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Western Animation / Dinosaur

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"It's your choice, not your fate."

Aladar: Look, Neera. We watch out for each other, and we all stand a chance of getting to your Nesting Grounds.
Neera: You sound so sure.
Aladar: I'm not, but it's all I know.

Dinosaur is the 39th entry in the Disney Animated Canon, released in 2000. It is an extremely unique case for the canon, particularly for the time period it was released in, as it is a hybrid of live-action photography for its settings, and CGI animation for its characters, special effects, and whatnot.

The hero is Aladar, an Iguanodon. His egg was separated from his family through a very convoluted turn of events, and made its way to an island. There, he was found by a family of lemurs, who adopt him when he is born (although the patriarch lemur opposes initially). Time passes offscreen and afterwards we see the adult Aladar living care-free with the primates in the island.

Sadly, a meteor strike destroys the island and Aladar and his adoptive family are forced to escape to the mainland. Once there, the main plot kicks in and they join a herd of similarly displaced animals who are migrating through the vast, trackless desert with treacherous terrain and desperate, starving predators. They are seeking literally greener pastures, a valley known as the Nesting Grounds, which is apparently the only fertile land left untouched by the meteor. The herd is led by Kron, an old, hard-assed Iguanodon — the first member of his own species Aladar has ever met — who insists that everyone follow his orders even if it kills them all. He refuses to make concessions for the oldest and youngest members of the herd, an issue that he and Aladar especially lock horns thumbspikes over. Eventually, Aladar's compassionate ways begin to transform the lives of those around him, and he may be what the herd needs to reach the Nesting Grounds and a better future.

Not to be confused with Dinosaurs or with the similarly-titled documentary Dinosaur!.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several of these occur after the main plot kicks in, but the most meaningful is in the cave between Plio and the wounded Bruton.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Kron wasn't exactly a villain (just very selfish and completely stubborn), but despite everything her brother had done, Neera is deeply saddened by Kron dying of his injuries from the final confrontation with the Carnotaur.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Url the Ankylosaurus, which definitely raises some questions why he's a dog, but all the other dinosaurs are demonstratively people.
  • All-Loving Hero: Aladar goes out of his way to help older and weaker dinosaurs, distinguishing himself from Kron.
  • Alternate Animal Affection: Aladar and Neera crossing their necks.
  • Anachronism Stew: And among the main characters, Iguanodon was from the Early Cretaceous, Brachiosaurus was from the Late Jurassic, Styracosaurus was from the Late Cretaceous, and lemurs did not evolve until the Paleogene (and the characters' designs are based on modern lemurs).
    • That said, it’s worth noting that a large majority of the animals featured in the film (Styracosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Carnotaurus, Struthiomimus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Velociraptor, Oviraptor, Pteranodon, etc.) stem from the Late Cretaceous, circa 85 to 66 mya.
    • The lizard the baby Parasaurolophus chases in the prologue is based on Longisquama, which predates every other animal in the film by nearly a hundred million years, living in the Mid Triassic.
    • Eric Leighton, one of the directors, basically admitted to this. He spoke about his team "want[ing] to learn as much about dinosaurs as possible", he also admitted that they would "cheat like hell" because they were not creating a documentary. A Disney press kit revealed that the film "intentionally veers from scientific fact in certain aspects".
  • Anachronistic Animal: Dinosaur takes place in the age of dinosaurs, but the protagonist Aladar's mammalian surrogate family look like modern sifaka lemurs. Although the earliest primates did evolve before the K-T extinction, they almost certainly didn't look like their modern descendants.
  • Animals Not to Scale:
    • Crossed with Rule of Scary. In real life, Carnotaurus was about the same size as the average Iguanodon (if not in fact slightly smaller). They're scaled up to the size of a T. rex in the film so as to appear more threatening. Averted nicely with the Velociraptors, though, which are appropriately small.
    • Url the Ankylosaurus is depicted as a relatively small dinosaur, being much smaller than both Eema the Styracosaurus and Aladar the Iguanodon, making him seem more dog-like in comparison to them. In reality, Ankylosaurus was actually bigger than both of them; if anything, the size difference between Eema and Url should've been reversed.
