Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #39: Dinosaur

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

“All that remained of his herd were his mother, grandmother and his grandfather. He knew them by sight, by sound and by their love.”

The Land Before Time, 1988

“That, children, is what’s known as a jerkasaurous.”

Dinosaur, 2000

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the classic Disney movies are a lot like hardcore porn, and I’m not just saying that because putting the words “dinosaur” and “porn” in a blog post is my best chance of scamming a few page views before this “dino-erotica” news fad runs its course.

I’d say “don’t judge me”, but honestly I’d think less of you if you didn’t.

What I mean is, it’s hard to exactly define what makes a Disney classic, but you know it when you see it. Like porn. Even dinosaur porn. Read my blog, perverts. Take for example, Sleeping Beauty and The Avengers. They’re both technically Disney movies in that they were released by Walt Disney studios, but one is considered part of the canon classics and the other isn’t. Why is that? It’s not because Sleeping Beauty is wholly animated, because there are plenty of movies in the canon that are partially or even mostly live action (Saludos Amigos for example.) It’s really more just a question of looking at a movie and saying “Yes…this fits.” Today’s movie did not clear that barrier when it was first released. Disney did not consider Dinosaur  part of the canon classics, which means that by rights I should have skipped over it and should be pissing my pants right now watching the side-splitting awesomeness of The Emperor’s New Groove. But no, Dinosaur has since been retroactively shoe-horned into the canon and it’s all thanks to one person.

You are fucking DEAD blondie.

You are fucking DEAD blondie.

Sigh. Look, Rapunzel? I’m glad you now get to call yourself the fiftieth canon Disney movie. Good on you. You earned it, what with being the beloved fairytale princess character who rescued the flagging fortunes of the Disney studio.

In Disney's defence, it's only the fourth time that's happened.

In Disney’s defence, it’s only the fourth time that’s happened.

I just have one question, Rapunzel. Did you have to ruin my life to do it?

See, I hate this movie. Like a lot. Like, “congratulations Black Cauldron, you no longer live at the bottom” hate it.

Dinosaur was in the works for a long time, originally pitched to Disney as a stop-motion film by none other than Paul Verhoeven. Because, when I think of creators and studios who were made for each other…I do not think of Paul Verhoeven and Disney. At all. Like, not even a little. Verhoeven’s original pitch was for a silent, almost nature documentary film which would be extremely violent and end with the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous. And yeah, Paul? Did you just get high and walk into the wrong studio? Disney instead decided to sit on the idea until computer effects technology had advanced enough to create realistic animated dinosaurs and that is your problem right there. People who like this movie always mention the visuals. The whole advertising campaign was just showing the first few wordless minutes of the movie to showcase the animation. The damn tagline is “Like nothing you’ve ever seen”. This was a movie made to showcase special effects technology, not because anyone involved had a story to tell. Which is why everything outside the animation is rote, tacked-on, hacky and mediocre. And even the animation isn’t that great. I mean, I suppose it’s impressive considering it was Disney’s first fully computer animated feature.

Actually Mouse, since it uses live action backgrounds it's only partially computer animated...

Actually Mouse, since it uses live action backgrounds it’s only partially computer animated…

NIT, SHUT UP I AM IN NO MOOD FOR PEDANTRY!

Deep breath.

Okay, I always try to be positive so let me tell you the two things I like about this movie:

1) I like that they avoid the usual T-Rex/Triceratops/Stegosaurus/Diplodocus clichés and actually use some more obscure dinosaur species.

2) There is the kernel of an interesting debate here about a society’s obligation to look after its most vulnerable members versus the greater good of the strongest and fittest. Kind of…the Obamacare debate with dinosaurs.

Aaaaand…

That’s it. Nothing left but to unhinge my jaw like a python and let the bile gush forward.

***

The movie begins with our main character Aladar, an Iguanodon, in ovo while the narrator solemnly intones: “Some things start out big. And some things start out small…”

And some things start out FAR AWAY.

And some things start out FAR AWAY.

“…but sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest changes.” she says, beginning the movie about a creature that’s 33 foot long and weighs three to four tonnes.  So, we begin as we mean to go on, with meaningless bullshit.

So the egg is being watched by Aladar’s mother who OH JESUS…

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

People really think this looks good? Really? You know what, the Hydra from Hercules holds up better than this. I’m serious. Sure, the CGI is even more dated but the Hydra at least had a really cool character design. This? Look at that. It looks like a mildly constipated rock. Now you can say, “Oh Mouse, they’re going for a more realistic looking design. It’s not supposed to be cartoony” but as you’ll soon see, they made a cartoon. Verhoeven’s vision of a movie looking realistically at Dinosaurs as animals has long since fallen by the wayside. These are supposed to be characters. And they look dull as shit.

Alright, so anyway Aladar’s mother is just one of dozens of dinosaurs nesting beside a lake. She chases off a baby Parasaurolophus who’s curious about her eggs and he runs into the forest and notices that music has suddenly gotten ominous.

