Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Dinosaur" at amazon.com
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 82 minutes
With the Voices of D.B. Sweeney, Julianna Marguiles,
Samuel E. Wright, Ossie Davis, Alfre Woordard, Della Reese,
Joan Plowright, Max Casella
Directed by Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton
Retail Price: $29.99
Features: Sneak Previews, Four Featurettes,
"Dinosearch" Game, "Dinopedia", "Aladar's Adventure" game,
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Recomposed
Full Frame, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1,
English Subtitles, Chapter Search (27 Chapters), THX
Over the past few decades of film, there have been many
animated movies which have given new life into filmmaking.
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" was the first animated
film ever when it was released in 1937; in 1988 "Who Framed
Roger Rabbit?" blended live action and animation together
seamlessly; "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and it's
extraordinary visual effects with stop motion animation was
pretty phenomenal and "Toy Story" in 1995 was the first
totally computer animated film, right down to the very last
pixel. Now "Dinosaur" is the next film to go down in these
lines. With extremely detailed computer animated characters
against filmed live action backgrounds, "Dinosaur" is an
enjoyable romp and a technical marvel.
"Dinosaur" begins in a fantastic opening sequence, where
we see the various dinosaurs living in their natural
habitat, it's just really amazing to look at. Basically, an
angry carnotaur rips through a nesting ground, leaving a
sole egg untouched and behind. Another dino picks it up, and
a whole sequence of events occur, and it somehow lands in
with a bunch of lemurs. There, the dino in the egg, Aladar
(voiced by D.B. Sweeny), is raised by the lemurs, and as he
grows, everyone is happy with him. Sorta like Tarzan, but
not. But everyone is threatened when a fantastic meteor
shower (and probably the movie's best and most wild
sequence) hits, and all is destroyed. Aladar and the lemurs
go on for a search for a new nesting ground with a bunch of
other dinos, led by the vicious Kron (Wright, who is
excellent). Of course, the normal subplots occur. Aladar
falls in love with Kron's sister, Neera (Marguiles), and
actually has a lot more resourceful ideas for the group, and
is a lot nicer, as he often stays behind to help others.
This of course, leads to conflicts between Aladar and Kron.
Along the way to the nesting grounds, a lot of events occur,
dealing with raptors, carnotaurs and plain survival.
"Dinosaur" is of course, really predictable and nothing
new to audiences. The story is pretty entertaining and is
well balanced, and it moves at a very good pace. Despite
that, I was somewhat disappointed in one aspect of the
movie: dialogue. The dialogue needed to be much stronger,
because words between the characters is never really
intriuging, and it sounds pretty dumbed down for the most
part. The story is good, and does provide many great
moments, but the dialogue and some very slight plot
developments were a let down.
But the dialogue does not really ruin the movie at all,
surprisingly. It's still a lot of fun and interesting to
watch, and you see a movie like this not for the story, but
really for the effects (but the story did interest me
anyway). The characters are likable, and if you're looking
for comic relief in the movie, there is not a lot of it. And
when there is, you'll have to give out a forced laugh
because it's not put out that well, and comes from a swanky
and lovelorn lemur. The voice acting by everyone is really
superior, so that dialogue you hear will sound a little bit
better because the emotion the actors put in give it the
much needed depth.
But of course, the main draw of "Dinosaur" is the
effects. They'll make you go "wow", they are incredible eye
candy and a marvel to look at. The detail on everything is
amazing, and it looks incredibly real. The live action
backgrounds are pretty, so they fit in nicely with the
computer animation. There are also a few amazing sequences
in the film, which will seriously make you wonder how they
pulled it off and take your breath away. Bravo, Disney, the
high budget has paid off with this one (127 million, plus
another 63 for their new animation studio "Secret Labs").
The film did make about 130 million at the box office, but
more will come back to Disney thanks to this video release
and their merchandising.
