With a plot spookily similar to the earlier The Land Before Time, this animated movie from Disney was rumoured to have cost a whopping $120 million to make, partly due to the expensive techniques used to make it look incredibly impressive, with live-action backgrounds and computer animation. Unfortunately less cash was, it seems, spent on the forgettable story.
Aladar the dinosaur has been brought up by a colony of lemurs, but when a meteor shower destroys their home, he and his pals have to wander the land looking for a new place to live. Along the way, they meet other dinosaurs (some friendly and some hungry), and Aladar grows into something of a saviour to all of them.
The animation here is amazing – no cute cuddly creatures, these dinos owe more to Jurassic Park than Barney and come complete with detailed scales – but because it is so realistic, it’s pretty scary when the meteor shower comes down or anything threatening happens (there are some very nasty meat-eating creatures for starters). There’s also something of a message that will fly over the heads of younger viewers – Aladar’s group includes a couple of doddery old ’saurs to prove all life is sacred, and the meek and plodding are just as good as the fit and stomping creatures – which makes you wonder quite who the film-makers were aiming this at. Nonetheless, it is visually stunning and a must for prehistory fans (eight and over).
Is Dinosaur suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The meteor shower and subsequent fires are scary as the dinosaurs flee from them.
There are also fights and chases involving the nasty carnotaurs that will frighten younger viewers. The movie is generally quite dark and intense throughout.