SHARP TOOTH!

SHARP TOOTH!

So this ugly fellah is a Carnotaurus, and as I said earlier, props for using more obscure species instead of just the T-Rex. I always liked the Carnotaurus (it’s got freakin’s Devil horns! How metal can you get?!). Of course the Carnotaurus was only a third of the size it’s portrayed as being here, meaning this is basically a T-Rex with horns but…am I really going to complain that this movie has a T-Rex with horns? IT’S A MUTHAFUCKIN’ T-REX!

Yeah, you knew it was coming.

So the Carno chases the dinosaurs, and Aladar’s mother has to abandon the nest. Then Aladar’s egg gets stolen by an Oviraptor and then the egg goes on a long and peril filled journey wait just a damn minute here!

Oh my God. Disney, you whores!

Oh my God. Disney, you whores!

Well, well, well. This is ironic. See, I made the very first “You whores” joke all the way back in the Fantasia review. Back then, I was calling out Don Bluth for helping himself to rather generous portions of inspiration for his 1988 classic The Land Before Time from the Rite of Spring sequence in Fantasia. And now we have Disney borrowing from Land Before Time. 

"And so you see, we are all part of the great circle of ripping off."

“And so you see, we are all part of the great circle of ripping off.”

So anyway, the egg gets stolen by an Oviraptor and then stolen by another Oviraptor who drops it in the river where it almost gets eaten by a shark and then washes up on the shore upon which point it hitches a lift from a kind trucker who takes it as far as the airport where it then charters a flight to Gdansk and then falls into another river where it almost gets swept over a waterfall (of course) before getting snatched by a Pteranodon in mid-flight who then proceeds to take the egg on a grand tour of every epic landscape helicopter shot the production could get its hands on, all while James Newton Howard’s score tries it’s damndest to sound epic. Yeah, the music is another reason this movie just doesn’t feel apiece with the rest of the canon. Interestingly, Howard is not credited as “composer” on IMDb, but as “score producer”. Yeah, it sounds like it was “produced” alright.  Anyway, this goes on for several minutes of screentime until the Pteranodon finally reaches its nest where some chicks are waiting to be fed. But the mother gets attacked by some seagulls who force it to drop the egg. And…honestly? That Pteranodon is the first character in this thing I actually feel any kind of emotional connection with. I mean, Jesus, she flew like a hundred miles to feed her starving chicks that egg and then to have that snatched away from her at the last minute by bastard gulls? That is appalling.

"She works hard for the money! Soooo hard for the money!"

“She works hard for the money! Soooo hard for the money!”

The egg finally gets discovered by a family of lemurs who are going to give some paleontologist a heart attack when they show up around twenty million years too early in the fossil record. One of the lemurs, Plio (Alfre Woodard), goes to investigate the egg while her father Yar (Ossie Davis) warns her to leave it alone and Jesus these are some ugly fucking lemurs.

Urrrk...it's okay, just puked a little in my mouth, I'm fine.

Urrrk…it’s okay, just puked a little in my mouth, I’m fine.

Plio opens the egg, causing the undeveloped hatchling to die of exposure to the elements…

Just checking you were paying attention. No, of course Aladar is fine but damned if I know how Plio knew he would be. Yar tells her that Aladar is dangerous and that once he grows up he’ll eat them. But Plio says “What if he’s on our side?” and Yar says “That’s the stupidest thing I ever…Hey, wait a minute! What if he’s on our side!” Wait, no. Wrong movie.

No, let me stay! I DON'T WANNA GO BACK!

No, let me stay! I DON’T WANNA GO BACK!

Yar says they should get rid of it and Plio simply hands him the baby dinosaur and tells him to do it. And wow, Plio really does not give a fuck what happens to this baby. Now, you could argue that she knows Yar would never go through with it but he’s still dangling the baby over the forest floor like Michael Freakin’ Jackson. She’s being awful cavalier here is all I’m saying. Oh, and then we get the moment when I finally realised all hope was lost. Yar holds the baby up but can’t bring himself to drop it. He looks into the baby’s little innocent face and his heart melts.

So quick, what is the most juvenile, hacky and unfunny thing that could happen right now?

Yeah, we get the first piss joke in the Disney canon. Congratulations gentlemen, another milestone in the history of animation.

Kudos, kudos.

Kill yourselves.

Plio takes the baby back and says she’ll raise him herself.

Any other volunteers? Anyone? Pretty much anyone would be better, really.

You! You look like the mothering type.

You! You look like the mothering type.

So we fast forward a few years and Aladar is now fully grown and around the size and weight of an articulated truck. Now, many bad movies are hobbled by the fact that they have an unlikeable lead. Dinosaur is not one of those movies. The problem is not that Aladar isn’t likeable.

"You're likeable enough, Aladar."

