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Movie Review

Dinosaur also known as “Dinosaurio,” “Dinossauro,” “ Dinosaure,” “Dínó,” “Deinosavros,” “Dinosaurerne,” “Dinosauri,” “Dinosaurier,” “Dinosaurus,” “Dinosaurusi,” “Dinousaurier,” “Dinozaur,” “Dinozor”

MPAA Rating: PG for intense images

Reviewed by: Emmett W. Elliott
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Kids to Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure
Length:
1 hr. 15 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
May 19, 2000 (wide)
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures. Poster—“Dinosaur” click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Scene from Disney’s “Dinosaur”

DINOSAUR ORIGIN—Where did the dinosaurs come from? Answer

Are dinosaurs mentioned in the BIBLE? Answer

WHY did God create dinosaurs? Answer

LIVING WITH DINOSAURS—What would it have been like to live with dinosaurs? Answer

Copyrighted illustration, Films for ChristEXTINCTION—Why did dinosaurs become extinct? Answer

NOAH’S ARK—Did Noah take dinosaurs on the Ark? Answer

DINOSAURS AFTER THE FLOOD—Following the Flood, what happened to dinosaurs? Answer

The Great Dinosaur Mystery On-line
Visit our dinosaur-size Web site where you’ll discover a mountain of knowledge and amazing discoveries. How do dinosaurs fit into the Bible? You’ll find the answer to this and many more of your questions. Play games, browse and learn. Includes many helps for teachers and parents.
Featuring: D.B. Sweeney … Aladar (voice)
Alfre WoodardPlio (voice)
Ossie Davis … Yar (voice)
Max Casella … Zini (voice)
Hayden PanettiereSuri (voice)
Samuel E. Wright … Kron (voice)
Julianna Margulies … Neera (voice)
more »
Director: Eric Leighton
Ralph Zondag
Producer: Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Feature Animation
more »
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

Disney’s “Dinosaur” is an anthropomorphic fable revisiting the great dinosaur mystery. Dubbed “The Secret Lab,” Disney reportedly spent 80 million dollars to invent a digital studio capable of rocking the animation world. By blending computer-generated characters onto digitally enhanced real-life scenic backgrounds—filmed in Australia, Venezuela, Western Samoa, Hawaii, California and Florida—animators were able to create “photo-realistic” animation to detail a fairytale about dino-struggle for survival in an abruptly altered Earth.

“Dinosaur” may be Disney’s evolutionary answer to Dreamworks’ “The Prince of Egypt.” Like baby Moses drifting down a river full of dangerous obstacles, the Iguanodon egg carrying baby Aladar (D.B. Sweeny) goes through several life-threatening dangers before being safely delivered to Lemur Island. Although we do not get to see him grow into adulthood, Aladar is adopted and raised by a family of lovable lemurs (cute monkeys—mother Plio (Alfre Woodard), her father Yar (Ossie Davis), and kids Suri (Hayden Panettiere) and Zini (Max Casella).

“Dinosaur” is not totally family-friendly. Due to intense violence that may be nightmarish for young children, Dinosaur joins “The Black Cauldron,” as Disney’s only other PG-rated animated film. Arguably, the frightfully loud dino-growls from the fiendish, predator dinos provide the scariest moments. Moviegoers will observe a pack of vicious Velociraptors and a duo of cannibalizing Carnotaurs (larger tyrannosaurs) preying on weaker alienated dinosaurs—those left behind. Depicted as having reddish skin with devilish horns and saliva dripping from razor-sharp teeth, the Carnotaurs make especially terrifying homicidal villains.

Dinosaurs and Lemurs living together in “Dinosaur”Co-directors Ralph Zondag’s and Eric Leighton’s visual commentary on the lost world advances the impact theory of mass extinction. After a catastrophic meteor shower obliterates Lemur Island, Aladar and his adoptive lemur family wind up on the sweltering mainland where they join up with a travelling herd of herbivorous (plant-eating) dinosaurs. The scorched Earth terrain appears hopelessly uninhabitable, but hopes to reach the fertile “nesting grounds” provide encouragement to the herd.

Relentlessly leading the progression of dinosaurs are the gruff drill sergeant Kron (Samuel E. Wright) and his lieutenant, Bruton (Peter Siragusa). These protective Iguanodons are willing to sacrifice the slower dinosaurs for the safety of the entire herd, since time is all that separates them from their carnivorous (flesh-eating) predators. Aladar does not give up on the needy dinos so easily.

Aladar befriends Baylene (Joan Plowright), the venerable Brachiosaur (a taller Brontosaurus), and Eema (Della Reese), the weather-beaten Styrachosaur (resembling a Triceratops). His conscientious respect for life catches the attention of Kron’s sister Neera (Julianna Marguiles), and obligates him to challenge Kron’s command. Kron’s stone-faced marching orders ultimately gives Neera reason to endorse Aladar’s compassionate leadership approach to survival.

