USA 2000

Reviewed by Leslie Felperin


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

An earthly land mass, the late Cretaceous period. Aladar, an iguanodon, is separated from his family and raised by kindly lemurs. One evening, a meteorite shower wipes out their island habitat and kills most of the tribe, but Aladar escapes to the safety of the mainland with his adopted lemur family. While wandering in the desert, Aladar and friends join up with a mixed herd of dinosaurs migrating to a new nesting ground. The leader of the herd, iguanodon Kron, enforces a brutal timetable for the march and has little sympathy for the weaker dinosaurs such as Eema, a styrachosaur, and Baylene, a brachiosaur. Ferocious carnotaurs and velociraptors plague the herd, picking off the weak.

Kron's sister Neera finds herself attracted to Aladar and his gentler, co-operative strategies for survival. At a desiccated lake bed, Aladar helps save the herd by encouraging Baylene to stamp up water to the surface. This, and Aladar's altruistic salvation of Kron's lieutenant Bruton from a carnosaur attack, threatens Kron's leadership. Near the nesting ground, Aladar and his friends are separated from the other dinosaurs. They find a short cut to the nesting ground through a tunnel, but when they go to find the others to help them through, tensions escalate between Aladar and Kron. A fight ensues from which Aladar emerges victorious. The herd makes it to the nesting ground and Aladar and Neera look set to mate while the herd settles under his leadership.


Even before such hugely successful pop-science entertainments as Jurassic Park and the BBC documentary series Walking with Dinosaurs, it was a truism in children's publishing and programme-making that you could never go wrong with dinosaurs. These long-extinct creatures have fascinated the imaginations of Homo sapiens, particularly the young of the species, ever since the discovery of the first 'dragon' skeletons in the early 17th century. This makes it all the more surprising that the Disney company, usually so canny about tapping into children's desires, have been so slow to cash in on prehistoric subject matter. There were dinosaurs in Fantasia's 'Rite of Spring' section, but in very little else. Rivals Universal made a fair stab at the subject with their 1988 film The Land before Time (produced by Steven Spielberg), but this film wasn't as successful an animated feature as it deserved to be.

Whether planned or not, Disney's tardiness in producing an all-dinosaur movie has reaped them the benefits of computer technology. The CGI that directors Ralph Zondag and Eric Leighton used for Dinosaur is undoubtedly magnificent, capable of rendering exquisitely detailed skin textures and impeccably realistic backgrounds, garnered by extensive 'research' trips abroad (at a cost of around $200 million, this is one of the five most expensive films ever made). Sadly, there is little sign of the benefits of evolution in the storytelling itself, which sticks too closely to a narrative template seemingly dating back to the Mesolithic era. Here, an orphaned creature (Bambi, 1942, Dumbo, 1941, et al) ends up saving his adoptive family (Tarzan, 1999) through disingenuous goodness and a luckily placed cliff ledge (cf. Snow White, 1937, and others).

Those interested in modern theories of evolution will be intrigued, however, by the way the film revives amateur scientist and anarchist Prince Peter Kropotkin's once discredited but now fashionable theories about the utility of altruism in the development of the species, as propounded in his 1902 book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. Protagonist iguanodon Aladar (even his name has an altruistic echo) is put in conflict with the fiercely Darwinian herd leader Kron, who preaches that only the strong will survive. Kron's defeat could be read as either a triumph of Kropotkinism, or perhaps as Disney's attempt to play to the Middle-American creationist lobby, a constituency the company has recently alienated with its recognition of the rights of gay employees and other liberal temperings in its corporate policies. Nonetheless, this doesn't help the film-makers escape the melancholy historical irony known to every schoolchild over the age of eight: regardless of whatever evolutionary strategy the dinosaurs here 'adopt', they, somewhat like the Native Americans who triumph at the end of Pocahontas, still face a bleak future.