  • Anyone Can Die: Almost the entire lemur clan, several generic herd members (including the entire species of Brachiosaurus, except Baylene), Bruton, Kron, and the Carnotaurs.
  • Apocalypse Wow: As scary as it is, the meteor impact looks spectacular. It starts with a rain of colorful fragments from the much larger object and hauntingly, scarily beautiful music as the main meteor comes into view, crescendoing as it hits the ocean so far in the distance that you can't even hear the impact. All the clouds that filled the sky before are instantly blown away as it creates a blinding flash of light and what could easily be mistaken for the result of a nuclear detonation. Everything goes quiet for a few seconds, and then finally they feel the shockwaves from the impact and all hell breaks loose.
  • Artistic License – Geology: A meteor that size would have not only vaporized everything within 20 miles, but caused waves 100 meters high, set the entire world on fire, and would have started a winter that would have lasted a decade — not to mention flash-fried everything from that distance with 200-700 mph winds at 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Artistic License Palaeontology:
    • The Iguanodon beaks were covered in fleshy lips in order to animate the animals' speech better, though they can still be seen underneath at times. No ornithopod dinosaur known to science had facial features like this. It's particularly ridiculous given that Eema, a Styracosaurus, clearly has an accurate lipless beak, but her speech and mouth-syncing to her dialogue, as well as her capacity to emote, is not hampered in any way.
    • In Real Life, Carnotaurus was about the same size as Iguanodon, so the dramatically oversized ones in the movie - about the same size as Tyrannosaurus rex, which was originally considered to be the antagonist species - can be chalked up to a combination of Rule of Scary and Rule of Cool. They're also present in North America even though the genus is from South America; while this is at least lampshaded with the characters noting that they haven't come as far north before as they do in the movie, it's still a Voodoo Shark of sorts because the two continents were still separated by ocean until the Great American Interchange of the Pliocene, long after the non-avian dinosaurs became extinct.
    • Kron and Bruton are supposed to be Iguanodon, but possess prominent bony nasal crests that more closely resemble Muttaburrasaurus, Altirhinus, or even Gideon Mantell's inaccurate Iguanodon that placed the thumb spike as a rhino-like nose horn.
    • The Oviraptor are portrayed as egg-thieves, much like what their name implies. However, this in fact is a misnomer: the first Oviraptor fossil described was thought to be raiding a Protoceratops nest, and its beak was even believed to be designed for cracking eggshells. However, after it was discovered that the eggs actually contained Oviraptor embryos, it became evident that the Oviraptor was actually brooding its own nest, and that the beak was more suited for an omnivorous diet consisting of plants, hard-shelled invertebrates and small animals. Though it is possible they did eat eggs from time to time, it likely wasn’t their main food source. Additionally, the Oviraptor's design actually based on its close relative Citipati, having a large crest distinct to that species.
    • The lizard-like Longisquama is portrayed not just as a glider, but as an active flyer that flew by flapping its sails. The gliding hypothesis was discredited long since, with the tall spines now believed to be used for display and arranged in a single row, much like a Dimetrodon's sail instead of two "wings". It's also portrayed as chameleon-like, with a long tongue and independently pivoting eyes, which are both purely speculative features.
    • While the Iguanodon are correctly depicted as quadrupedal, they run on all fours rather than on their hindlimbs. Meanwhile, the adult Parasaurolophus are depicted as bipedal, which gets jarring in that the juveniles are correctly depicted as quadrupeds.
    • The Pteranodon (the species depicted in the film is generally considered to be Geosternbergia nowadays) is shown fishing up Aladar's egg in a river despite pteranodontids being widely known as seagoing and piscivorous. Both the adult and its chicks are also depicted with large male crests; in such a sexually dimorphic animal, where the male is much larger than the female, the female is almost always the one that cares for the young (although parental care in pterosaurs has subsequently been found to be dubious) while the chicks having big crests is as silly as a fawn being born with fully-formed antlers.
    • Aladar as a hatchling and the baby Iguanodon at the end both pee upon being picked up. Dinosaurs are reptiles and probably did not have liquid urine similar to modern birds and reptiles.
