Combine those two factors with the growing list of PG-rated movies my wife and I have been letting him watch, and Dinosaur seemed like a plausible choice for a father-son review.
Through a series of events, a dinosaur egg ends up with a family of lemurs, who raise the hatched dino – named Aladar (D.B. Sweeney) – as one of their own, despite the fact that dinos usually eat lemurs as snacks.
After a meteor shower decimates their homeland, Aladar and his lemur family join a traveling herd of dinosaurs, led by the demanding Kron (Samuel E. Wright), to find a supposed nesting ground of paradise.
I find myself struggling to say much about Dinosaur. Not that it was horrible, nor was it great…it’s just that not much stood out in terms of plot or character development.
Regarding the latter, we’ve seen all the character types before, especially in Disney films:
- The put-upon hero who stands up against adversaries bigger than him for what he thinks is right
- The sympathetic girl (in this case, Kron’s sister Neera (Julianna Margulies)) who eventually thinks our hero may be on to something
- A comic relief (lemur Zini (Max Casella)) who’s only mildly amusing
- A token, sassy female (dino Eema (Della Reese))
The CGI animation in Dinosaur is just a hair unrefined compared to today’s standards, but younger viewers probably won’t notice or care. Interestingly, the scenery and backdrop animation are much more impressive and realistic than the animated creatures.
In the end, Dinosaur walks a tightrope between kid feature and adult film (stop it, you know what I mean): talking dinosaurs to attract the kids, but tone and occasional content that does warrant its PG rating (see Is it suitable for your kids? below).
Bottom line: There are worse ways to spend 82 minutes.
Dinosaur with silent intensity, which to me seemed like he enjoyed it and was maybe secretly relishing the fact he was allowed to watch another PG-rated movie. The only part of the film he didn’t like? “The meteor shower.”
Is it suitable for your kids?Dinosaur’s PG rating is accurate and appropriate. Some examples as to why:
- The devastating meteor shower near the beginning is a bit intense, and it’s implied that the entire population of Aladar’s homeland, except for his family, has been wiped out.
- The giant carnotaurs (think a T. rex with more spikes and teeth) are quite menacing, and their attacks on Aladar and the other dinos could be scary to very young children.
- Several dinosaurs die from falling rocks, being mauled, or plunging off a cliff.
Will your FilmMother want to watch it?The fact that Dinosaur is about, well, dinosaurs, might make it more of a boy/guy thing. Still, there are a few strong female characters that may keep her interest.
* Directors: Eric Leighton, Ralph Zondag
* Screenwriters: John Harrison, Robert Nelson Jacobs
* Stars: D.B. Sweeney, Alfre Woodard, Ossie Davis, Max Casella, Hayden Panettiere, Samuel E. Wright, Julianna Marguiles, Della Reese
* MPAA Rating: PG (intense images)
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