"Dinosaur" is an achievement in film history. Sure, the
dialogue could have been better, but the project which seems
like to have been in development forever (twelve years, but
real work began six years ago) has surely paid off. The
amount of effort that went into this clearly shows. While
the dialogue could have been better, everything else surely
makes up for it. To catch everything, you may have to watch
it more than once. Parents beware though, there are some
intense sequences which may scare little ones. "Dinosaur" is
dyno-mite (yes a stupid joke, try to stop me! MGWAHAHAHA!).
Once again, Disney uses a direct digital-to-digital
transfer and the result is flawless. This is by far the
sharpest image I've seen on DVD, right up there with other
digital-to-digital transfers such as
Story 2 and
Life. No blemishes, shimmering, dirt, spots, grain,
artifacts, noise or scratches. This anamorphic widescreen
(in 1.85:1) image is breathtaking, with incredible detail.
Colors and hues are dead on, the film looks very vibrant
with some bold and perfect saturation. Shadow and black
level is also deep. You won't see a finer image on DVD. Also
included on this standard release is a recomposed full frame
version, like "Toy Story 2" and "A Bug's Life". Basically,
the image is cropped at points, but you don't lose so much
of the image always (and sometimes gain more), as objects
and characters are moved closer togehter.
I saw "Dinosaur" in the theaters and in Dolby Digital,
and while the sound was good, I wasn't too impressed and
wondered how the mix would be for DVD. The theater must have
had their sound screwed up... the Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1
tracks are stellar mixes, if anything. It really doesn't get
much better than this. All the channels on each track are
used to full scale and with plenty of surrounds and bass.
Each track is amazing, but I prefer the DTS because I felt
the sound was a bit sharper and at points, there was more
depth to it. Everything is brought to life on each track.
The thunderous roars, the loud directional effects and James
Newton Howard's beautiful score (I wish there was an
isolated music track) all sound amazing and will really
light up your sound system. Make no mistake, each mix is
incredibly well executed and really dynamic.
I believe everyone should go with the
Edition, considering for 10 bucks more at retail you get
a ton more. Still, there's a good amount of stuff here...
Four Featurettes are included. There's a ton more
of these on the CE with their "Matrix" like feature, but
four of them are here for the viewing. You get "Better
Dinosaur", "Sound Design", "Special Effects: The Monster
Cloud" and "Where in the world are we?". These make for a
Aladar's Adventure is an interactive game meant
for the younger ones. It's really just point and click,
nothing special and pretty easy. It has some voice acting
and nice graphics, and good for one play.
DinoSearch is another game that's not too hard,
it's sort of like hide and seek. Using your remote, you
attempt to find dino parts hidden. A few clicks is the game,
pretty much. Still somewhat enjoyable.
The Dinopedia is a narrated guide to real
dinosaurs and their habits, as well as other facts about
them. It uses clips from the film too, so if the kiddies are
researching a project for school, they may want to take a
look at that.
Now, what would a Disney release be without a ton of
Sneak Previews? This DVD has got em... "Snow White
And The Seven Drawfs" (due out October 2001 DVD... the
trailer makes the film seem more dark than family friendly),
Disney's new theme park "Disney's California Adventure",
their summer release "Atlantis" (looks pretty good), a
prequel computer game to "Atlantis", "102 Dalmatians" and
their direct to video release, "Lady and the Tramp II:
Scamp's Adventure" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II".
Finally, there are a few DVD-ROM features. Some
weblinks and info on dinosaurs.
I personally think this movie is just a little bit
underrated, but there's no denying that Disney has once
again made animation history. While I think this movie may
be just a little too intense for the really young ones
(hence the PG rating), kids will enjoy the film and so will
adults, but they'll probably be more amazed at the film's
technical achievements. Disney has once again delivered an
outstanding DVD presentation and some decent extras for a
standard version. Again, I say go with the
Edition... but there's a lot to enjoy here.
(4/5, NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)