Dinosaurs come alive like never before in this costly computer-animated film from Disney. After a breathtaking opening (in which a dinosaur egg is kidnapped), the film changes style; realistic dinosaurs are given human characteristics and voices. The kidnapped egg grows into an iguanodon named Aladar (voiced by DB Sweeney), who is raised by lemurs (shades of Tarzan) on a lush island void of other dinosaurs. When a meteorite destroys their island home in a thrilling sequence, the lemur family and Aladar become part of a dinosaur troop roaming the mainland deserts looking for the lush nesting grounds (shades of the fourth instalment of the Land Before Time
series and Fantasia
). Disney's use of cheeky modern slang (one lemur calls himself "a love monkey") is present, as is its typical capital-punishment narrative logic: anyone against our forward-thinking hero (or even disagreeing with him) ends up dead. Curiously, the meanies, a pair of carnotaurs following the group, are nameless and voiceless. This more realistic approach might have been a bigger wow, as in the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs
, which looked extraordinary with only a fraction of the budget. The complexity and scope of Dinosaur
's visual scale is impressive, and group shots and a point-of-view angle are stunning. The film should be a favourite for the 6 to 11-year-old set. --Doug Thomas, Amazon.com
In the late Cretaceous period of Earth's history, iguanodon Aladar (voiced by D.B. Sweeney) is separated from his own species while still inside his egg. He is taken in and brought up by lemurs Zini and Plio, but when this adoptive family is all by wiped out by a meteor shower, Aladar and his friends are forced to join a mixed herd of dinosaurs who are migrating to a new nesting ground. This tribe is led by the hard-headed Kron (Samuel E. Wright), whose 'survival of the fittest' approach clashes with Aladar's more altruistic nature.