Ralph Zondag
Eric Leighton
Pam Marsden
John Harrison
Robert Nelson Jacobs
Based on an original screenplay by
Walon Green
H. Lee Peterson
Production Designer
Walter P. Martishius
James Newton Howard
©Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Production Company
Walt Disney Pictures presents
Baker Bloodworth
Production Supervisors
1st Unit:
Andrew Fenady
Ellen Raphael
Robert O'Haver
Exotic Unit:
Nancy McCarty
Stage Unit:
Diana De Vries
Production Controller
James Burton
Production Office Co-ordinators
1st Unit Senior:
Christopher A. Debiec
1st Unit:
Bonnie Foley
Lisa Beth Greenspan
Stage Unit:
Ruth Irvin-Hauer
Regina Thompson-Williamson
Production Co-ordinator
Exotic Unit:
Mark G. Soper
Production Managers
Tamara Boutcher
Carolyn Soper
Director of Production
Dana Axelrod
Location Managers
1st Unit Supervising:
Dow Griffith
1st Unit Additional:
Robert M. Berkus
Bérénice Le Maitre
Sue Bea Montgomery
Marisa Johnston
Heatherjane Smith
Michael Kenji Tomizawa
Assistant Directors
1st Unit:
Tom E. Milo
Donald W. Poquette
Cara Lee McCastlain
Kaylee Michelle Brown
Jennifer Booth
Stage Unit:
Samuel J. Hill
Ruth Lambert
Mary Hidalgo
ADR Voice:
Barbara Harris
Thom Enriquez
John Harrison
Robert Nelson Jacobs
Ralph Zondag
Director of Story
Thom Enriquez
Story Artists
Darryl Kidder
Roy Meurin
Frank Nissen
Ray Shenusay
Dick Zondag
Additional Story:
Julius Aguimatang
Kurt Anderson
Jim Capobianco
Ricardo Delgado
Robert Gibbs
Francis Glebas
Ben Gluck
Kirk Hanson
Doug Henderson
Fred Lucky
Floyd Norman
Tom Sito
Michael Spooner
Tamara Lusher Stocker
Oliver Thomas
Pete Von Sholly
Additional Story Material
Shirley Pierce
Rhett Reese
Directors of Photography
1st Unit:
Steven Douglas Smith
Dave Hardberger
Exotic Unit:
Timothy Housel
Stage Unit:
Kenneth H. Wiatrak
Dino Cam
1st Unit Engineer/Operator:
Dwayne McClintock
1st Unit Engineer:
Steven T. Kosakura
1st Unit Consultant:
Earl Wiggins
Visual Effects Supervisors
Neil Krepela
1st Unit:
Terry Moews
Exotic Unit:
Wallace Schaab
1st Unit Additional:
Richard E. Lehmann
Digital Effects Supervisor
Neil Eskuri
Manager of Digital Production
Jinko Gotoh
Visual Effects Editor
Thomas R. Bryant
Technology Managers of Software Development
John Henry Brooks
Edwin R. Leonard
Technology Manager of Systems Development
Ben Croy
Technology Senior Manager of Technical Support
Michael Jedlicka
Technology Manager of Media Group
Thomas Moore Jr
Digital Systems Design Team
Steven L. Groom
Mark Jankins
Mark Kimball
Brad Lowman
Skottie Miller
Neil Okamoto
Sandy Sunseri
Doug White
Spikes Up Plate Unit
Line Producer:
James Burton
Production Manager:
Gerard Dinardi
Special Effects Supervisors
1st Unit:
Robert H. Spurlock
Roy L. Goode
Al Broussard
1st Unit Effects Crew
Archie K. Ahuna
Stephen L. Humphrey
Special Effects Crew
Stage Unit:
John Hartigan
Mike Joyce
Visual Development/ Character Design Artists
Ricardo Delgado
Ian S. Gooding
Mark Hallett
Doug Henderson
David Krentz
Additional Visual Development Artists
Barry Atkinson
