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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 12.9%
Average: 3.23%
Pretty Bad: 29.03%
Total Crap: 12.9%

1 review, 25 user ratings

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by Scott Weinberg

"Jurassic Junk"
2 stars

What a goofball idea this Dinotopia mini-series was, and itís certainly no better in execution than it was in inception. Sure, you may have a few dino-loving rugrats who could embrace this bloated silliness solely due to the myriad creatures - but woe is any parent whoís forced to sit through this ridiculously plotted and criminally overlong spectacle.

Originally presented over three nights (2 hours each) on network TV, Dinotopia comes to home video on a 2-DVD set, and whaddaya know? The movie runs just under four hours! For those not real fluent in math, Iíll give you the short version: if you watched Dinotopia on television, then you withstood two full hours of TV commercials. Iíd be willing to deal with a lot of advertisements for something of obvious qualityÖbut in the case of Dinotopia... I think the commercials may be a slight improvement.

The lumbering plot centers around David and Karl, two bickering half-brothers who - courtesy of a poorly-photographed plane crash - end up stranded on the titular island. Their first encounter is with a devious scientist called Crabb, who offers them some information and some questionable advice. It seems that our two young heroes have surfaced on a land in which human beings and dinosaurs live together in perfect harmony. Sure, the concept might lend itself well to a novel or a comic strip, but in a movie - itís just ridiculous.

If thatís not enough to have your eyes rolling, just get a load of Dinotopiaís codes: nobody eats meat, nobody owns a weapon, everyone coos nicely, nobody ever disagrees. It would be a sweet idea if it werenít so damn creepy. (And I havenít even gotten to the scenes in which humans and dinos are emotionally linked... just icky.) Subtle socio-political brainwashing aside, nothing in the script for Dinotopia comes close to being worthy of your attention. Sure, thereís heaping helpings of CGI dinosaurs lurking here, there, and everywhere - but I can see that on a Discovery Channel special... and actually learn something in the process!

The acting is uniformly TV quality, though generally reliable actor David Thewlis manages to add some entertaining touches to his too-few scenes. Katie Carr (as Dinotopiaís lilting princess) brings a fragile paleness to the proceedings the likes of which havenít been seen since Jennifer Beals offered her interpretation of Frankensteinís bride. The two leads offer precisely one emotion apeice: oneís moody, oneís awestruck. Neither are convincing.

I found Dinotopia a painfully trite and wholly silly affair, though thereís no telling how your kids may take to it. The content is certainly family-friendly enough for the wee ones, but Iíd say give it a rental first. Who knows? You could hit the Parentís Jackpot: if your kids end up enjoying this mammoth affair, you just got a babysitter who works in four-hour blocks. Four hours!

If youíve got kids who want to sift through some special features after a four-hour movie, then you have some amazingly well behaved children. Either way, Artisan Home Entertainment has packed some rather cool features onto this 2-disc set. (Dare I say the features are more entertaining than the main feature?) There are three behind-the-scenes featurettes: The Making of Dinotopia which is precisely the interview-laden, wait-till-you-see-our-movie puff piece that the title implies, an Interview with Trevor Jones which offers a glimpse at how a lengthy piece of family entertainment is infused with the appropriately majestically soaring music, and a rather cool look at the Storyboards process.

Dino-freaks should enjoy the Dinotopia Encyclopedia, which offers a Travel through Dinotopia map, a wealth of actual Dinosaur Data, and a translation of the Saurian Alphabet used in the movie. One of the coolest features is the 3-D Photo Gallery, which delivers all the dino creatures in rotating 3-D graphics, complete with sounds. Pretty cool. There are a handful of deleted scenes, various trailers for other Hallmark productions, the requisite cast & crew information, and silly little Maze Game, and a handful of DVD-ROM extras.

The 2-star rating is more for the DVD's supplemental features than the actual movie.

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originally posted: 04/30/04 10:17:57
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User Comments

2/17/16 Caitlyn I thought it was amazing, I don't know why you have to be so negative. Its a movie. 5 stars
9/14/15 Bræm.Cråbb A Formidable masterpiece, especially Cyrus Cråbb!!!!! 5 stars
9/17/12 Mr Shit 1 stars
8/05/12 Clark I loved this movie as a kid, and I still LOVE IT! I still wish I had a pet dino! 5 stars
8/04/10 Patrick Zippo deserved to be eaten by the crocodile things. 2 stars
3/10/10 Kevin Its a great movie 5 stars
9/10/08 j. king Saw the movie on DVD and found it very interesting and entertaining. 5 stars
5/27/08 Jenn.m Rented this for my kids and I was disturbed by the cult-like tones of the movie. 2 stars
4/15/08 James Speed Having never read the books, I thought the movie was ok. Entertaining. 4 stars
4/02/08 ronald eck an excellent movie and full entertaining 5 stars
3/03/08 HAM This movie rules! how dare you put it down! 5 stars
5/27/07 action movie fan nothing like jurassic park-long and unsatisfying 2 stars
4/24/07 David Risser Interesting character development. Not your average Jurassic Park rip-off. 4 stars
12/16/06 Booksworm A great movie based on an excellent book.(And I would love to live there,to.) 5 stars
10/16/06 Agz I think the movie was good. I really liked it 4 stars
9/01/06 Mr Bayg I bent over and chewed myself a new aasshole so as to miss the ending. 1 stars
8/30/06 The Real Elvis Wade I've seen it all, an Elvis Wade impersonator 3 stars
7/12/06 Matthew Sutton DinoTopia doesn't suck, You suck Elvis Wade 5 stars
3/28/06 Madi Alvarado it's makes your imagination work.... 4 stars
11/27/05 Elvis Wade the movie sucks butt. end of story. 1 stars
11/10/05 Jordon Stop putting down DinoTopia, it rocks 5 stars
7/09/05 Mark Radburn A Masterpiece. As Good as Jurassic Park , a must-see 5 stars
4/30/05 Steven Brady The movie was unaccurate Robert, nice choice words Assface 5 stars
11/20/04 Mark A Movie that was based on the Dinotopia books Greatest Dinotopia movie ever 5 stars
5/06/04 Robert Jackson I realy love the books, but the movie was totaly unaccurate to them. 1 stars
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Directed by
  Marco Brambilla

Written by
  Simon Moore

  Tyron Leitso
  Wentworth Miller
  David Thewlis
  Katie Carr
  Jim Carter
  Alice Krige

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