“You’re likeable enough, Aladar.”

The problem is that that’s all he is. He’s just a nice, pleasant helpful guy who wants everyone to get along. He’s just a nice blank.

Plio tells Aladar to go get his best buddy Zini, because mating season is about to begin.

Alright, what I am about to say about Zini, I do not say lightly. I have very carefully weighed the ramifications of making this statement. Don’t think I haven’t. But I have to say what I know in my heart to be true.

Zini is worse than Gurgi.

Zini

Ooooh…that’s gotta hurt.

I know what you’re thinking. How is that even possible? It’s like finding something colder than absolute zero. But yet here we are. Zini sucks worse than Gurgi, who was previously considered to be absolute suck. 

"Aw...Gurgi knew Mister Mouse could not stay mad at him for evers and evers..."

“Aw…Gurgi knew Mister Mouse could not stay mad at him for evers and evers…”

Shut the fuck up hairball before I seal your mouth with a glue gun.

Gurgi was awful, truly, truly awful. But he did at least have the advantage of decent character design and some actually pretty nice animation. Zini is just fail on every conceivable. He looks awful, he sounds awful and he almost certainly smells bad. You know that if you touched him, bits of his scraggy blonde fur would stick to your hand just to escape being on him. When we first meet him he’s practicing pick up lines and settles on “Girls? I’m known as the professor of love. And school’s in session”.

There’s so much wrong with that line it’d actually be quicker just to list what’s not wrong with it. Which, as far as I can tell…it doesn’t contain any major grammatical errors? That’s something, right?

Aladar picks up Zini and takes him to the tree where the lemurs basically have their speed-dating. By the end of it, all the lemurs have paired up except for Zini. Which is as it should be.

I mean, c'mon.

I mean, c’mon.

Yar notes sadly that the clan still has one bachelor, but Plio says “No. We have two.” Plio goes to Aladar and says she wishes there was someone on the island for him. Yeah, I don’t care if Aladar is a three ton lizard, he’s still got a better chance of getting some than Zini.

The clan watches as a meteor shower streaks across the sky in one of the few effective scenes in the movie, and then watch in awe as a single massive asteroid strikes the ocean and erupts into a mushroom cloud.

Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds

Now I am become death, destroyer of worlds.

Since this movie doesn’t seem to take place in the late Cretaceous and the dinosaurs survive in the end (spoilers), this probably isn’t supposed to be the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs, just an earlier, less destructive impact. And actually, scientists are becoming less and less comfortable with saying that the dinosaurs went extinct since only some of the group died out, with the rest evolving into traitorous, communist birds.

The bounty's gone up to two million, if anyone's curious.

The bounty’s gone up to two million, if anyone’s curious.

The shockwave completely destroys the lemur’s island, but fortunately it works on Independence Day rules, meaning that Aladar can outrun it and also that Boomer will live. Aladar finds Plio, Yar and Plio’s daughter Suri floating on some driftwood in the ocean. He also finds Zini, but you can’t have everything, can you?

Aladar and the four lemurs reach the mainland and before long they’re getting stalked by velociraptors. The raptors break off pursuit though when Aladar runs into a massive herd of dinosaur lead by Kron, our villain. He also meets Neera, the perfunctory love interest voiced by Julianna Margulies who’s also Kron’s sister.

Well, at least we know she'll make him a good wife.

Well, at least we know she’ll make him a good wife.

We also meet Kron’s head lackey, Bruton, Baylene the elderly Brachiosaurus, Eema the elderly Styrachosaurous, Eeema’s pet Ankylosaurus Url AND ARE YOU PERHAPS STARTING TO SEE A PROBLEM HERE?

Keep in mind, we already have Aladar and four lemurs. Four is a lot of supporting characters. It’s around this time that the movie starts to groan under the weight of character bloat and it’s a classic symptom of a script that needs to go through some more rewrites. When there’s too many characters presented to us, it’s hard to care about any of them. When one of them is Zini, it becomes impossible.

Kron orders the herd to rest and Aladar talks to Eema and Baylene. Url (voiced by Frank Welker, who, I think it’s fair to say, has voiced quite a few characters) instantly takes to Aladar, which impresses Eema. Weirdly, although all the other dinosaurs can talk, Url acts like a dog. I dunno, maybe it’s just like how Goofy can talk but Pluto can’t.

The only other explanation is that Pluto is Mickey's gimp.

The only other explanation is that Pluto is Mickey’s gimp.

Eema explains that the herd is heading for The Great Valley The Nesting Grounds, where there should still be water and plant life. This portion of the movie, with the herd trying to reach The Great Valley The Nesting Grounds takes up most of the running time and it’s another big problem with the movie (throw it on the pile). Look at this:

Grey and brown

I hope you like watching grey and brown objects lumbering slowly across a grey and brown landscape because that’s pretty much the next forty minutes or so. It’s just so drab, lifeless and dull to look at. And I know what you’re thinking, “It’s after the apocalypse, of course everything is dull and barren.” Well, Land Before Time had the exact same setting and premise and it had some of the most eerily beautiful backgrounds of any animated film I’ve seen.

