By Karen Lee
Walt Disney Pictures’ movie “Dinosaur” mixes live-action backgrounds with computer-animated characters, but the mixing doesn’t stop there.
The story line is like a conglomerate of “Tarzan” and “The Land Before Time,” but with better special effects and good background music.
Like “Tarzan,” a baby is left without parents to be raised by parents of another species. However, this baby is not a human, but a baby iguanodo dinosaur named Aladar. And its adopted family is not a group of gorillas, but a clan of lemurs.
Aladar is eventually reunited with his own kind after a meteor strikes the planets surface and forces him and his furry family off their island-paradise home to an unknown land.
They meet up with a herd of plant-eating dinosaurs that are seeking nesting grounds while being pursued by meat-eating dinosaurs called carnotaurs, a story line very similar to “The Land Before Time.”
In a series of violent confrontations with the carnotaurs and Kron, the leader of the migrating herd, the group of misfits find strength through each other, and the herd itself learns the importance of sticking together.
Despite these values, Disney spares little gore when any encounter occurs between the gentle dinosaurs and the carnotaurs. Many gruesome scenes are shown, which terrified all the children in the audience, as well at least one adult.
It seems that the target audience of this film is not children or adults, but adolescent males. Conflicts that arise in the film seem to relate to a typical adolescent boy.
The movie’s main character faces problems such as trying to fit in, trying to get a girl to like him and struggles with bullies.
All in all, the film offers a sense of strength in numbers and it tries to teach lessons of compassion, hope and determination. However, because the film does contain a lot of violence mixed with great special effects, these ideas seem to get buried.
The movie is rated PG for violence, and should serve as a warning to parents not to take their small children to see it.
TWO AND A HALF STARS