  • Ascended Extra: The Pteranodon who's only present in the intro of the movie is part of the main cast in the PS1 game.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Can Somebody Tell Me Who I Am" by Orange Blue. Although included on the soundtrack album in Germany, the film itself (unusually for Disney) has no songs at all.
  • Babies Ever After: The film ends with the births of Aladar and Neera's offspring, as well as every other parent dinosaur who made it to the Nesting Grounds.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Overlaps with Obviously Evil. Kron and Bruton have huge nasal horns, cruddy thumb-spikes, and look like they have been through a lot, but Aladar and Neera completely lack these features. It may be partially justified since the former are much older than the latter, as well as the idea that they've obviously been in more fights. This ends up being subverted as both Kron and Bruton are not evil and the latter even fully repents when treated with decency by Aladar and his family.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The reason why Bruton becomes loyal to Aladar and his family, and sacrifices his life to save them.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Kron, who is stubbornly (though unwittingly) leading the herd to their deaths and the pair of Carnotaurs tracking the herd throughout their journey.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Neera pulls this when Kron gains the upper hand against Aladar and is about to kill him. Even Kron gets shocked by this.
    • A deleted scene shows Kron rescuing Neera and the two orphans from the raptors before telling that they might not be so lucky next time.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Url isn't a dog, but behaves like one enough for this trope to apply.
  • Big "NO!": Aladar shouts it two times.
  • Bloodless Carnage: When the Carnotaurus stomps on the nest of eggs in the prologue, there's no smashed dino embryos, splattering fluids, or even yolks, despite the fact Aladar was only hours away from hatching at most, so all the other fetuses should have also been fully formed as well.
  • Blue Is Heroic: The main protagonist, Aladar, has faded blue skin to denote his status as the hero.
  • Book Ends: The beginning and end of the movie mirror each other in the arrangement of the nest, the view from inside the broken eggshell, and Yar's Urine Trouble problems with baby iguanodons.
  • Break the Cutie: Suri helplessly crying out across the water to the island. She's so young that she's almost definitely never lost someone she loved before. And now... well... they're all gone. Nobody has to explain to her what it means when they don't get an answer; she knows.
  • Central Theme: Hope and Teamwork, the key elements our protagonists uses to survive.
  • Citywide Evacuation: There's a huge falling meteor strike the island home of Aladar and the lemurs, and they narrowly survive the impact blast wave, and swim the channel to the mainland.
  • Clean, Pretty Childbirth: The film has the baby dinosaurs hatching clean. Nobody knows for sure about dinosaurs, but modern reptiles and birds are usually wet and have some residue from being in the egg, until they're able to dry off. A little bit of residue is seen oozing when Plio opens Aladar's egg at the beginning of the film.
  • Cool Old Lady: Yar, Eema and Baylene.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Aladar crashes into Love Interest Neera this way. Except it doesn't stop, and he continues to crash into the rest of the herd, one by one.
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: An odd subversion. It's a movie about dinosaurs where the plot is kicked off by a meteor strike, but it's not the big one: its damage is confined to a relatively small area, and the dinosaurs manage to survive by migrating en masse to the nearest fertile area. It should probably be noted that meteor strikes (let along ones big enough to cause real environmental damage) weren't a regular occurrence in the Cretaceous period: they were just as rare then as they are today.
  • Crossing the Desert: A scene in the middle of the film has Kron leading the herd on a lengthy trek across the desert to a lake. The going is pretty tough, with several members of the herd succumbing to exhaustion, heat, and dehydration. Even the young, fit Aladar has a hard time, especially since he has to keep the elderly, weak Eema and Baylene moving. The only ones who show no sign of exhaustion are Kron and Bruton themselves.
  • Crotch-Glance Sex Check: Yar does this to Aladar and later the latter's son, both peeing on him.
