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DINOSAUR – James Newton Howard

May 19, 2000 Leave a comment

dinosaurOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

A mammoth majestic effort of immense proportions and great beauty, James Newton Howard’s score for the Disney animated epic Dinosaur is far and away the best work of his career to date. Previously defined by taught, almost themeless thriller and horror works with the odd landmark standout (Waterworld, Wyatt Earp), Dinosaur is highly recommended for anyone who was underwhelmed by The Sixth Sense or bored by Snow Falling on Cedars. It is the James Newton Howard score I have been waiting all my life to hear. As a film, Dinosaur’s themes and messages are rooted in the grand Disney tradition. Right from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, through The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Mulan, the mouse house have continually recycled the old story line chestnuts again and again – an outsider comes to be part of a new community, is initially shunned by the group, but is eventually accepted when he/she/it stands up to an aggressor and proclaims the merits of teamwork, loyalty and understanding. In this case, the outsider is a young dinosaur named Aladar, who is orphaned at birth and raised instead by a family of lemur-like monkeys on a small island. When the island is devastated by a meteor shower, Aladar and the survivors hook up with a group of other dinos who are searching for “The Nesting Grounds”, a mythical place where land and water are bountiful, but who are continually avoiding the deadly carnotaur predators who track their every move. Initially shunned by the herd, Aladar eventually makes friends with Neera, a female, and offers help to three elders who are slowing down the group – and making an enemy of Kron, the leader, in the process. Read more…