Well anyway, Kron is driving the herd so hard that it’s clear that before long Eema and Baylene will be left behind, so Aladar stays at the back of the herd to help them along. Aladar sees Neera but is too shy to talk to her and Zini says “You just need a little help from the love monkey”.

No lie. I actually punched the screen.

No lie. I actually punched the screen.

 So Zini starts making catcalls at Neera behind Aladar’s back like Cyrano de Bergerac if he drank paint thinner. Neera, thinking that Aladar’s being a jackass, turns to two baby Iguanodons that she’s adopted (more characters? Why not! This movie was starting to feel underpopulated!) and says “That, children, is what’s known as a jerkasaurous.”

"That, children, is what we call TERRIBLE WRITING."

“That, children, is what’s know as TERRIBLE WRITING.”

Kron tells the rest of the herd that they’re going to have to cross a desert and that there will be no water until they reach the other side. What follows is basically the Bataan death march with dinosaurs, with weaker members of the herd being picked off by velociraptors. We also see two Carnos who have picked up the trail of the herd. The dinosaurs finally reach the lake and are overjoyed that they’re finally going to get a drink but then…wouldn’t you know it?

Ha! Fools! No colour for you!

Ha! Fools! No colour for you!

Yep, the lake has dried up and is now as brown as everything else in this movie.  Kron orders the herd to move out but Neera says that if they go on without water they’ll lose half the herd. Kron replies that that means they’ll save the other half.

You know what? I may not like Kron, but in this instance he’s absolutely right. I mean, what do they want him to do? If there’s no water he can’t change that, and really their only hope is to get to The Great Valley The Nesting Grounds as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, Eema has essentially decided “fuck this noise” and lain down on the dry lake bed to die. Baylene tries to get her to get up, but instead her weight breaks the mantle of the lake bed and reveals that the water is still there, just buried underground. Aladar digs some water holes and calls the rest of the herd back. But this turns into a stampede and Aladar shouts out “Wait! Wait! There’s enough for everyone!”

So…why do they have to wait?

Meanwhile, Bruton and a Redshirtosaurus have been scouting ahead looking for water and get ambushed by the two Carnos. The other Iguanodon is killed and the last thing we see is the open mouth of one of the Carnos lunging at Bruton. Shall Bruton survive? Read on to find out!

Back at the lake, Aladar helps the two baby Iguanodons get some water and Neera asks him why he decided to help Eema. Aladar basically says “Because, I’m not…you know…a dick?” and this confuses Neera like you wouldn’t believe. The herd leaves the weaker members behind to die all the time and Neera never gave it a second thought and that, children, is what we call a Nazisaurous.

Not to be confused with Tyrannosaurus Reich, who is a real thing that I have to show you because it exists.

Not to be confused with Tyrannosaurus Reich, who is a real thing that I have to show you because it exists.

Aladar shows Neera how to get water from the lake bed and when their paws brush they both practically involuntarily orgasm.

Yar, who’s watching all this with Zini says “One down…and well…one down.”

Heh. Yar, I don’t really like you, but you’re saying all the right things. Keep it up.

Bruton arrives back, badly injured, and Kron realises that he’s led the Carnos right to them. He orders the herd to move out. Aladar challenges Kron, saying that the slower members of the herd will be left behind and Kron basically tells him the old story about the two campers and the bear. Aladar angrily shouts to the herd “That could be you back there! Or you!”

"Holy shit, he right! Pick up the pace people!"

“Holy shit, he right! Pick up the pace people!”

Kron proceeds to kick the guano out of Aladar and for good measure throws a seriously creepy “Stay the hell away from my sister!” vibe his way. Hmmm…maybe it’s time for me to jump on board this bandwagon.

Incest of the iguanodon

They quickly get left behind and come across a badly wounded Bruton who couldn’t go any further. Aladar offers to help but Bruton tells him to screw off. Aladar tells him that if he changes his mind they’ll be sheltering in some nearby caves. Bruton finally relents and Plio treats his wounds with some plants she finds in the cave that used to be on her island and that she knows has healing properties and…no, you know what? I’m not finishing that sentence. I’m out.

The two Carnos find them and Bruton tells Aladar to wake the others and lead them into the back of the cave. Bruton, sensing a oppurtunity to win the coveted “fastest heel-face in history” award, nobly sacrifices himself to hold off the Carnos and triggers a rock slide, crushing one Carno and sealing the rest of the dinosaurs off from the other. In fairness to Bruton, it’s actually a pretty damn badass scene. Aladar’s troupe reach a dead end and think all hope is lost but the lemurs smell daylight and the dinosaurs are able to break through the rock wall and find themselves in The Great Valley The Nesting Grounds!

