Wednesday, May 24, 2000


Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2000 at 12:00 AM

On a strictly technical level, Dinosaur is an amazing advancement for animation. These majestic creatures, who exist today only as bones, are brought vibrantly to life and romp in a three-dimensional landscape. Directors Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton have fashioned an exciting adventure film which supposes that the meteors, which (in theory) wiped out all animal life on Earth, weren’t actually the end of the dinosaurs.

Unfortunately, the ambitious Dinosaur is undercut by the dictates of a G-rated Disney spectacle, where anthropomorphized creatures are touchy-feely (but mercifully song-free) and nothing gets shown onscreen which might frighten a 5-year-old. The result is a sanitized animal kingdom, where carnivores are bad, herbivores are good and the brutal reality of dinosaur life is neutered.

The iguanodon Aladar (voice of D.B. Sweeney) is accidentally transported as an egg to a dinosaur-free island and ends up being raised by a family of lemurs headed by Plio (Alfre Woodard) and Yar (Ossie Davis). This is scientifically questionable, but a good choice dramatically, because these small, lively primates provide the warmth necessary to humanize the cold-blooded reptiles.

After meteors rain from the sky and devastate their home, Aladar and the lemurs wind up as part of a ragtag dinosaur herd led by Kron (Samuel E. Wright) and his sister, Neera (Julianna Margulies), who are on a relentless hike across the barren desert to their nesting grounds.

Kron adopts a (boo! hiss!) survival-of-the-fittest attitude, whereby the weak are left behind to die. Aladar, who preaches compassion and inclusion, ends up standing up for the weak and equality for all creatures (a handy philosophy given that many here are the last of their kind).

The not-so-subtle lesson in Dinosaur is that different species must cooperate and band together for their mutual survival. Given what happened to the real dinosaurs, this comes off as a mixed message at best.

Serena Donadoni writes about film for the Metro Times. E-mail her at


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

December 1, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation