In the beginning of the millennium Disney had a big movie coming up called only Dinosaur, a rather vague name which is why it’s more commonly known as Dinosaur 2000 nowadays. You have to have some big confidence if you name your movie something as generic as that and Disney expected it to be a hit. Walking with Dinosaurs was a huge hit when it came to Documentaries so a movie based on so a lot was expected from this release. Both movies used a mix of live action shots with CG and both were disappointments, but let’s take a look at these overlooked gems and see other coincidences these two movies had.
We’ll begin with the older of these entries which is Disney’s Dinosaur not to be confused with Henson’s Dinosaurs which I guess is also Disney’s. But as I mentioned the combination of shooting in real life locations and adding the CG to those scenes really brought a lot of realism to the movie. Despite having CG from 2000, it’s still nice and back then there was hardly many movies with better CG as it was simply impressive.
The plot is a bit of a rip off of the Land before time but as much as it may be, the characters are all different enough that it’s just another journey through the same tragedy. You wouldn’t call two titanic movies a rip off just because they take place during the sinking of it right? It might not hit all the highs that the Land Before Time does but it’s definitely good enough.
I really liked that they used Carnotaurs instead of the generic T-Rex that most movies rely on and the Carnotaurs look so evil that it’s perfect for the movie. I also liked the monkey mammals that were incorporated into the film and showing the end of the age of the dinosaurs. They could’ve easily been a Jar Jar Binks tier character but they weren’t. I do like the main hero is an Iguanodon, for a long time it was my favorite dinosaur, and Aladar does sound like a dinosaury name I guesss o good job for giving them appropriate-esque names to the characters.
The movie was originally supposed to be a lot different and the dinosaurs wouldn’t talk. This would’ve been amazing, sadly the decision was made to have them talk. The opening segment teases you that it won’t feature any dialog and it’s easily a one of the best scenes in the movie. Now the dialog doesn’t kill the movie but I do think it was the wrong decision. Because of this their lips move and they have somewhat cartoony faces.
Walking with Dinosaurs 3D released in 2013 has a similar story to Dinosaur and it also began as a movie where the dinosaurs would not talk. This was added late enough int he movie that there was no way the characters would have lips but they “talk” as if their thoughts could be heard and they tell the story. It was not necessary but there’s not much you can do about it. The movie did include a Cretaceous Cut on home media which gets rid of the dialog at the very least and later another version called Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D which is shorter and while it has no dialog it includes narration similar to the ones in the documentary.
While you do have a choice over what version you may want, after watching all 3 I can safely say that they’re all pretty much the same. I’d still argue the one with dialog is the better version because it’s clear some decisions they made like part of the ending had this in mind and it just isn’t the “full” experience anymore if you take the dialog out. The dialog-less version is still cool though and the one with narration might just make it seem like another episode of the documentary series.
The CG is really good, some dinosaurs have cartoony designs but it still works, they’re far more realistic since they don’t have lips at least and shows how much CG has evolved. As good as the CG in Disney’s Dinosaur this one is just better, the difference in years really makes a difference. The story isn’t going to wow anyone but at least it’s an original take with original characters so there’s nothing wrong. Instead of monkeys we have a bird Alexornis / Alex that helps bridge the gap of the Dinosaur world and the human one. They kind of go a little extreme as the movie actually begins and finishes with human actors, this was totally unnecessary and I’m sure it sounded better on paper.
The movie has “stats” of the random dinosaurs the find which while fun also take away from the realism they’re going for at times. It’s a little on the long side because of all these sequences and that’s a shame. Overall both movies have flaws but they also have their strengths and aren’t bad at all. They deserve more recognition and I guess because of it I’ll go ahead and throw the idea out there that both films are in the same continuity. Why? Just because they both use live scenery with CG and similar takes on dinosaurs.
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