  • Darker and Edgier: Than a lot of Disney fare. You could imagine how surprised Disney fans felt when a movie such as this was produced by the very animation studio that was primarily known for their whimsical animated musicals at the time. The film features several Family Unfriendly Deaths, themes of starvation, dehydration, hopelessness, numerous off-screen deaths (like the entire Brachiosaur species, for one) and is pretty much a Disney post-apocalyptic story. The antagonists are very realistic villains too: the Carnotaurs and the raptors are just predators desperate for food who only attack the stragglers/fallen members of the herd; while Kron genuinely wants to save the herd and his little sister even if he's doing it the wrong way, making him multi-dimensional. There's also a scene where Eema goes into the lake bed and looks fully prepared to die, unable to carry on.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eema and Zini, but expecially Eema. Aladar has a few moments too.
    Aladar: Yeah that's right, keep pushing and shoving! That's very helpful!
  • Death of a Child: There are initially countless baby dinosaurs seen in the herd, but by the end of the film, there's only a handful left after the long journey. This also applies to every young lemur who didn't survive the meteor strike.
  • Doomed Home Island: Lemur Island is destroyed by the end of the first act, forcing Aladar and his family to flee to the mainland.
  • Doomed Hurt Guy: Bruton is gravely injured by the carnotaurs, but survives long enough to join with Aladar and the other stragglers, and ends up redeeming himself by sacrificing himself to bury the carnotaurs in a rockslide.
  • The Dragon: Bruton is Kron's anti-villainous second-in-command.
  • Driven to Madness: Throughout the film, the carnotaurs never attack the herd, instead following at a distance. They only eat animals that have died in the journey and were left behind, or kill those who wander away from the herd or lag behind. However, after one of the carnotaurs dies in a cave-in, the survivor is next seen actually attacking the entire herd, against which it would never stand a chance in a fight. Think about it: the two carnotaurs were never seen apart, and worked together despite all the hardships and trials they were going through. They appeared to really care about one another. The carnotaur that died in the cave-in was the other one's mate, the only living thing left that it cared about. It attacks the whole herd knowing it can't win. When it sees Kron, the herd's leader, on his own, it charges him up the perilous cliff, and when Aladar and Neera attack it and force it off the cliff face, it doesn't try to save itself, it tries to drag Aladar down with it.
  • *Drool* Hello: The young Parasaurolophus first encounters the Carnotaur in the opening this way.
  • Disney Villain Death: Played straight with one of the Carnotaurs (the one that's the Big Bad, that is).
  • Dumb Dinos: The herbivores are sapient, but none of the carnivores show the ability to talk and seem more instinct-driven. Even the herbivores suffer from a self-destructive social Darwinism that only Aladar, raised by the lemurs, lacks (at first).
  • Empathic Environment: The storm during the whole cave scene.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Kron with Neera. He shows genuine sadness when she protects Aladar from him. Additionally, the two Carnotaurs appear to be a mated couple.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: The meteor strike in the first act of the film goes off like a nuclear blast, even accompanied by a blinding flash. There is a notable lack of tsunami waves, with a firey blastwave incinerating the island instead as if the meteor detonated above the ocean even though it does crash into the waters. However, volcano-like activity still springs forth from ground zero despite lack of said waves.
  • Evil Egg Eater: In the prologue, Aladar's egg narrowly survives being crushed by a Carnotaurus' foot, but then is stolen by an Oviraptor. In keeping with its name, it's portrayed as shifty and sneaky, speaking only in croaks and gurgles. But before it can eat Aladar's egg, another Oviraptor tries to take it from them, turning into a fight that results in the egg being dropped into a river.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Several members of the herd die of exhaustion, dehydration, heat, or a combination of the three. Eema almost suffers this fate as well before Aladar and Baylene find some water.
    • The lemur population of Lemur Island (besides Aladar and his family) are completely wiped out when the shockwaves from the meteor strike destroy the island and reduce it to a charred rock. Off-screen, countless dinosaurs of course die in the meteor strike, including every Brachiosaur who's not Baylene.
    • A Carnotaurus, before attacking the nest Aladar's egg is located in, actually mauls a Pachyrhinosaurus to death.
    • One of the Struthiomimus that dies on the migration is eaten by Velociraptors until all that remains is a skeleton with scraps of meat and organs hanging off of it. Later, a Stygimiloch collapses of exhaustion (as seen in a deleted scene), and is devoured by a Carnotaur.