COLOUR! MY EYES, IT BURNS!

COLOUR! MY EYES, IT BURNS!

But hang on a minute, this makes no damn sense! Why did the plants here survive? Everywhere else all plant life has died but here the plants are verdant and lush. What miracle could have allowed such healthy plants to thrive in this…

No…

The dinosaurs enjoy their new digs but Aladar wonders why the rest of the herd hasn’t arrived yet. He then sees that the normal entrance has been filled in with a rock slide and is now an impassable wall that probably has snipers on it for good measure. Aladar runs back through the cave to alert the herd but Eema shouts after him that Kron will eat him alive. It might also have helped to mention the surviving Carno, who will quite literally eat him alive.

The herd has reached the wall on the other side and Neera tells Kron that they should find another way around.

LY1JoVt

But Kron instead orders his herd of four legged animals weighing many thousands of tonnes to climb over the vertical wall.

Good Idea.001

Aladar arrives, calling to Kron that “I’ve made it to the valley!” and excuse me the WHAT? I’m sorry, THE VALLEY?! I THOUGHT YOU WERE HEADING TO THE “NESTING GROUNDS”?!

the-great-valley-550x366

C’mon Disney, it’s no fun if you’re not gonna even try.

Kron is still dead set on Operation Spider-man though, and attacks Aladar and we finally get some thumb spike action. I mean, what is the point of having Iguanodons in your movie if they don’t use the thumb spike?

Boom! Thumb spike!

Boom! Thumb spike!

Aladar gets his ass thumbed but Neera saves him and the rest of the herd follows Aladar. But the Carno shows up at the end of the valley and Kron yells at the herd to follow him over the wall. Instead, Aladar tells the herd that with their powers combined, they are Captain Planet the Carno can’t hurt them and he leads the herd passed it by…yelling at the thing. Really.

I knew you wouldn't believe me so I took the liberty of taking photographic evidence.

I knew you wouldn’t believe me so I took the liberty of taking photographic evidence.

The herd makes it past the Carno who apparently just can’t stand loud noises but the Carno sees Kron climbing alone and realises it hasn’t had idiot in so long. Neera and Aladar rush to Kron’s defence and succeed in knocking the Carno into a ravine by headbutting it (guys! C’mon! Thumb spikes!). But it’s all for nothing as Kron is dead.

This thing is getting a Man Booker prize.

“He dies? Well, this dinosaur incest pornography has suddenly taken a decidedly unerotic turn!”

Flash forward a few months and Neera and Aladar are expecting their first brood. Plio cracks one of the eggs open (GODDAMN IT PLIO STOP DOING THAT!) and says hello to the new hatchling who’s probably imprinted on her permanently now. Yar lifts the baby up aaaaaaand guess which joke they thought was so funny they had to recycle it a second time.

So, do you want to be buried, cremated, or left out in the open for the birds and beasts of the field?

So, do you want to be buried, cremated, or left out in the desert for the carrion birds?

And the movie ends with the knowledge that the dinosaurs will survive and that they’ll all live happily ever after.

C'mon, C'MON!

C’mon, C’MON! MOVE IT!

***

Ohhhhhhh I do not like this movie. Not. One. Little. Bit. Dinosaur premiered at #1 and went on to gross almost $350 Million  thereby setting the stage for Disney’s shift to computer generated movies and marking the beginning of the long, slow death of traditional animation at the studio. Oh, and it’s now part of the canon.  That’s like forcing Sharon Tate’s family to invite Charles Manson to Christmas dinner.

God I just hate this movie so…damn…

"Hey, you just need a little help from the Love Monkey."

“Hey, you just need a little help from the Love Monkey.”

Okay that’s it! DINOSAUR, MY OFFICE! NOW!

"I have got a nice little Disney canon here, Dinosaur. And I aim to keep it that way. I don't like your lameass animation. I don't like your lameass characters. I don't like your lameass score and I don't like you. Lameass.  Clear?"

“I have got a nice little Disney canon here, Dinosaur. And I aim to keep it that way. I don’t like your lameass animation. I don’t like your lameass characters. I don’t like your lameass score and I don’t like you. Lameass. Clear?”

"I'm like nothing you've ever seen before."

“But I’m like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

"STAY OUT OF THE CANON, DINOSAUR! STAY OUT OF THE CANON LAMEASS!"

“STAY OUT OF THE CANON, DINOSAUR! STAY OUT OF THE CANON LAMEASS!”

"Keep your ugly computer generated ass out of my wonderland of animated enchantment."

“Keep your ugly computer generated ass out of my wonderland of animated enchantment.”