Jim Aupperle
Hans Bacher
John Bindon
Justin Brandstater
Marek Buchwald
Brooks Campbell
Peter Clarke
Guy Deel
Paul Felix
Brian Franczak
Mike Gabriel
Jean Gillmore
Darek Gogol
Eric Goldberg
Valerie Grineau
Carlos Huerte
Caroline Hu
Terry Isaac
Buck Lewis
Rick Maki
Serge Michaels
Craig Mullins
Peter Oedekoven
Tina Price
Craig Paul
William Stout
Christophe Vacher
Marcelo Vignali
Additional Visual Development Sculptors
Michael Floyd Jones
Gary Staab
Software Supervisor
Jay Sloat
Look Development Supervisor
L. Cliff Brett
Look Development Technical Directors
Robert Beech
Laurent Charbonnel
Mark Hammel
Tal Lancaster
Ramprasad Sampath
Workbook Supervisor
David Womersley
Digital Image Supervisor
Kevin Willmering
Scene Set Up Supervisor
Gary Allan Parks
Digital Film Printing/
Christopher W. Gee
Camera Co-ordinator:
Stephanie Clifford
Camera Operators:
John Aardal
Bill Aylsworth
John Derderian
Bill Fadness
Mike Lehman
Stan Miller
Jennie Kepenek Mouzis
Model Development Supervisor
Sean Phillips
Muscle/Skin Technical Director Lead
David Oliver
Muscle/Skin Technical Directors
Jesus Canal Teres
Mark Empey
Stephen V. Hwan
Kavita Khosla
Michael Kuehn
Raj S. Naiksatam
Edwin Ng
Russell L. Smith
Character Motion Technical Director Lead
Candice Chinn
Character Motion Technical Directors
Haggai Goldfarb
Jacqueline Gordon
Sean Locke
James Dale Polk
Herd Technical Directors
Craig Caton-Largent
Glen Claybrook
Peter Megow
Character Model Leads
Bruce D. Buckley
James E. Stapp
Character Modellers
Brian Jefcoat
Corey Smith
Daniel Szecket
Joe Hing-Shan Kwong
Supervising Animators
Mark Antony Austin
Trey Thomas
Tom Roth
Bill Fletcher
Larry White
Eamonn Butler
Neera/Juvenile Dinosaurs:
Joel Fletcher
Dick Zondag
Michael Belzer
Gregory William Griffith
Carnotaurs/The Herd:
Atsushi Sato
Jason Anastas
Darrin Butters
Jay N. Davis
Chadd Ferron
Amy McNamara
Eric Strand
Greg Maguire
Sean Mahoney
Luci Napier
Peter Lepeniotis
Christopher Oakley
Les Major
Yuriko Senoo
Alex Tysowsky
Sheryl Sardina Sackett
Henry Sato Jr
Doug Bennett
Jason Ryan
Neera/Juvenile Dinosaurs:
Rebecca Wilson Bresee
Sandra Maria Groeneveld
Tony Smeed
Owen Klatte
Brian Wesley Green
Darrin Butts
James Michael Crossley
Angie Glocka
Carnotaurs/The Herd:
Bobby Beck
Stephen A. Buckley
Kent Burton
Chris Hurtt
Don Waller
Paul Wood
Additional Animation
Tom Gurney
Ethan Marak
Neil Richmond
Animation Associates
1st Unit:
Eric M. Algren
Jacqueline I. Taylor
Donique Grace Patton
Effects Lighting Supervisor
Chris Peterson
Effects Compositing Supervisor
Jim Hillin
Supervising Effects Animators
Michael N. Daugherty
Curtis A.J. Edwards
Simon O'Connor
Patrick Roberts
Lighting Technical Directors/Compositors/
Effects Artists
Charles Anderson
Grant Anderson
Floyd Casey
D. Wallace Colvard
Robyn Crane
Christian Cunningham
Earl Huddleston
Michael Levine
Juniko Moody
Wally Schaab
Laura Scholl
Kathi Spencer
Adam Stark
Kenji Sweeney
Alessandro Tomassetti
Effects Artists
Arthur Argote
Yina Chang
Jim H. Green
Joan Kim
Kevin Koneval