    • The unnamed scout that accompanied Bruton in his search for water gets killed by one of the Carnotaurs, and it gets worse when the predator has a piece of meat on its mouth in the spot where the scout died.
    • At the end, Kron as a result of him not listening to Aladar ends up climbing a dangerous ravine and is mauled to death by the Carnotaurus.
    • Bruton's is even worse. He gets stuck in a cave-in, and struggles to run out while boulders crash down on him. Finally he buried, and Aladar uncovers him only for Bruton to twitch a little, then die. One of the Carnotaurus dies in the same way, and its head can be seen half-buried in the rubble.
    • They cut fairly quickly from the Carnotaur's corpse, but the lighting makes it look like it was ripped in half from the fall.
  • Flaming Meteor: Both the smaller meteors and the single big one seem to be entirely on fire, rather than causing the atmosphere to ignite.
  • Furry Confusion:
    • Url the Ankylosaurus behaves as and is treated like a dog, even panting with his tongue out, wagging his tail, and carrying around a stick. He's the only Ankylosaurus to appear so it's not clear whether they're entirely like that or he's the equivalent of a mentally handicapped dinosaur.
    • The carnivorous dinosaurs are depicted as being entirely vicious, instinct-driven monsters which can only screech and roar. Whether they can talk and simply choose not to isn't made clear, but they savagely attack any herbivore in sight either way.
  • Gentle Giant: Baylene is careful not to trample the tiniest dinosaurs in the herd. Prior to leaving Lemur Island, Aladar is this to the lemur clan.
  • Gilligan Cut: "Look at that sweet little face! Does that look like a monster to you?" Smash cut to terrified shrieking and a demonic bellow as lemurs flee in terror through the jungle pursued by a roaring behemoth. It turns out to just be a game, however.
  • Gut Punch: The Carnotaurus attack in the beginning can be this.
  • A Handful for an Eye: During the climax battle between Kron and Aladar.
  • Happily Adopted: Aladar, though he shows signs of loneliness after the courtship since he cannot find a mate of his own kind.
  • Hate Sink: Kron, though he's not wholly unsympathetic.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: The main characters are all herbivores, and the mean herbivore rivals are only trying to accomplish the greater good.
  • Heroic BSoD: Aladar suffers this after the cave-in, feeling that he had let everyone down. But Baylene scolds him for giving up and joins the others in breaking down the wall, and Aladar (whose spirits were restored) joins them.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Bruton, who causes a cave-in that manages to kill one carnotaur and wound the other.
  • Heroism Motive Speech: Baylene gives Aladar one hell of a speech when he loses hope.
    Baylene: (livid) Oh yes we were! We're here, aren't we?! And how dare you waste that good fortune by simply giving up! For shame! Shame on you, shame on you! And the worst of it allowed an old fool like me to believe I was needed. That I still had a purpose. And do you know what? You were right. And I'm going to go on believing it! I, for one, am not willing to die here!"
  • I'll Kill You!:
    Kron(to Aladar): If you ever interfere again...I'll kill you.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Aladar is an Iguanodon raised by by lemurs.
  • Inverse Law of Sharpness and Accuracy: None of the Iguanodons opt to use their actual thumb spikes. Kron slightly uses his in his fight with Aladar, and only nicks him (with a slash no less). When he does go in for the kill, Neera tackles him. Trying to fight a Carnotaur is done via tail whipping and tackling rather than stabbing it in the neck. Justified in that in order to get close enough to stab the carnotaurs in the neck, they would have to have their heads right in the range of the carnotaur's hungry jaws. Also, an Iguanodon's thumb spike is not nearly long enough to actually kill a theropod the size of the film's carnotaurs. A tail-smack is far less risky and may actually be able to knock a carnotaur over long enough to escape.
  • Jerkass: While played quite straight with the despicable Kron, in Bruton's case it's played with. While Kron is ruthless and domineering, Bruton tends to think and be more flexible. He even tries to appeal to Kron's better nature at times. But after his death Kron is not swayed by anything except a shove from his own sister. After he tries to kill Aladar just for being right when he was wrong. Yeesh.