Scoring
Animation: 06/20
Traditional animation matures, CGI decays. It may have been impressive once but now it’s just ugly and dull
Leads: 08/20
The best that can be said about Aladar is that he isn’t actively annoying.
Villain: 04/20
Some villains are driven to evil by lust for power, jealousy, overweening ambition…the source of Kron’s villainy is that he’s a stubborn jackass.
Supporting Characters: 02/20
Extinction’s too good for ‘em.
Music: 07/20
Only two movies in and I’m already starting to miss the Renaissance like you wouldn’t believe.
FINAL SCORE: 27%
 
NEXT UPDATE: 31 October 2013
 
NEXT TIME: 
Boom, baby.

Boom, baby.

54 comments

  1. I have never seen this movie, and now I aim to keep it that way. To be honest, I had totally forgotten this movie existed. If only, if only . . .

    But I can’t wait to see your review on Disney’s foray into Warner Brothers’ territory! (Which isn’t to say “Groove” isn’t a darn funny movie, just that it’s the least Disney-esque of Disney Canon, if that makes any sense.)

  2. Great review; I told you that there are some TERRIBLE films in the era. I watched it when I was 4, forgot about it’s existence and me watching it for over a decade. I tried to watch it again, but I fell asleep, literally. I am minding eh about ENG, and I am hoping you rip Atlantis apart, but you might actually like it. Dinosaur is just bland all around.

      1. I don’t think that being overly ambitious was it’s flaw. It just feels contrived, a Gary-Stu of a protagonist, rushed romance, plot holes, and a weirdly-paced story. At least thy tried with the film.

      2. but it was a gorgeous James Newton Howard score! Especially when paired with the animation. (Secret Swim is one of my favorite animated movie scenes of all time, tied for first with the opening underwater scenes from Little Mermaid.)

  3. I, along with probably everybody who saw the film when it was first released, felt like a complete sucker for giving the movie a chance. I remember it was advertised like a CGI equivalent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? because the animation and real backgrounds were integrated seamlessly. I only saw it once, but at the time, I remember thinking “You succeeded on a pure technical level, but I’m not impressed.” The world Land Before Time created left more of an impact on me then the “real backgrounds” in this movie. A shame that this has to be counted in canon and can’t be written off as a mistake.

  4. Cool review!

    I think “Dinosaur” is tied with “Bolt” for the most forgettable movie in the Disney Canon, at least to me.

    Why does everyone always jump on the “incest bandwagon” every time a brother and sister show love/concern/care for each other in any American entertainment medium? Is it impossible for a brother and sister to get along and love each other without it crossing the “incest” boundaries? Sorry, it’s just a big pet peeve of mine.

    Hey unshavedmouse, what do you think of the upcoming “Walking with Dinosaurs 3D”? Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv7hRBL9ygY

    It looks just like “Dinosaur 2”, in my opinion.

  5. Don’t care much for this movie either but I have to disagree with you about the score. I find it to be rather awesome. Other than that, yeah this movie kind of blows

  6. Well, it is certainly very forgettable, even to the point where I couldn’t remember the characters’ names while watching. Don’t think it’s actively bad though, wasn’t an unpleasant viewing experience.

  7. I’m studying paleontology, and I gotta say, the dinosaurs themselves are rendered well (they look like good visual recreations), but, as usual, the movie throws together species that lived in neither the same time nor the same environment. I haven’t watched it since I was 8, and I’m not going to do research for a simple comment, but if I remember correctly, Iguanadon and Parasurolophus lived in tidal flat environments, and on opposite sides of the early Atlantic. Maybe I’ll do a full analysis of what they got wrong after my trip to Yosemite is done.

  8. I actually saw this piece of shit in theatres…and the whole time I was thinking “Didn’t I see this movie before? Just HUNDRED TIMES BETTER!!!!!”
    I am totally with you, I can’t express how much I hate this one. It is easily my least favourite, and that is saying something considering that some strong contenders for this spot are still waiting just around the corner.
    Disney should have just added Nightmare before Christmas to its canon and buried this thing under a rock.

      1. Nah, that would have been problematic, since there us also the sport goofy movie…how can you put one in and not the other? Plus, while it is a good TV-movie, it’s not up there at Disney animation studios standards. It belongs to the Cartoon shows.

  9. Well, Mr. Mouse, I must say that it was a little challenging to follow this particular review of yours. Not because it was bad, it wasn’t, it’s just that I couldn’t remember any of these characters’ names. Its baffling to me just how forgettable this “Disney Classic” is. It feels more like something the Disney Channel would play a 2:00 in the morning than an actual Disney movie.

  10. 27? That’s one whole star out of four. What would it take to get a zero?

    Also, the Vi-Aqua joke made me choke on my strawberry. (Not a euphemism.) Well played.

    1. Honestly I don’t know. It would have to utterly fail on even the most basic technical level. Foodfight might score zero if I ever wanted to put myself through that. Anything so bad as to deserve a zero would probably never be released by Disney.

      1. Eh…I’m not so sure about THAT. What about Home on the Range or Chicken Little? Those seem to be rated as even worse than The Black Cauldron.

