Dinosaur (film)

Dinosaur (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ralph Zondag
Eric Leighton
Produced by Pam Marsden
Baker Bloodworth
Screenplay by John Harrison
Robert Nelson Jacobs
Story by John Harrison
Robert Nelson Jacobs
Thom Enriquez
Ralph Zondag
Narrated by Alfre Woodard
Starring D. B. Sweeney
Ossie Davis
Alfre Woodard
Max Casella
Hayden Panettiere
Samuel E. Wright
Peter Siragusa
Julianna Margulies
Joan Plowright
Della Reese
Frank Welker
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography David Hardberger
S. Douglas Smith
Editing by H. Lee Peterson, A.C.E.
Studio Walt Disney Feature Animation
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date(s) May 19, 2000 (2000-05-19)
Running time 82 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $127.5 million[1]
Box office $349,822,765[1]

Dinosaur is a 2000 American computer-animated (with live-action backgrounds) film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on May 19, 2000. At officially $130 million, it was the most expensive theatrical movie release of the year.

It was not originally a part of the Disney canon, but in 2008, it became the 39th animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation[2], while The Emperor's New Groove, which had once been Disney's 39th animated feature[3], became its 40th instead.

Much of the film's scenery is from Canaima (Venezuela) landscapes, various tepuis and Angel Falls appears in the film.



The film opens with an Iguanodon mother forced to abandon her nest, with only one egg (D. B. Sweeney) surviving a carnivorous Carnotaur (Frank Welker) attack. The egg is taken by an Oviraptor, who drops it into a river while fighting another Oviraptor, and finally is taken by a Pteranodon to an island inhabited by lemurs, who see the egg hatch, name the baby dinosaur Aladar, and raise him as their own. When Aladar is an adult, the island is destroyed by a meteor, with only Aladar, his grandfather Yar (Ossie Davis), his mother Plio (Alfre Woodard), his best friend Zini (Max Casella), and his sister Suri (Hayden Panettiere) surviving the destruction of the island by swimming to the mainland.

After fleeing a pack of Velociraptors (also Frank Welker), the family meets a multi-species herd of dinosaurs led by the Iguanodon Kron (Samuel E. Wright) and his lieutenant Bruton (Peter Siragusa), who are on a journey to reach the "Nesting Grounds", a valley believed to be untouched by the devastation of the meteor impact. Aladar and the lemurs befriend a trio of elderly dinosaurs: Baylene (Joan Plowright), a Brachiosaurus, Eema (Della Reese), a Styracosaurus, and Url (also Frank Welker), Eema's dog-like pet Ankylosaurus. Aladar also develops romantic feelings for Neera (Julianna Margulies), Kron's sister but she is uninterested. Meanwhile, the Velociraptors continue to follow them, but are scared off when a pair of Carnotaurus picks up the herd's trail too. The herd arrives at a lake they’ve relied on for past trips, but it has dried up. Aladar saves the herd from dehydration when he and Baylene eventually dig up the trapped water beneath the ground. Aladar and Neera eventually fall in love after Neera sees Aladar helping the dinosaurs (especially the elderly ones) survive; however, Bruton, having been sent by Kron to find water upon arrival at the lake, returns injured by the Carnotaurus. Kron evacuates the herd from the lake bed in a rush, leaving Aladar, the lemurs, the elderly dinosaurs, and the injured Bruton behind.

The small group recuperates in a cave during a rainstorm, with Bruton eventually befriending them. When the Carnotaurus pair attacks, Bruton’s loyalty is proven when he kills one of them as the others escape to the depths of the caves, being killed in the process. But one of the Carnotaurus escapes, enraged by the death of its partner but unable to follow the group. Upon reaching a dead end, Aladar begins to lose hope, after repeated failures and the loss of Bruton. His friends all join in breaking down the dead end, stabilizing his confidence. Finally, Baylene demolishes the wall. The dead end actually leads to the "Nesting Grounds", where Eema sees that the old entrance – where the herd has gathered on the other side – has been blocked by a landslide generated by the meteors.

Aladar rushes to find the herd on the other side, accidentally alerting and being tracked by the Carnotaur. He finds the herd being directed by Kron to climb the rocks, which can't be passed without fatality, but when he suggests the alternate route he found, Kron battles him for leadership of the herd. Neera defends Aladar from her brother, and leaves with Aladar and the herd following. The Carnotaur then confronts them, but Aladar rallies the herd to drive it off by standing together and scaring it off with intimidation. The Carnotaur leaves the herd alone, but spots Kron stubbornly trying to climb the rocks alone, and is followed by Neera and Aladar as it charges to kill the former leader of the herd. In the ensuing fight, Kron is killed by the Carnotaur, but a brave Aladar is able to push the predator off a cliff to its death. Aladar and Neera lead the herd back to the "Nesting Grounds", where the two eventually mate and have children, and the lemurs find more of their own kind. Plio narrates the ending, wishing for their story to be remembered in history. She then says, "But one thing is for sure. Our journey is not over, we can only hope in some small way our time here will be remembered."