  • Kick the Dog: Kron does this quite a lot.
    • Violently scaring off the orphans and Aladar's group when he wants the water they've found all to himself, despite the fact that they're all faring worse than he is.
    • Callously leaving behind the elderly dinosaurs and the wounded Bruton in order to slow down the Carnotaurs.
    • Begins violently shoving the orphans to keep climbing when Aladar proposes an alternate path to the Nesting Grounds.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Velociraptors are realistically small and slender, and Aladar and the lemurs are more curious than frightened when they first encounter them. This attitude only changes when Aladar realizes that he's surrounded by about half a dozen of them, and then one first shows its sickle-claws and then opens its mouth and he gets a look at its teeth.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The raptors are the first carnivores that the protagonists encounter in their journey, and possibly the first carnivores any of them have encountered. They are also the first dinosaurs Aladar ever encounters, and their lethal encounter with them scares them into joining the herd to avoid them.
  • Last Fertile Region: The Nesting Grounds, the last place untouched by the meteor.
  • Last of Her Kind: Baylene the Brachiosaurus. Justified in that this is the Cretaceous, and Brachiosaurus vanished during the Jurassic period before. Plio, Yar, Suri, and Zini are the last lemurs of Lemur Island, but find a population native to the Nesting Grounds at the end of the film.
  • Make Way for the New Villains: The Velociraptors are the first antagonists encountered by Aladar, until halfway through the film when the two Carnotaurs introduced scare them off.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!":
    • Aladar and the lemurs shortly before the meteor strike is about to destroy Lemur Island.
    • The herd when they reach the lake they've been migrating to and it's all dried up.
    • Also the herd's reaction when the surviving Carnotaur, starving and berserk with rage, appears, blocking off their only avenue of escape.
  • Meek Mesozoic Mammal: The lemur tribe (which live on a tiny isolated island) is extremely fearful of dinosaurs before adopting Aladar, and evidently dinosaurs do not think much of them either. When Baylene and Eema first notice the lemurs riding on Aladar's back, the two equate them to skin parasites.
  • The Migration: The primary focus of the film, best seen at the midpoint during the desert crossing.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Carnotaurus was only found in South America, yet somehow shows up to hunt a bunch of Northern Hemisphere dinosaurs. However, this is arguably at least lampshaded, as Kron is surprised to hear Carnotaurs attacked Bruton, as 'they never come this far north' — although that doesn't explain how they've managed to cross the sea that separated the two continents at the time. The Koolasuchus (South Pole) and Oviraptor, Talarurus and Velociraptor (Mongolia) seem more out of place on North America.
  • Mood Whiplash: The upbeat and romantic courtship scene is followed by a meteor strike that kills off nearly all of the island's inhabitants, including all the lemurs that just been courting.
  • Morality Pet: Neera is this to her brother.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Aladar, though his separation from his birth family was accidental.
  • Most Writers Are Primates: The reason given as to why there are modern-day lemurs in the movie is because Disney thought people needed something cute and human-like to relate to in a movie about dinosaurs.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The word "dinosaur" is never said by the characters. Carnotaurs are the only dinosaurs referred to by species.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Kron when he flees from the Carnotaur and realizes that the ravine is impossible to climb (just as Aladar had warned him).
    • The surviving Carnotaur's reaction to the entire herd standing their ground and bellowing in defiance at the theropod.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Aladar and the lemurs are forced to do this to escape the nuke-like meteor explosion.
  • The Outside World: While still in the egg, the Iguanodon Aladar gets abducted to the remote island of the lemurs, where he hatches and is adopted. However, a horrific meteor shower obliterates the island, compelling Aladar and his lemur "family" to explore the mainland, just in time for the seasonal dinosaur migration.
  • Parental Bonus: At the end of the film, Zini has found a group of lemurs native to the Nesting Grounds, and many, many young female bachelors who are surrounding him. Zini asks if any of them are up for a game of monkey in the middle, and he gets a huge, enthusiastic response.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Kron and Bruton.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Zini. He is certainly the most comical out of all the characters as almost all of his scenes are comedic in some way.