      2. I honestly think that Dinosaur is worse than both of them Chicken Little at least has some good ideas and some heartfelt father/son moments. And Home on the Range is actually a pretty good children’s movie…its main problem is that people expect of Disney to make family movies.

  11. Are you sure that you don’t want to take a retour to do Nightmare before Christmas instead? It is the perfect date to do it.

  12. Interesting trivia courtesy of IMDb, in regards to The Emperor’s New Groove:

    “This film was originally planned to have been a dramatic, sweeping Disney musical named “Kingdom of the Sun”, to be directed by The Lion King director Roger Allers and Mark Dindal, director of Turner’s Cats Don’t Dance, with six original songs written by Sting, that was essentially an Incan re-telling of Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper.” David Spade was the voice of the young emperor Manco, Owen Wilson was Pacha, a young peasant with a striking resemblance to the emperor, and Eartha Kitt was Yzma, the aged royal sorceress. The film involved Manco and Pacha switching places, except that Yzma finds out, turns Manco into a (non-speaking) llama, and makes Pacha do her bidding. Pacha also eventually was to fall in love with Nina (voice of Carla Gugino), the emperor’s betrothed. The resulting film tested very poorly, and the production was suspended, even though the film was 50% complete. Allers and Yzma supervising animator Andreas Deja both left the project and moved to Orlando, Florida to work on Lilo & Stitch. During the production hiatus, Dindal, producer Randy Fullmer, story man Chris Williams, and screenwriter David Reynolds completely overhauled the film, eventually throwing out Wilson, the “Prince and the Pauper” angle, the completed footage, and all but one of Sting’s songs. As Roger Allers’s take on the film was starting to take shape, Disney management were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the film, feeling it was too similar to the story of the Prince and the Pauper. Test screenings too generated poor feedback. On the strength of this, Mark Dindal was hired to add more comedic elements to the film. Dindal and Allers did not get on and essentially both began making their own separate version of the film. The Disney executives, although unhappy with Roger Allers’s direction on the film, held off from interfering with him, given that he had provided them with their biggest hit, The Lion King, which too had had a troubled production. Also, most of Allers’s crew were very loyal to their director. By the summer of 1998, it was increasingly clear that “Kingdom of the Sun” was not going to make its summer 2000 release date. Merchandising tie-ins with McDonalds and Coca-Cola amongst others meant that the release date could not be moved. Director Roger Allers asked for a six month extension to the release which was denied. Allers then quit the project. With the film on the brink of total shutdown, co-director Mark Dindal worked on a retooling of the film. While he did this, most of his animators were reassigned to work on the Rhapsody in Blue segment of Fantasia/2000. The result of this retooling was the film we have today. The story was rebuilt from the ground up, retaining Spade’s and Kitt’s characters and creating a new, wackier film that centered around Spade’s (talking) llama, Yzma, and two new characters: Pacha, now a middle-aged man played by John Goodman, and Kronk.”

    Honestly…as much as I love Emperor’s New Groove now…this sounds like this would have been a great film! It’s too bad it didn’t work out that way. This sounded like something of Disney’s style, and even though Emperor’s New Groove was awesome, it really doesn’t strike me as something I would have thought of as Disney had I not known any better.

      1. Ah. It would appear that in my hastiness I have anathema-ed an innocent rodent. My apologies.

      1. Just to let you know, I couldn’t find my blunderbuss so I sublet the job to a very young hunter from France.

        His name is Gaston, and if anyone can get that crow, it’ll be him. Just keep him away from ledges.

  13. Awesome review as always, Mouse! I’m a dinosaur freak and this movie always made me cringe… Specially that moment when they all start screaming at the Carnotaurus. Ugh. Even as a kid I hated it so much…

    I’ve been meaning to say this when I started reading your blog, so here it goes: I’m from Bahia. From Bahia Blanca that is 😛

    Can’t wait for the next review!

  14. Land Before Time= Greatest animated film of all time (in my opinion, which is purely based of how much enjoyment I receive(d) when watching it).
    Dinosaur= amnesia
    The main thing I remembered was this plot hole: a herd of about 2,000 leafeaters runs from two sharpteeth. The climax and Bruton’s fight make it obvious one iguanadon can challenge a Carnosaur. Conclusion: Our heroes are cowards and the mini boss squad is filled with the film’s bravest characters who would have fought off the traitorous communist birds.

  15. ok, first off: the reason why theres a canon list is becoz they r produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Avengers and others were Marvel Studio, and so on.
    second, the reason why Dinosaur fits into the canon is becoz its produced by the WDAS also. its created by a lab, another divison of the studio (not the company). so when they wanted to make tangled 50th, they just pulled it out of the lab and stick it in there since its part of the studio anyway.
    but honestly, I don’t like this film. I don’t like the animation, the characters, the plot, the score. nothing is special. I honestly wished they had used hand-drawn for this one, or the animation style of tangled (but I know that style wasn’t invented yet but still)

  16. Loved the Donna Summers and… Vi-Aqua jokes. Your bashing is refreshing. To nitpick, this post, like many, has grammatical errors. If you want, I can list them neatly for you privately. Enjoyed the review. Keep on rocking in the free world.