Cast and Characters

  • D. B. Sweeney as Aladar, a brave and compassionate Iguanodon who has been adopted into a family of lemurs and does what he can to make sure that the old and weak aren't left behind during the herd's migration.
  • Ossie Davis as Yar, a lemur patriarch whose occasional gruff demeanor is just a front covering his more compassionate interior. He is the father of Plio and Zini and the grandfather of Suri.
  • Alfre Woodard as Plio, a lemur matriarch who cares for her family.
  • Max Casella as Zini, Aladar's best friend, lemur stepbrother and wisecracking sidekick. Suri's uncle and Plio's younger brother.
  • Hayden Panettiere as Suri, Aladar's stepsister, Zini's niece, Plio's daughter and Yar's granddaughter.
  • Samuel E. Wright as Kron, an Iguanodon leading a herd of dinosaur survivors who is characterized by a strict adherence to social Darwinism. He believes in survival of the fittest, which repeatedly clashes with Aladar's merciful manner.
  • Peter Siragusa as Bruton, Kron's domineering second-in-command. He is betrayed and left for the dead by Kron, and ultimately gives his life to kill one of the Carnotaurs to save Aladar, the lemurs, and the weak dinosaurs.
  • Julianna Margulies as Neera, Kron's sister, who ends up falling in love with Aladar because of his compassionate ways.
  • Joan Plowright as Baylene, an elderly and dainty Brachiosaurus, who is the last of her species.
  • Della Reese as Eema, a wizened, elderly and slow-moving Styracosaurus, and has a pet Ankylosaurus named Url.
  • Frank Welker as the Carnotaurus, Velociraptors, Url, and dinosaur sound effects.


The film was originally supposed to have no dialogue at all, in part to differentiate the film from The Land Before Time, with which Dinosaur shares many plot similarities. Michael Eisner insisted that the film have dialogue in order to make it more "commercially viable." A similar change was also made early in the production of The Land Before Time, which was originally intended to feature only the voice of a narrator.

The film's score was composed by James Newton Howard. Pop singer/songwriter Kate Bush reportedly wrote and recorded a song for the film but due to complications the track was ultimately not included on the soundtrack.[citation needed] According to HomeGround, a Kate Bush fanzine, it was scrapped when Disney asked Bush to rewrite the song and Bush refused; however, according to Disney, the song was cut from the film when preview audiences did not respond well to the track. In Asia, pop singer Jacky Cheung's song Something Only Love Can Do, with versions sung in English, Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese, was adopted as the theme song for the film.

The Countdown to Extinction attraction at the Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, was re-named and re-themed to the movie. It is now known as DINOSAUR. The storyline was always intended to tie in with the movie, considering the usage of a Carnotaurus as the ride's antagonist and Aladar as the Iguanodon that guests rescue from the meteor and take back into the present, seen wandering the Dino Institute in Security Camera footage seen on monitors in the attraction's unloading area.

George Scribner was the original director of the film. Scribner spent two years on it and left to join Walt Disney Imagineering. But fundamentally, the story was pretty much the same after he left.

Dinosaur combines the use of live-action backgrounds with computer animation of prehistoric creatures, notably the titular dinosaurs, produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation's Computer Graphics Unit that was later merged with Dream Quest Images to create Disney's The Secret Lab department.[4] The Secret Lab department closed in 2002.

Vision Crew Unlimited provided the live-action special visual effects.


The soundtrack album was composed by James Newton Howard, and was released by Walt Disney Records.

  1. Inner Sanctum/The Nesting Grounds (2:57)
  2. The Egg Travels (2:43)
  3. Aladar & Neera (3:29)
  4. The Courtship (4:13)
  5. The End Of Our Island (4:00)
  6. They're All Gone (2:08)
  7. Raptors/Stand Together (5:37)
  8. Across The Desert (2:25)
  9. Finding Water (4:14)
  10. The Cave (3:40)
  11. The Carnotaur Attack (3:52)
  12. Neera Rescues The Orphans (1:13)
  13. Breakout (2:43)
  14. It Comes With A Pool (3:01)
  15. Kron & Aladar Fight (2:58)
  16. Epilogue (2:32)

The German release has as track 2 the song "Can Somebody Tell Me Who I Am" (4:14), performed by Orange Blue; all the score tracks included above are on the German release.


Critical response

Dinosaur received generally favorable reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 65% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 122 reviews (79 "Fresh" and 43 "Rotten"); with an average score of 6.2/10.[5] Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four praising the films "amazing visuals" but criticizing the decision to make the animals talk, which he felt cancelled out the effort to make the film so realistic. "An enormous effort had been spent on making these dinosaurs seem real, and then an even greater effort was spent on undermining the illusion" was his final consensus. The overall rating of Dinosaur on Metacritic from critics is 56%, with 15 critics giving positive reviews, 12 giving mixed reviews, and 5 giving negative reviews. However, the overall user rating of Dinosaur on Metacritic was a very positive 88%.[6]

Box office

Dinosaur was a box-office success. It opened at #1 making $38,854,851 in its first weekend from 3,257 theaters, for an average of $11,930 per theater. It had a final gross of $137,748,063 domestically which covered its production costs. The film was eventually accepted overseas earning $212,074,702 for a worldwide take of $349,822,765.[7]

Other media

Disney Interactive released a tie-in video game on the Dreamcast, PlayStation, PC and Game Boy Color in 2000.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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