Neera’s support enables Aladar to guide the herd to a dino-garden of Eden. With an abundance of water, the community of good-natured dinosaurs inherits a new beginning. Life continues to thrive long after the meteor shower’s aftermath (like Mt. St. Helens after the eruption). Aladar and Neera become proud parents, and his stepbrother, Zini, finally finds a mate. Although the catchy musical tunes are nonexistent, you can almost hear “The Lion King” music playing in the background: “The Circle of Life.”

Visit our Great Dinosaur Mystery Web site.
Find Christian answers to your questions about dinosaurs. Go

We have developed a multimedia Web site to answer the questions that the movie, “Dinosaur” raises for Christians! Most people are poorly informed about the truth about dinosaurs. They have been misled into believing that dinosaurs do not fit with the Bible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Learn more! / Also, watch our 20-minute online video presentation. / Also see our children’s book

Provides answers to numerous questions, games, activities for kids, helps for teachers and parents, and more. Go

Costing around 200 million dollars to create its digital dinosaurs, Disney’s behemoth technological marvel should usher in an all-new animation style. The abbreviated runtime (a mere 75 minutes to the closing credits) roughly equates to 2.7 million dollars per spectacular movie viewing minute. Hopefully, for the increasingly desensitized children of a new millennium, “Dinosaur” will not become the comet that deposits the model G-rated musical Disney animation style onto the vault Disneyland shelves of the forgotten. Or even worse, innocent children adopt evolutionary make-believe over the Bible’s answers in Genesis.


Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive
I saw the movie “Dinosaur” with my 9 year old and we thought it was a great movie. We never heard one offensive word, which is amazing for a PG movie rating. We were concerned that evolution would be a major topic in the movie, but it wasn’t. The movie didn’t scare my child, but it is somewhat loud and graphic and might scare younger children. My Ratings: [4/5]
—Amanda, age 32
In an impressive move, Disney has released an incredible work which introduces us to the next phase of animation evolution… From a filmmaking and technical standpoint, “Dinosaur” stands out as one of the best animated films in years. Granted, the plot has its holes, and the dinos with big “Disney” eyes never really does sit well with you, but it’s a fun story with animation that sets the first major new standard since “Beauty and the Beast.”

From a Christian and moral standpoint, I really wasn’t too offended by much in this movie. Parents *need* to pay attention to the PG rating—it is absolutely deserved. Leave your young children at home for this one. It’s too violent and bloody in some places for the little ones. However, the film does have a ton of good messages about the importance of family, respect for elders, and doing good to those who hate you. During conflict between the herd and the carnotaur, I even found myself thinking “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”… My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Scott Ward, age 28
If you enjoy seeing what these awesome beasts that God created probably looked like alive, you’ll probably like this movie. I recall seeing no indications of evolution in it. Nor was there any time frame given. They could have started the movie with a narrator introducing the setting as being “millions of years ago, long before humans evolved”, but they didn’t. It could have just as well taken place in a remote pre-Flood or even post-Flood place. Humans were not in the movie and were not even mentioned. The primates were called monkeys, not Australopithecines or “Lucy”. They had a sort of human look to their faces, but then again, so did the dinos (except the ankylosaur). Of course they had a human look to them—they talked and expressed human emotions. So obviously this story is like a fable.

There was no calling on the powers of darkness as in some Disney animated films. It was not the most profound movie I have ever seen, but the computer-generated graphics were superb. It had moral lessons of courage, persistance, and compassion. There was violence, but no gore. I think that parts could be scary to younger children. I enjoyed the movie. My Ratings: [4½/4]
—Art, age 50
Positive—“Dinosaur” was an excellent movie. Disney really did a good job… and I am glad there were no evolution references. The music is amazing, and the soundtrack sounds heavenly. The only concern I would have is Zinny does get flirtatious, but it’s very calm, and he just simply wants a mate. The meteor scene was saddening, but this could be used to teach children that God’s plan is perfect, even when we do not know why. The carnosaur conflicts were scary, but in the end, good triumphs, and Aladar calms the herd in the face of danger. Neera learns humility and accepts that doing the right thing will get her frowned upon by her brother, Kron. Bruton repents of his arrogance and gives his life to save Aladar and the others.

