If your childhood was like mine, you also grew up watching The Land Before Time franchise and loving every moment of it. There is just something absolutely entrancing about incredibly majestic reptiles from 66 million years ago that we now know as Dinosaurs. These creatures can never be seen by us in real life by the modern human civilization, aside from in fossil form. While fictional beasts and mythological creatures are fun to see in popular culture; knowing that Dinosaurs did indeed once walk the earth is what makes them so alluring to most people including myself.
Dinosaur is the very first film that I saw as a kid with CGI Dinosaurs, and that is what made me so nostalgic about it. However, watching it as a grown-up is an entirely different experience, especially after watching so many things featuring Dinosaurs in the past decade.
How to Download Dinosaur (2020)
To download the film, click on the Download button at the end of this review. You can get it from Disney+ or a digital store. If you like animated dinosaur movies, check out also The Good Dinosaur (2015).
The Movie Review
Dinosaur follows the story of a young Iguanodon named Aladar. Aladar is quite the peculiar Dinosaur as he’s not really living in a herd with his own kind, in fact, his entire herd was brutally attacked when he was just a baby. This attack comes at the hands of a Carnotaurus, which is how he ends up in the care of the lemurs. There he is raised and beloved by Plio, who serves as an adoptive mother for Aladar. They live in peace and harmony for a long time, however, that wasn’t meant to last.
A meteor comes crashing down upon Aladar’s adoptive family and results in the death of most of their tribe. Now, as more destruction takes place on the planet, the young and brave Iguanodon must take charge of keeping the Lemurs safe as they journey across the lands to survive.
Directed by Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton, Dinosaur is a kids’ movie at heart yet it features some horrific imagery, to say the least. Let’s just say that children in the early 2000s had tougher stomachs than they do now, and we were able to watch films like this.
This is a fully CGI film, and the animation is absolutely stunning for the time. It’s so well done that it makes films such as Pixar’s feel underwhelming in comparison at first glance. Though that’s where most of my praises end for this movie, and the criticisms follow.
As a kid, I used to adore that this is a story of triumph and discovery for both the Lemurs and Aladar. That aspect is still quite great in the film, yet it is so bogged down by over-the-top events that it doesn’t focus at all on its characters.
Their motivations feel unworthy and their stories feel as if they weren’t meant to be told in such a format. In fact, Aladar’s entire arc revolves around the Lemurs for the most part, and then it switches to rejoining his kind who he had lost. It doesn’t take a moment to provide key moments such as him coming to terms with how the Lemurs raised him, it just switches motivations randomly without really much prior notice.
The other thing that bothers me here in this film is the horrendous voice acting. I remembered it to be decently voiced, but when you watched it now, you can pick up the cues of how unenthusiastically the actors had performed their roles. It’s not even funny how bland the voice acting is despite it having a few stellar actors in to do the job. Alfre Woodard and Osse Davis are the only two voice actors that manage to make us feel slightly connected to the characters, yet other than that there’s not much to like here.
The visual effects and the colors on the screen are absolutely phenomenal though, and the CGI work is beyond refreshing for an era where animated films were only limited to looking like cartoons. However, that doesn’t turn out to be the saving grace here, as the Dinosaur suffers heavily from a slow and random pacing issue, unlikable voice acting, and characters that don’t see much development.
Not to mention, the plot is quite uninspired and Ice Age 2 did it much better. Dinosaur is a great film if you’re a 5-year-old, though when you grow up and test your hand at watching this film; it feels like an average-to-bad picture at best.