Dinosaur (2000)

Rating: ****
Release Date: 5/19/00
Cast: D.B. Sweeney

A new level in cinematic spectacle - if only this movie had come out when I was a kid!!! This is an awesome movie that only suffers from a weak and formulaic plot, and somewhat juvenile dialog. Kids are bound to thoroughly enjoy it. Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) is a dinosaur who has been raised on a remote island by a family of monkeys. Everything is fine until an apocalyptic meteor storm lays waste to most of the world, and so begins the journey to find a new home and the fabled "nesting grounds." Other dinosaurs are met along the way - friends, rivals, and predators. Fortunately for our heroes, the film has a happy ending.

First and foremost, the visual effects are ASTOUNDING. It's like taking "Jurassic Park" (1993) and cranking it up to eleven. The last shot in the film is utterly astonishing. A serious gamble for Disney to go all out on a project like this, but I hope it pays off. Unfortunately, the story is overly simplistic, and much of it bears an eerie resemblance to "Fantasia's" "Rite Of Spring" (1940). The "bad guys" in the film are a couple of nasty Tyranosaurus-type carnivores that are completely undeveloped as characters - they're more like a force of nature. They're the only characters that don't speak (except for a strange dog-like Ankylosaurus) and they seem to wantonly kill everything in sight. Predators always get a bad rap. And of course there are the familiar themes of individualism, friendship, and teamwork so prevalent in Disney's films. Fun and exciting entertainment for the whole family, although it might be too intense and scary for really young kids.