  • Prehistoria: Critters from Triassic to Recent Period show up, but at least we don't have the stock volcano-filled, hellish landscape for the entire film (it briefly shows up immediately following the meteor impact).
  • Prehistoric Monster: Subverted with the Carnotaurs and raptors. All the other animals either have human-like intelligence or are portrayed in a realistic, docu-like way (albeit Kron's and Bruton's look was modified to make them more menacing). The predators weren't just mean, they were starving to death and desperate. Normally Velociraptors wouldn't attack something Aladar's size, but they were hungry enough to risk getting flattened if it meant they could eat. The Carnotaurs weren't just monsters, either; they were smart enough to only attack dinosaurs that had lagged behind the herd. The one Carnotaur that turns into the Big Bad appears to have been Driven to Madness when its mate is crushed to death and attacks the entire herd.
  • The Promised Land: The Nesting Grounds goes with this as well.
  • Pushed at the Monster: While Aladar knows that staying as a full group would keep the Carnotaur from eating anybody, Kron chooses to allow there to be stragglers under the belief that they would slow down the predators. This belief comes to bite him when the entire herd chooses to follow Aladar in standing together and face the Carnotaur, which then runs past the herd for the lone Kron.
  • Raptor Attack: Was almost made an aversion if it hadn't been for the fact the Velociraptor lack feathers. But then again, Science Marches On.
  • Real Is Brown: Played straight with most dinosaurs, which are generally grey-coloured; averted only with the heroes Aladar and Neera, both have pastel-coloured skins. Baylene has some purple hues to her, while Kron is largely purple and light red. Zini, being the principle kid-appeal character, has bright orange fur.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Bruton, who turns to the heroes' side after being mistreated by Kron and then treated kindly by the heroes. He dies in a Heroic Sacrifice soon after.
  • Red Shirt: When Bruton is ordered to patrol the lake bed for signs of water, he takes a scout Iguanodon with him. The scout doesn't return. He is the only non-main dinosaur character to have dialogue, which contrasts with the rest of the dinosaurs in the herd who cannot speak.
  • Restricted Rescue Operation: Early in the movie there's a meteor strike and Aladar gets the lemurs he can to safety while outrunning the fire. Most of their family is lost. He spends the rest of the movie speaking out in defiance against this trope when Kron wants to leave the slower dinosaurs behind to slow down predators.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • When Bruton and the Iguanodon scout search for signs of water at the dried up lake, they're attacked by the Carnotaurs. The viewer is meant to watch Bruton escape, but in the background, a Carnotaurus can be seen eating the extra Iguanodon, with a chunk of flesh hanging from its jaws.
    • It's very hard to see due to the darkness of the cave, but if you look at the rocks close enough, you can see the corpse of the Carnotaur that Bruton took with him to the afterlife.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Suri. The other young lemurs playing with her are also quite cute.
  • Sacrificial Lamb:
    • The entire population of Lemur Island besides Aladar and his family.
    • A dead Struthiomimus during the desert trek is only on screen for a few minutes at best, but it holds a lot of impact for the characters as Aladar regards it. One, it's a sign of how the herd under Kron's leadership doesn't help each other out when they're down; two, it's proof that Kron is a hard herd driver who has no mercy for his subjects; three, a long look at the panting Baylene and Eema is a clear sign that they could be next; and four, the sight of approaching raptors in the distance is a grim sign of what will happen to Aladar's family if they fall during the journey.
    • The Iguanodon scout that was paired up with Bruton was as Red Shirt as they come when the Carnotaurus attacked them during the search for water.
  • Save the Villain: The true villains might be the Carnotaurs, but Kron still qualifies.
  • Scenery Porn:
  • Social Darwinist: Kron, who constantly says to leave the smallest and weakest dinosaurs that cannot keep up behind.
  • Social Ornithopod: The Iguanodons and Parasaurolophuses are shown to be social dinosaurs that are always moving in groups with each other.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring":
    Zini: Okay, okay, let's do it again. I spy with my little eye—
    Yar: (flatly) A rock.
    Zini: You got it again! Ooh, you are good!
  • Species Title: Played with. Although named in the singular, the movie is about dinosaurs in the plural.
