This is Ron Salfen, “At The
Movies,” and here’s my commentary on a film now showing at the Majestic
Dawn Of The Dinosaurs” is a computer-graphic animation movie
featuring some well-known voice talents, like Ray Romano and Queen Latifah. It
sounds a bit ungrateful to complain when they go to all this effort to
produce a movie that’s suitable for all ages, that contains nothing
objectionable for children, and strives to emphasize positive qualities like
caring for each other, accepting individual differences, and never
abandoning your friends, especially if they might be in danger.
We should be rooting for a film like this, right?
Well, yes, we ought to be recommending it without reservation.
But to be honest, it’s not perfect.
Though the animation is quite professional, the weird creatures
intended as heroes don’t seem to resemble anything in nature as we know
it. True, saber-tooth tigers
and mastodons are extinct, as are dinosaurs, and I’m not even going to get
picky about how historically they were of different eras (whoops, I just
did). They all seem to be
trying so desperately hard to be cute, that it comes across as cloying, like
they’re trying to force a laugh by just being silly.
And it just feels like they’re trying too hard.
The plot is about a sloth adopting some dinosaur eggs, somehow not
understanding how the cute little tyrannosaurus chicks could be naturally
carnivorous. An angry Momma
t-rex is understandably not happy with the kidnapping of her offspring, but
in the end she apparently decides that the sloth would make a better mascot
than a snack. The sloth’s
buddies are all trying to rescue him from the parallel world existing below
the ice at their feet, and we’re supposed to enjoy both their eventual
success and their intervening adventures.
But the whole effort just seems sort of listless.
In order for animation to succeed in capturing the imagination, the
story has to be really compelling, and this one, alas, is not.
It won’t hurt you any. But
it won’t excite or amaze or impress or plumb the depth of your emotions,
either. Like cold popcorn and
warm cola, just kinda blah.
This is Ron Salfen, “At the
Movies,” for 93-5 KICK-FM