In days long past, watching the double-feature or late-night UHF, kids had to find it within themselves to wait and wait for a glimpse of the monster. Now, with something like Dinotasia, a new computer-animated kinda/sorta nature-doc-like thing narrated by Werner Herzog, kids get full-on dino neck-snapping action within the first minutes. And the end of the world, courtesy of (spoiler!) that one asteroid. And the bones of a real-world T. rex skeleton growing CGI flesh and then tearing from their museum moorings to stomp and howl and generally be awesome. That flourish aside, most of Dinotasia concerns life millions of years back, with brawling, PG-brutal vignettes based on incidents that the writers have based on scientists’ speculation about what might have happened to actual individual dinosaurs. These dinos fight and suffer and poop and, discreetly, copulate, and some are treated to action-movie deaths that suggest the fossil records these scenes are drawn from might have been punched up by Hollywood. Some dinos have feathers, all are more colorfully birdlike than Spielberg’s were, and if they’re never fully convincing as photo-realistic figures, they’re certainly as much good gory fun to watch as any old-school monster kids had to stick with dreary first acts to see. There are no words, other than occasional strained and sleepy pronouncements from Herzog, and the ending is never in doubt: That asteroid is bearing down, and there ain’t a dino Bruce Willis in sight.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 24, 2012