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Disney Dinosaur Follies...



   Hello again, everyone..it's been a while since I've used the DML, but
I thought I would take this opportunity to return and give a brief
review of Disney's Dinosaur.

   I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview showing of the movie on
Tuesday night. Having followed the online hype for some time now, I was
already prepared for a "Happy Meal-Friendly" depiction of the dinosaurs,
and a fairly typical Disney story; but this isn't about the story per
se. It's about the dinosaurs.

   A (long) while back, there was some discussion that I remember about
dinosaur "lips" and "cheeks" and so forth; the lesson I remember most
vividly is that, as an artist, I must take great care not to "mammalize"
my dinosaurs. It seems that is exactly what Dinosaur does. Aladar, the
Iguanodon, has a neat row of white incisors, covered by muscular, fleshy
lips. The ornamental horns above his orbits flex and move as if they
were eyebrows. When he squints or "smiles", his muscular cheeks
contract. This is true of all the Iguanodonts in the film.

   Now, granted, Iguanodonts also weren't speaking english, and even if
they did, they likely would not use the proper scientific name of the
Carnotaurs that hunt them, either. Some fantasy is to be expected. But
it seems to me that the dinosaurs were overly mammalian in those ways.

    There are other dinosaurs of course; a Brachiosaur, a Styracosaurus,
Pachyrhinosaurs, Struthiomimus, etc., and a small ankylosaur that
behaved exactly as if it were a hyperactive puppy-panting, fetching
bones, rolling around on it's back...

   The monkeys...simply more Happy Meal material, of course. The kids
loved them, the parents all groaned...

    And the Great Nesting Ground (read: the Great Valley, the Promised
Land, whatever) is covered in what for all appearances appears to be
lush, green GRASS. Ugh. If I'm wrong about this, let me know, but that's
what it sure looked like to me.

    The real bright spots were the predators. As per many children's
movies, the "villains" are not humanized at all; the Carnotaurs,
Velociraptors, and Oviraptors thankfully do not speak at all. Their
behavior also seems to be the most plausible out of all the dinosaurs in
the movie.

    Overall, the animations are technically brilliant. It's a different
kind of brilliant than WWD or Jurassic Park, this is realism, but with a
definite leaning towards characterization. If any of you have small
children and plan to take them, one word of warning; during some of the
more violent scenes, some of the children in the theater started crying.

Well, anyway, that's my report, such that it is.

Now, does anyone have any good photos of Sue that they would be willing
to scan and e-mail to me...?
-Chris Srnka