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Member Name: Gromit
Date: 29/01/01, updated on 15/02/01 (114 review reads)
Advantages: Brilliant transfer, superb range of extras
Disadvantages: Err, none!
Dinosaur has just been released as a region 1 DVD. If you have a machine capable of playing films from any region, then this is the one to go for. I will explain more about why a little later on. As is becoming standard with Disney’s better releases you have the choice of two versions to buy.
The standard version has just one disc and many extras but for a little extra money you can also buy the 2-disc Collector’s Edition. This is the version I bought and it is stuffed with extras and will be the subject of this review. You can then decide which version you would prefer to buy. You will see this is a bit of a long review but that's just because of how much is on these discs!
Synopsis of film
Before I move on to the DVD it may be helpful to just recap on the story. The opening sequence of the film is one of the most breathtaking animations ever done and shows how an egg is stolen and eventually seized by a Pterodactyl. Eventually the egg is dropped into a forest and hatches into a young dinosaur (an Iguanadon) called Aladar. He is raised by a family of Lemurs on an island. They then witness a huge meteorite hitting the earth and the resulting shock waves and tidal waves destroy their island. Forced into exile they meet up with a herd of dinosaurs heading towards their ‘nesting grounds’. Aladar and the lemurs team up with the stragglers trying to keep up with the herd and thereby avoiding the fearsome Carnosaurs.
It has to be said that the storyline at this point closely resembles Littlefoot looking for the Great Valley in The Land Before Time. A bit of a shame but all of that can be forgiven with this DVD release. There are plenty of other reviews on the theatrical release on dooyoo. I saw the fi
lm in the cinema and wrote a review about it on dooyoo. In my opinion though, this film works infinitely better on my widescreen TV.
Well, just where do you start with this. The disc just contains so much that it’s almost bewildering. So, as they say, let’s start at the beginning. Your first glimpse of getting near the film is when you get to the main menu. Here you are greeted with a dinosaur footprint and inside the footprint the opening scenes of the film are playing. You have music playing and even some fronds are swaying in a breeze. It really is a great start. And it just gets better. On the main menu you have 5 options:
 Chapter Selection: Selecting this option allows you to choose which chapters you want to watch or start from. There are 27 including the end credits.
 Bonus Material: Selecting this option brings you to a nice little underwater feature with plants drifting to the water flow. This allows you access to a range of additional features:
Film Fact Fossil Dig: This is a neat little option to select that places a fossil icon on your TV screen (as used in The Matrix with the Follow the White Rabbit) whenever some “behind the scenes” information is available. These may be deleted scenes or interesting background information. If you don’t want to have the icon appear (it does get slightly annoying if you just want to watch the film) but just want to see all behind the scenes information, this option can also be selected. In fact, there are 14 of these features so this is my preferred way of seeing them. The 14 are: 3D Workbook Opening Sequence (I find it hard to believe this is how they start when you look at the final result); Lemur Live Action Reference; Live Action Shoot – The Ritual Tree; Progression Reel – The Meteor Strikes; Dinosaur Models; Deleted Scenes – Scavengers; Scene Including Different Light; Deleted Scene – Eema Gives Up; Sto
ryboard to Film comparison; Deleted Scene – Neera Saves the Dinosaurs; The Cave Miniature Set; Foley Sound Effects Demonstration; Alternate Ending.
Aladar’s Adventure: Here you can play a game, which is a bit scary in places. There are three parts to the game. The first is for Aladar to wander around the caves and find his three friends. But watch out! There is a Carnotaur in there as well. The second is to find three locations for water – watch you don’t fall down the hole though. Sadly I’ve not yet got beyond this point and I suspect there may be a slight bug in the game :( I know the third part is to locate the nesting grounds.
Dino Search: Another game to find three dinosaurs subtly hidden in a picture.
Dinopedia: Here you can select from images of different dinosaurs that appear in the film. There is some interesting background information tucked away here. You get to find out that Lemurs are believed to have originated in the late Cretaceous period, the time location of the film. In fact, it is thought they appeared about 100 to 65 million years ago.
Special Audio Features: You can select from three features: (a) commentary by directors Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag, along with visual effects supervisor Neil Krepela and digital effects supervisor Neil Eskuri; (b) Producer Pam Marsten hosts a panel of production team members; (c) an isolated sound effects only track – no music, no words, just the effects.
DVD ROM Features: Not explored these yet!
 Set Up: Selecting this option shows you a nice forest scene with leaves gently falling and also gives you the following choices:
Spoken Languages: On my Canadian region 1 you can choose English (DTS), English or French. Selecting the English (DTS) brings up a short message to remind the user that they must have a DTS compatible system.
Captions: On or off.
DTS 5.1: Select your preferred sound pres
Theatrevision for the visually impaired (English): select on or off.
Return to film
Back to Main Menu
 Play: Selecting this option starts the film. This is the easy one to select!
 Sneak Peaks: Selecting this option presents you with a still scene looking out over the ocean but gives you the chance to look at some forthcoming releases. These include:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Coming to DVD in Autumn 2001.
Disney’s California Adventure: Disney’s new theme park that will be opening in February 2001. It looks pretty good but this is a bit sparse on information.
Atlantis: Disney’s next major film release is an animation about the lost city of Atlantis. It is scheduled to open in June 2001 in the USA. Perhaps we’ll get to see it by Christmas. Expect it on region 1 DVD by early 2002!
Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (I’m a bit lukewarm about this)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II: (Lukewarm about this one too!)
Disney’s Interactive Atlantis Prequel: The game arriving in Spring 2001
Back to Main Menu
Now THAT was just one disc! It is truly an awesome package. But the Collector’s Edition has 2 discs but if you don’t want the extra information you will still get an absolute stunner though you should check that you would actually get everything that is on this disc. You may not!
One of the fascinating facts I found on the disc was that Disney is the largest holder of Potassium. They use it for explosions but one day they got a call from the government asking why they had so much of the stuff! They were then told how extremely dangerous Potassium was and has since cut down on its use quite a bit.
You may find this hard to believe but there are another 2 hours and 58 minutes of information on this disc. I guess this disc is really for enthusiasts
and other oddballs (like me). The disc is split into:
Creating the Characters
The Production Process
Music and Sound
I won’t go into any more detail other than to say that this disc contains a wealth of information.
This is a film that contains so many innovations and utilises everything from live action, to painting to digital effects. This is the DVD that has now set the new benchmark in DVD quality – both in picture quality and in content. If you don’t have a DVD player then you are missing so much and if you do have one – then you MUST have this DVD. It is THX certified with a widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1 presentation. The film is rated PG and parents of very young children be warned – some of the scenes are quite scary. This is most definitely NOT your usual Disney cuddly dinosaur fare. These things bite and kill and are VERY realistic.
The UK release date for this film is 26th March 2001. I mentioned earlier that the region 1 version would probably be better. The reason I state that is, apart from the fact that the region 2 version is released two months later, because we will probably lose the DTS soundtrack and it is rumoured some other features may go, like the isolated sound effects track. Okay, perhaps you can live without them but why do we have to lose them? At the moment, the special features have not been confirmed on the region 2 release but I bet some will be lost in comparison to the region 1 version. The single disc version will probably have fewer features but it will contain a 4:3 TV transfer. Amazon (UK) is currently offering the 2-disc set as a pre-order for £19.99 and the single disc version for £18.99. You may even find other suppliers offering it for slightly less. Now which one will you choose?
# Update: Just thought I'd mentioned that play247 have them on pre-order for £16.99 and £17.99 with free deliv
ery. No mention yet about the extras on the UK release.