  17. Heh heh. The Mouse shows as much mercy as the meteorite. No hope for these guys. Or for Rapunzel. Poor Rapunzel. Though did she really make you that mad that you’d feed her to the traitorous Red Fowl just to spite her? That just kind of sounds like a counterproductive payback. Maybe stuffing her dead body and sticking it on a stake to make a scarecomrade, kill two birds with one stone?

    I actually don’t remember hating Dinosaur. I don’t remember loving it, it was just kind of “ehh” for me. And I guess it had a decent PC game, but not as endearing as most of the Renaissance movies’. No Land Before Time at any rate. Loved your Circle of Ripping Off bit. Kimba must be a bit of a chicken though, not snarking Mufasa off again. Though I guess “we are all” kind of implies them being part of it as well. In any case, that moment where your mind got so bored it went back to one of the actually good movies made me laugh. Though I seem to remember wondering why Disney was re-hashing Tarzan’s premise in theatres. Though if we’re talking Lion King, weren’t Mufasa and Sarabi careless for letting Rafiki pull a Michael Jackson with Simba over a cliff? And yeah, Dinosaur gave Disney its first pee joke, but Pumbaa did give Disney its first fart joke, so fair’s fair. By which I mean that kind of stuff is fine if you can make a movie enjoyable enough that people won’t nitpick. Which Dinosaur isn’t. So go ahead and obliterate it like a catastrophic space rock.

    Speaking of nitpicking, Nit would like to point out that technically Snow White wasn’t a movie made for the Disney Studios (which you taught me, actually). Do you have flea powder for waterfowl, because I may be needing it. Regarding his other point, I’m starting to think Mary Poppins should get quite a bit of extra respect for being just about the only good live action-animation combination movie. Well, I guess maybe unless you count Roger Rabbit, but between this and The Three Caballeros, it seems a lot of these have reputations for being hokey and uninspired.

    Obamacare debate with Dinosaurs, eh? Hmm. Considering the one character you used to make a Mitt Romney joke was a bird, I’m suspecting the dino democrats lost that one. Though then again, considering Comrade, maybe the Dino Socialist Party went off the slippery slope somewhere. And dang it, Disney, wasn’t the oviraptor’s namesake, like totally discredited by the time this was made? We’ll never be able to move towards tolerance if we keep perpetuating harmful stereotypes, guys!

    Hmm, did Aladar’s egg not get a “lazy bastard kookaburras” joke because kookaburras hadn’t evolved by this point? Though if that were true, what are gulls doing in this movie? Yeah, the anachronisms here kind of confuse me. That and that part where Plio opens Neera’s egg always bothered me. I’m glad you mentioned the imprint thing, that kind of drove me crazy whenever I watched this thing.

    I love your commentary here. Your Naziosaurus comeback was classic, and that joke about Kron’s explaining his tactics to Aladar with the bear attack story cracked me up. And the vi-aqua bit had me on the floor. I take it that also explains the giant carnotaurs? Hmm, if carnotaurs are basically T-rexes with devil horns, I wonder they’re the direct descendent of a certain breed of crimson cockerels?

    I’m not even surprised at your trying to cash in on that dino-erotica fad, considering your explanation of your pen name in your FAQ (was that a joke? It must’ve changed pretty quickly, you’re the first thing that shows up when I type “unshaved” in the search bar now). I’m more drawn by the use of the words, “dinosaur” and “office” in the same sentence, because that reminds me of Dinosaur Office, which is a hilarious stop-motion animated series I’ve discovered: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apa3fU2g1uU&list=PL038940AE3C9EA004

    Hope someone here gets a kick out of this if they’ve missed it before.

  18. Personally, I don’t think it was Rapunzel that got Dinosaur into the canon but rather Animal Kingdom. They had that big Dino-themed area, but they needed something here to connect it to Disney, so they made a ride based on the movie and thus decided to include it in the canon.

  19. I haven’t seen this in forever, and when I was a kid, I loved it due to being obsessed with dinosaurs at the time. (It also has a pretty kickass dark ride at Disney World, formerly known as Countdown to Extinction.) And the “scaring off the Carnotaur” scene isn’t as farfetched as it seems. Aladar had a whole herd of assorted dinosaurs, some of whom were very well equipped to handle themselves (there are a few ankylosaurs, some ceratopsians, and a metric ton of able-bodied hadrosaurs there) all standing up to a lone predator. Any smart predator would know full well that it would stand no chance against that many opponents, prey or otherwise, and back down. That’s why it goes after Kron- he’s isolated, unprotected, and a much more feasible kill.

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