Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Dinosaur is the 39th animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios and is a first for the studio as it combines live-action backgrounds with computer animated characters.
In a brief but dramatic prologue a hungry Carnotaurus attacks a breeding ground full of dinosaurs, crushing many eggs and getting its fill. A single Iguanadon egg then goes on a complicated journey that ends with it being dropped on Lemur Island, a true island paradise. It then hatches and the baby dinosaur is adopted by a young lemur called Plio (Alfre Woodard), her father Yar (Ossie Davis) and her small son Zini (Max Casella). Years later the adult Iguanadon Aladar (D.B. Sweeney), Plio, Yar, Zini and Plio's daughter Suri (Hayden Panettiere) are driven from their island home by a meteor shower that destroys the island and kills the rest of the island's lemurs. After wandering lost around the desert they find a large herd of dinosaurs heading to the nesting grounds, led by grumpy Iguanadon Kron (Samuel E. Wright) and his veteran right-hand Iguanadon Bruton (Peter Siragusa). The dinosaurs face a long treck across the desert, with predators hot on their trail. Kron believes in survival of the fittest and is willing to leave any dinosaur unable to keep up to the predators. Aladar, however, stays at the back with the slowest dinosaurs - ancient Brachiosauras Baylene (Joan Plowright), equally ancient Styracosaurus Eema (Della Reese) and her pet Anklyosaurus Url - as Aladar believes that no dinosaur should be left behind and it's this that causes Kron's beautiful younger sister Neera (Juliana Margulies) to fall in love with him.
Disney's decision to make computer animated dinosaurs is truly an outstanding creative decision. The computer animation puts glorious details into the skin and eyes of the dinosaurs and the fur of the lemurs, and does it so intricately and beautifully that the animation is at a standard that matches that of Pixar films such as Monsters, Inc (2001). The characters are truly wonderful and inspired. Kron is characterized by a strict adherence to Social Darwinism. Bruton is like an old soldier, similarly to the one's found in many army/war/soldier films. He is cold-hearted and tough, but it is truly heart-breaking when he is left for dead by Kron and (convinced his fate is to die) sacrifices himself to save Aladar, Eema, Baylene, Url and the lemurs from a pair of Carnotaurus. Zini, however, is the comic relief of the film. His constant attempts to woo and chat up female characters is just as hilarious as his hyperactivity. A monkey with mojo!?! I guess Austin Powers has found his furry counterpart!
Couple this with Cinematographers S. Douglas Smith's and David Hardberger's breathtaking shots of waterfalls, cliffs, deserts, the works, and you have a wonderful film on your hands that more than earned its almost $350 million in box office reciepts.
Stars: D.B. Sweeney, Alfre Woodard, Samuel E. Wright, Juliana Margulies, Ossie Davis, Max Casella, Hayden Panettiere, Joan Plowright, Della Reese, Peter Siragusa.
Saturn Award nominations: Best Fantasy Film, Best Music (James Newton Howard).