Irina Miloslavsky
Ethan A. Ormsby
Winston Quitasol
Aliza Sorotzkin
Lisa M. Tse
Katie A. Tucker
Lighting Technical Directors/Effects Artists
Tzyy Wei Huang
Chris Hummel
Alessandro Jacomini
Shanna C. Lim
Zsolt Krajcsik
Baudouin Struye
Lighting Technical Directors
Jim Aupperle
Richard E. Lehmann
Mathias Lorenz
Steven McCure
Terry Moews
Kyle Strawitz
Judith Bell
Brooks Campbell
Feliciano Di Giorgio
Linda Henry
Robert Mrozowski
January Nordman
Visual Design/Digital Background Painting
Karen DeJong
Allen Gonzales
Eric S. McLean
Additional Supervision
Dennis Blake
Ken Brain
Mark Lasoff
Mary Jane Turner
Digital 2D Paint/Roto Supervisor
Sandy Houston
Digital 2D Paint/Roto Artists
Jacqueline Allard
Elissa Bello
Marcus Y. Carter
Christine W. Cram
Doug Cram
Lisa A. Fisher
Kent Gordon
Alexander Linger
Stacie Manning
Jennifer E. Murray
Dolores Pope
Barbara C. Reed
Lucy Green Taylor
Additional Digital Background Painters
Judith Bell
Robert Mrozowski
Associate Editor
Mark Hester
Art Director
Cristy Maltese
Set Decorator
1st Unit:
Jeffery Gann McManus
Main Title
The Picture Mill
Josie Aiello
Alexandra Brown
Lynn Davis
Jim Gilstrap
Dorian Holley
Phillip Ingram
Kudisan Kai
Christine Lafond
Darryl Phinnessee
Louis Price
Lisbeth Scott
Oren Waters
Yvonne Williams
Score Conductor
Pete Anthony
Choir Conductors
Paul Salamunovich
Lebo M.
Brad Dechter
Jeff Atmajian
James Newton Howard
Additional Vocal Arrangements
Lebo M.
Executive Music Producer
Chris Montan
Electronic Score Producer
J.T. Hill
Director of Music Production
Andrew Page
Music Production Manager
Tom MacDougall
Music Production Co-ordinator
Deniece LaRocca
Supervising Music Editor
Jim Weidman
Music Editor
David Olson
Score Recorder/Mixer
Shawn Murphy
Additional Engineering
Bill Schnee
Sound Designer/Supervisor
Christopher Boyes
Additional Field Recording
Kathy Turko
Additional Dialogue Recorder
Vince Caro
Brian Riordan
Bruce Bell
Re-recording Mixers
Terry Porter
Mel Metcalfe
Dean A. Zupancic
Christopher Boyes
Original Dialogue Mixer
Doc Kane
Dubbing Recordist
Judy Nord
Supervising Sound Editor
Frank Eulner
Sound Effects Editors
Ethan Van Der Ryn
Scott Guitteau
Andrea Gard
ADR Supervisor
Michele Perrone
Dennie Thorpe
Jana Vance
Frank Merel
Tony Eckert
Jim Likowski
Joanna Laurent
John Verbeck
Voice Cast
D.B. Sweeney
Alfre Woodard
Ossie Davis
Max Casella
Hayden Panettiere
Samuel E. Wright
Julianna Margulies
Peter Siragusa
Joan Plowright
Della Reese
Matt Adler
Sandina Bailolape
Edie Lehmann Boddicker
Zachary Bostrom
Catherine Cavadini
Holly Dorff
Greg Finley
Jeff Fischer
Barbara Iley
David Allen Kramer
Susan Stevens Logan
David McCharen
Tracy Metro
Daran Norris
Bobbi Page
Noreen Reardon
Chelsea Russo
Evan Sabara
Aaron Spann
Melanie Spore
Andrea Taylor
John Walcutt
Camille Winbush
Billy West
additional voices
Buena Vista International (UK)
7,382 feet
82 minutes 2 seconds
Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS
In Colour
Prints by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011