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What story? For all the technological breakthroughs, the plot is pure Disney formula (wisecracking comic relief, obligatory romance) set in

the Cretaceous period. Visually captivating but thin in plot, "Dinosaur"

tells the tale of a spunky Iguanadon (voiced by D.B. Sweeney) who joins

a quirky band of dinos on a quest for self-discovery and a new land.


The competent voice cast includes Samuel E. Wright (Sebastian the Crab

from "The Little Mermaid") as the crusty dinosaur leader and Julianna

Margulies (TV's "ER") as the lizard that steals our hero's heart. But

the real credit belongs to the animators who obviously went to great

lengths to create expressive faces on our dino friends. It's a shame

that Disney, who refrained from the routine singsongs and cheesy

ballads, couldn't have exercised more restraint and kept these dinosaurs

silent. It would've been far more thrilling to see these beasts interact

as they may have done millions of years ago, rather than spouting

forgettable quips. James Newton Howard's score provides all the audio



It took five years to create this film, and it shows. Directors Ralph

Zondag and Eric Leighton (supervising animator on "A Nightmare Before

Christmas") deserve high praise for their innovative blend of filmed

settings and CGI wizardry.

Last year's "Toy Story 2" was a party for the peepers, but "Dinosaur"

sets a new standard in the "How'd they do that?" department. Parents

take note: The film's violent dino battles are scarier than the dino

Happy Meal you bought to get the dino toys.

Bottom line

What are the odds that moviegoers will stay away from anything that has

a Disney logo on it?