The way Aladar wishes to lead the dinosaurs home is beautiful, and he risks his own life to see to it that others get home. I could rewatch the movie again and again and never get bored.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
I recently viewed “Dinosaur” with my husband and our three sons (ages 10, 9, and 7.) I was braced for a strong pro-evolution message, and had even forewarned my sons of its likelihood. I was instead pleasantly surprised to find a movie with very little objectionable material and a strong moral message. There are a few scenes depicting injured dinosaurs, but nothing is treated in an overly graphic or distasteful manner. (The film does include a few intense moments, which would cause me not to recommend this movie for preschool-aged children.) The beauty of this film is the care and concern the main character, Alazar, shows for the weak, elderly, and outcast members of his community. He conducts himself in a very unselfish manner, often affirming those around him. Many times he reassures his friends that each one of them has worth, unique strengths, and abilities. He displays numerous acts of kindness, sharing, and self-sacrifice, therefore providing an excellent example for children. I do recommend this film for children of elementary age or older. My Ratings: [4/3½]
—Stacy Goins, age 33
“Dinosaur” was a delightful movie for children or adults alike. As with the movie “Toy Story” it is pleasing to see that Disney has learned that a movie need not contain offending material in order to be entertaining and successful. As a 43 year old father with a strong Christian stand taking my 7 year old son to a movie I found “Dinosaur” to be totally unoffensive, entertaining from start to finish, with outstanding animation. The dinosaur characters reflected a number of different and entertaining personalities all of which played an excellent part. There was no offensive language, and while there were a few scary parts with dinosaur scuffles I felt things were kept reasonable and in proportion. I very much recommend “Dinosaur” as a family movie suitable for children and adults alike. I plan to purchase the movie on DVD when available. Enjoy. My Ratings: [5/5]
—Ed Harris, age 43
One concern I had before seeing “Dinosaur” was whether or not they would dwell on the topic of evolution. I’m glad to say they did not once mention evolution. The closest they came to anything with that subject was a brief scene were the dinosaurs made mention of the different types of dinosaurs that were dying out. I was somewhat uncomfortable with the darkness of the movie. I found it somewhat violent and harsh (something Disney seems to be moving to in their movies). This is not a movie I would take a young child too. At the theater I saw it in, there were quite a few young ones that spend most of the time on their parent’s laps with their eyes covered. The overall theme was good. I did like how they emphasized the importance of all the dinosaurs, regardless of their age and abilities. There is a good lesson to be learned there! My Ratings: [3½/4½]
—Misty Lattimer, age 27
“Dinosaur” had excellent visual effects. The leader of the herd was heartless and had the attitude that “only the strong survive,” and “if the weak die, better for the herd.” But there is one dinosaur whose egg falls in a monkey pack, and is raised by them and he has a compassionate heart. There is a scene of a small flock of flesh eating dinosaurs, but never have opportunity to kill anything in the film, and then 2 T-Rex dinosaurs that were intimidating. The movie was not offensive. My Ratings: [4/4]
—Donna M., age 44
A good movie with some very positive themes. Specifically working together against adversity and standing up for those weaker than yourself were used throughout the movie. No specific theological mention was made of any position. You should present this to your kids as an illustrative story to show moral lessons (as I do with any Disney film).
—Scott, age 32
Negative
…You have to give Disney credit for continuing to explore the combination of this new technology and the real world… There are no cute Disney songs. The story is in the traditional Disney mode. Our hero Iguanodon Aladar has no father figure. You can call me paranoid, but I am very weary of every year this theme connecting with precious young minds. He is abandoned after predators kill his parents. Through a series of circumstances finds him with a new family. This plot point is so obvious. Scriptwriters must think by now this is the only way to achieve an emotional connection. We walk with the character through a meteor striking the Earth and a brief 84 minutes later a quickly resolved ending. Aladar does become a very resourceful dinosaur and does inspire a lot of teamwork along the way. As Aladar grows up, he develops a love interest for Kron’s (the leader) sister Neera. There is some PG innuendoes in this coming of age process. I do agree with some of the critics that “Tarzan” did a much better job with that theme. The film does possess that dark video game style carnage… I really cannot recommend this film. Its flaws far outweigh anything positive that can be gleaned… My Ratings: [3/3]
—Douglas M. Downs, age 44
Comments from young people
“Dinosaur” was one of those movies with breathtaking graphics and special effects. Young children to adults will enjoy this movie. There is nothing offensive or objectionable, or no reference towards evolution or how old the Earth is. (Except for the meteor shower scene). But one thing I wondered about was how people suggest that the meteor shower was the factor the extinction of dinosaurs, but yet there were dinosaurs that survived and produced hundreds of offspring. So is the theory contradicting itself in this movie? But I wouldn’t waste too much time thinking about it. The kids don’t know the difference yet at this age. It’s the adults who walk out analyzing everything. I took my brothers, 4 and 3 to this movie and they were wide eyed and alert the whole time, and thouroughly enjoyed it. There were a few scenes that would scare easily-frightened children, but the theatre was quiet the whole time, with no crying or scared children. I recommend this movie. It was a great film, and it had a nice, soft ending. My Ratings: [4/5]
—Megan, age 15
Movie Critics
…It’s a two-hour commercial to brainwash your kid into wanting every single one of the dinosaur toys…
—Laurie Notaro, The Arizona Republic
…many scenes where large and small, menacing-looking and decidedly carnivorous dinosaurs pursue and/or attack various members of the herd…
—ScreenIt!
…Parents be warned: Dinosaur earns its PG-rating. After its dazzling opening, the film is remarkably short on wonder and long on dark intensity… sudden… sappy ending… tidily wraps everything up
—Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz
…Dinosaur becomes the first Disney animated picture in years not to feature any songs…
—James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…What Aladar teaches us is that “survival of the fittest” can be expanded to refer to the entire herd, not just each individual…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables

See Answers in Genesis’s review. Go