  • Square-Cube Law: While an animal Baylene's size shouldn't be able to jump like she did into the lake at the Nesting Grounds, it's arguable if she 'jumped' or just reared up to dramatically lengthen a single stride so she could send up a wave at Zini.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Averted with the Carnotaurs. Their constant hunting is justified by the lack of food in the area, and neither of them go out of their way to hunt only the protagonists. When one of the Carnotaurs is killed, the other does the smart thing and drops the chase. Then later when it's corralled by an entire herd, it backs off in favor of catching the lone Kron.
  • Tail Slap: How the Iguanodons fight. The last Carnotaur picks up on this in its final fight with Aladar and Neera and uses it back on Aladar.
  • Team Spirit: "Stand together!"
    • Awesomely Truth in Television, as this is actually how most large predators react to facing a large group of prey animals, or even just one, that holds its ground and faces them instead of running; big cats, especially, don't attack from the front. So not only is it awesome, it's actually realistic.
  • Thirsty Desert: All the dinosaurs are forced to move across a large desert to reach a watering hole, and by extension, the Nesting Grounds. For the next few days, they have to walk across the sandy terrain for hours in the sweltering heat. This walk takes such a toll on their wellness, Neera directly acknowledges most of the herd would die without drinking water to replenish their thirst.
  • This Cannot Be!: The Carnotaur's reaction to the herd bellowing in defiance at it could best be described as this, as the theropod is reduced to shrieking in rage and frustration as the advancing herd forces it to give ground.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: In the opening when a baby Parasaurolophus comes running out of the forest, screaming bloody murder, the herd looks up at the sound. A Pachyrhinosaurus is seen groaning and slightly recoiling that just screams this.
  • Unusual Animal Alliance: A prehistoric version. The Essential Guide goes into detail that the non-Iguanodon dinosaurs are simply joining up with Kron's herd to get to the Nesting Grounds since it's the last place they can go.
  • Villain Has a Point: Aladar comes to accept that Kron was right in that only the strong will survive - but Aladar puts a twist on it and decides the best way to be strong is to stand together. And Aladar was openly defying and challenging his leadership at the end, which gave him a motive to at minimum face him in combat. Then again, the fact that he was refusing to listen to Aladar's warnings that leading the herd up the landslide would kill them meant that the latter was left with no other choice.
  • The Voiceless: Besides the main cast note  and a scout, the rest of the dinosaurs in the film do not speak.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably Kron, although his behavior verges on Knight Templar.
  • Whateversaurus: When Zini simulates an approach to Neera from Aladar by howling, she snarkily says to the young Iguanodons nearby "That, children, is what is known as Jerkosaurus!" Much later, when Neera approaches Aladar again, he responds to her "I'm Aladar: the... Jerkosaurus", and Neera shows sorrow for having qualified it in that way.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Baylene scolds Aladar for giving up on their quest when the cave-in happens. This is also heartwarming due to Aladar being comforted to hear that he gives the others hope.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Aladar and the lemurs are clearly good, but the dinosaurs forming Kron's herd are rather grey, since they follow the merciless rules of Social Darwinism but are also capable to altruistic acts and (except perhaps Kron) nobody of them seems to be irredeemable (see Bruton, Neera...). The non-talking predators are not black since they do what they do only for mere hunger.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When Neera tries to defend her mortally injured brother from the Carnotaur, the monster, which is at least twice her size and berserk with rage and hunger, easily bats her aside, pins her to the floor and is about seconds from delivering a killing blow when Aladar intervenes.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kron is completely willing to sacrifice Neera's (foster?) children in order to motivate the herd over the unclimbable cliff. He starts out merely not caring if a weak hatchling died in the desert; by the end he's so angry with Aladar that he physically throws the 'little Aladars' off their feet so hard they almost fall off the wall, all while they're crying in distress and Neera is protesting his roughness.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: With Lemur Island destroyed by the meteor strike, Aladar and the surviving lemurs decide to search for a new place to live.

None of us really know what changes big or small lie ahead. But one thing is certain: our journey's not over. We can only hope that, in some small way, our time here will be remembered.

Alternative Title(s): Dinosaur 2000