Dinosaur (2000)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Dinosaur</strong> (2000)

(On DVD, October 2018) At fifty-some movies and counting, the output of Disney Animation Studios has been inconsistent at best—some of them are classics, and others have been nearly forgotten along the way. Even if it was a box office hit back in 2000, Dinosaur now languishes in the Disney bottom shelf, plagued by the absence of a princess, visually dated technological choices and overtaken by later movies (i.e. The Ice Age series) reusing similar concepts to better effect. It’s true that by choosing to focus on a photo-realistic representation of a dinosaur at a time when it was barely achievable to do so, Dinosaur shoots itself in the foot. Overlaying CGI characters over real backgrounds was a plausible choice before 2000—It would take fifteen more years, until The Good Dinosaur, before entirely computer-generated scenery could be mistaken for real-life photography. Still, it does look weird at times: Dinosaur is best watched today in as low a quality as you can tolerate, so pick that DVD over the Blu-ray version if you can. It doesn’t help that the film looks better than it sounds—or, more accurately, that it goes from an intriguing dialogue-free film to a kid’s comedy as soon as the animals start talking like teenagers. That, more than the dated special effects, dooms the film to third-tier status: It’s not even interesting dialogue, and it doesn’t really lead to an interesting plot either. The basic tension between the film’s then cutting-edge visuals (still generally beautiful) and the much-dumber plot and dialogue are enough to be exasperating. While Dinosaur can still be watched today, it does feel like a re-thread of other versions of the same idea done before and since.

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