Dinosaur appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A product of the format’s early months, this became a shockingly unattractive image.
Softness, thy name is Dinosaur! Despite a source that should offer a rock-solid presentation, definition tended to appear persistently iffy and fuzzy.
While the occasional fairly precise emerged, the majority of the film looked soft and dull. Little detail cropped up in this hazy presentation.
No shimmering occurred, but edges could seem a little rough, and edge haloes popped up at times. Though I detected no source flaws, the image came with artifacts that gave it a moderately crude impression.
Colors fared better but still seemed bland. The movie opted for a fairly natural palette but the hues never seemed any more than mediocre, as they lacked the necessary vivacity.
Blacks were reasonably dark, while shadows showed acceptable clarity. At worst, this should’ve been a “B+” presentation, but the rampant softness left it as a “D+”.
At least the movie’s PCM 5.1 soundtrack proved more satisfactory, one that favored the forward spectrum but nonetheless offered a broad and engaging surround presence as well. In the front, music and effects blended nicely to create a vivid impression.
Sounds moved nicely between channels and a realistic impression was created. The rears added good reinforcement of the music and also provided appropriate split surround effects when necessary.
To be frank, the track probably could have been more active during a number of scenes, as the chaos of the meteor shower or various stampedes didn’t have the impact they could have shown. Nonetheless, the sound presence seemed strong.
Audio quality also appeared very good. Dialogue sounded clear and warm, with no overt problems like edginess or concerns related to intelligibility.
Effects seemed clean and realistic, though they occasionally lacked substantial heft, with pretty good range. Music appeared bright and smooth, with nice clarity in the highs and good depth to the low end. Ultimately, the soundtrack to Dinosaur offered a nicely involving experience.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2000? The lossless audio boasted a bit more impact and range when compared to the DVD’s lossy material.
Don’t expect a real upgrade from the Blu-ray’s visuals, though. Due to the format’s capabilities, the BD showed slightly superior definition and colors, but these improvements were marginal at best. The movie desperately needs to be remastered.
Only a few of the prior release’s extras carry over here, and we open with an audio commentary from directors Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag, special effects supervisor Neil Krepela and digital effects supervisor Neil Eskuri. They discuss story and characters, cast and performances, design choices, music, animation and related domains.
Expect a good but not great commentary, as the chat tends to feel slightly flat at times, mainly as it digs into the technical side of the production. Still, we get a decent view of the flick, even if the track never quite ignites.
With Origins, we get a six-minute, 12-second short film. It offers nature photography and offers some impressive cinematography.
Unfortunately, like Dinosaur itself, “Origins” suffers from subpar reproduction, so its visual splendor loses impact. Still, it’s nice to see, even with the iffy picture quality.
Taken from the old DVD, The Monster Cloud runs four minutes, 10 seconds and includes comments from Krepela, Eskuri, co-producer Baker Bloodworth, producer Pam Marsden, visual effects supervisor Terry Moews, Vision Crew Unlimited’s Evan Jacobs, 1st unit DP Steven Douglas Smith, Disney Feature Animation president Thomas Schumacher, and effects compositing supervisor Jim Hillin.
They offer some insights as to the work involved with one of the film’s bigger scenes. Though brief, “Cloud” comes with good notes.
A staple of early Disney Blu-rays, Movie Showcase offers a shortcut to three of the movie’s action sequences. It’s a waste of time.
The 2000 2-disc release came packed with extras, and we lose most of those. However, the included DVD copy restores a few of those elements. (Unless noted otherwise, no time codes appear for these.)
Building a Better Dinosaur features Leighton, Hillin, Bloodworth, Zondag, Schumacher, Marsden, supervising animators Eamonn Butler, Michael Belzer, Joel Fletcher, Dick Zondag and Mark Anthony Austin, and model development supervisor Sean Phillips.
“Better” tells us a little about the design and animation of the movie’s dinosaurs. It offers a few insights but feels pretty fluffy.
Next comes Sound Design, a featurette with comments from Bloodworth, sound designer/sound supervisor Christopher Boyes, and foley artists Jana Vance and Dennie Thorpe.
As expected, this piece covers various aspects of the movie’s audio. It becomes a brief but fun look at the topic.
Where in the World Are We? includes Marsden, Krepela, Schumacher, Bloodworth, Eskuri, art director Cristy Maltese, and workbook supervisor David Womersley.
“World” examines locations and how the production blended CG characters with real photography. It comes with a few nuggets but seems superficial.
Aladar’s Adventure offers a limp game experience. You have to guide our hero through a variety of “find some stuff” and “move some stuff” activities that rely on nothing more than trial and error. There’s no way to detect where to go other than just by working through the options.
Especially annoying was the “move the rocks” game that closes the “Adventure”. You have to go through two “stone walls”, and if you get past the first but mess up on the second, you return to square one and have to repeat the first pile.
Boy, did that get old quickly! Visually, the game provides some nice animation, but that’s about all it has to offer. Had it come through with a nice reward at the end, it might have been more fun, but as it stands, it’s a dud.
Dinosearch offers another game. You search around for pieces of one of three dinos to bring them to life. This is just a “pixel hunt” contest that has you scan the screen for different body parts.
Once you’ve got them all, you’re “treated” to a tiny “turnaround” of the dinosaur in question. It’s no more fun than “Aladar’s Adventure”, but at least it was infinitely less frustrating.
The Dinopedia features basic information about the era in which Dinosaur takes place and other aspects of dino life. We hear some basics about parenting skills and extinction plus minor details about each of the dino species found in the movie. The seven-minute, 31-second program is a nice little introduction for kids and others.
The DVD opens with promos for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure, and 102 Dalmatians. We also find the trailer for Dinosaur.
As an early computer animated feature film, Dinosaur came with technical strengths. As a narrative tale, it turns into a snore. The Blu-ray brings excellent audio and generally interesting bonus materials but picture quality stinks. The movie needs an upgrade.