimes it can go wrong really badly. As long as I have the feeling that the badly is the result of a failed experiment, I can life with it. But this movie feels like Disney thought “hey, we do the CGI/real footage mixture thing, and we’ll do it really well, so let’s slap a story together and make money out of it”.

  2. The nicest thing I can say for this film is that it is basic at best. Even now, I barely remember anything about it, the colors made the film even more dull, the writing is so bad, the characters are archetypes instead of characters, and the story is extremely thin. Definitely one of the worst films in the canon, the canon this film should not have been entered in.

    1. Agreed. It wasnt even so bad its good like Make Mine Music was for me. This just sucks. It’s a classic example of thinking special effects will save your movie. Boy were they wrong and like I said in 2000 the special effects really werent that special. It’s baffling

  3. You know, I’m going to go ahead and be nice to this film and give it a C-. While it’s not a great one, at least it did have some, if not a lot of, good to great visuals, the musical score was enjoyable, and I liked how Aladar was willing to stay behind to help the characters who were lagging behind (which is more than we can say about the leader of the herd). Oh, and I liked how Kron’s second-in-command, Bruton, had a change of heart before he died (sure, not without some convincing from Plio, but still). But if you hate this film with a passion, I understand.

    1. There you go. Glad you found things to enjoy. I didn’t think it even looked great. Even for the day CGI had been done better. But always appreciate others insight and opinions.

  4. Very interesting; I actually watched Disney’s Dinosaur a fair number of times all those years ago. Before that, I watched Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Walking with Dinosaurs and The Land Before Time almost religiously. I still watch them from time to time, but I can’t say the same about this movie. Every time I think back to the actual film it’s really disappointing. You’re right about the music; I still listen to it on YouTube when I’m working on my creative writing! When Doug Walker used it in his Disneycember reviews, it’s incredible!

    But yeah, this feels less an attempt to tell a story and more an attempt to make “their own version” of ‘The Land Before Time’ but with much less effort. None of the visuals hold up, the comedy is lame and the characters are as bland and boring as ever. Only a handful of short scenes really worked. Had it been 2D animated and drawn upon more of Fantasia’s majestic visuals, and simply let the visuals and music tell the story we’d all remember it much more fondly.

    The scary thing is, this movie is Academy-BAIT compared to that big pile of dino-crap from 2013; Walking with Dinosaurs 3D!! If you found Dinosaur bad, believe me when I say the recent movie is worse! And it really bums me out because I was, and still am, a big dinosaur nut. Let’s hope Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ (and in my case Jurassic World) manages to surpass expectations.

    1. I heard that latest one is terrible. I will never see it!
      Whether 2D, 3D, stop motion or live action it always comes down to the script and the story.

  5. Okay. You obviously don’t like really good old movies. I can tell because you said that George Lucas’s writing is “stale”. So, you obviously hate good movies like “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. That pretty much tells me all that I need to know right there.

    1. Raiders of the Lost Ark was written by Lawrence Kasden. Lucas helped with the overall story but he did not write it. Claiming I dont like all old movies because I think one writer is stale is quite the claim. Your comment is completely baffling to me

  6. Your image of the Velociraptor in Jurassic Park is actually from the 3rd movie, which was AFTER Disney’s Dinosaur – also, for many parts of the Jurassic Par movies, including the image you used) puppetry and animatronics were used. That’s why it looks better – it’s not CGI, it’s real.

  7. I knew you were clueless and didn’t know what you were talking about when you said George lucas’s writing is stale

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