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The film

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Kron's social Darwinism may be interpreted either as a merciless tyranny or as a careful leadership whose aim is to save most of the herd, sacrificing the weak ones. There's also a Deleted Scene where Kron saves Neera and the orphaned youngsters from raptors, angrily claiming he won't do it a second time. While it was cut, it clearly shows that Kron wasn't entirely evil even if you go with the first interpretation of him. A quite disturbing one; Kron's social Darwinism may have been put in there to show how being raised by the lemurs made Aladar "turn out right." The lemurs are portrayed as caring, empathetic and nurturing of those who are weaker than them, even accepting the reptiles who show Fantastic Racism towards them, whilst the reptiles accept a cruel social Darwinism, with a unempathetic "the strong must survive!" mentality, and show Fantastic Racism towards the "weaker" mammals (calling them ''little parasites"). In essence, the mammals (and those who show mammal mentalities) are heroic and that reptiles are evil. Even though most characters are reptiles, Reptiles Are Abhorrent still applies.
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    • Url, an Ankylosaurus that travels at the back of the pack with the two elder dinosaurs. Is he this world's version of having a pet? Or does Url perhaps suffer from some kind of intellectual disability that causes him to have a hard time keeping up with the pack, and the only reason he hasn't been left behind completely is because Eema knows how to interact with him? He does seem to understand every word the speaking characters say, and used a stalagmite/stalactite he found to lead the others to the cave. Alternatively, given that Url is far smaller than an actual ankylosaur would be, it's also possible that he's just a baby: similar to Spike from The Land Before Time.
  • Awesome Music: The whole soundtrack (one of three James Newton Howard did for Disney - he also scored Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet) is wonderful, and almost qualifies as a Breakout Pop Hit. Many soundtrack collectors love the track "The Egg Travels" without having any idea where it's from. See here for the whole list.
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  • Cult Classic: Despite having been forgotten by pop culture, Dinosaur maintains a loyal, small fanbase and is fondly remembered for its visual effects, score, and portrayal of the eponymous dinosaurs.
  • Designated Villain: The Carnotaurs and Velociraptors are are carnivores doing what they can to survive in a highly unstable ecosystem. They can only be seen as antagonists because they are hunting the heroes, who are all herbivores.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Bruton thanks to his Heel–Face Turn, and pure badassery for taking on two Carnotaurs solo despite being injured. One of which he took with him to the afterlife.
    • Baylene and Eema for being kind, wise old dinosaurs who are humble enough to know they're slowing down the herd but still try to stay hopeful.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Plio's final narration hoping that somehow their story will be remembered is this considering how the film is barely remembered.
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    • The lemur's joyful courtship scene becomes really sad to take in on repeat viewings since the viewer knows this time around that they're all going to die a few minutes later to the meteor strike.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • A decade later, D.B. Sweeney would voice the adult Avatar Aang, another wise, kind character who not only hangs out with lemurs, and is not only a survivor of his entire people getting wiped out, but becomes a legendary leader in his own right. "Avatar" even sounds a lot like "Aladar", too!
    • One idea floated around was having the dinosaurs speak without moving their mouths, but Disney CEO Michael Eisner nixed this, deeming that such a move would represent a failure on the part of the animators if they couldn't find a way to animate the dinosaurs speaking with their mouths. Thirteen years later, the Walking with Dinosaurs movie would feature the dinosaur characters speaking without moving their mouths in any way, and would be critically panned partly because of this lazy technique.
    • Carnotaurus being used as the main predator instead of a Tyrannosaurus rex as it was initially planned. 18 years later, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would have Rexy curb-stomping a Carnotaurus as a reminder that she's the dominant predator.
  • Love to Hate: The Carnotaurus are very enjoyable villains despite being just mindless animals, as they are one of the most terrifying depictions of an apex predator in any Disney movie.
  • Misaimed Marketing: It's a Disney movie, after all. Anyone want an action figure of Aladar who says the most cheesy lines from the film and whose skeleton randomly glows in the dark?
  • Moral Event Horizon: Kron crosses this when a heavily injured Bruton warns him of approaching Carnotaurus—upon hearing the predators roaring in the background, he furiously bellows "You led them right to us! Maybe you should feed them with YOUR hide!" before leaving him for dead without a second thought. Ouch.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The video game was a lot of fun, and even featured dinosaurs not in the actual film.
  • Older Than They Think: All the wandering herbivore dinosaurs desperately trying to find their way to a valley called the Nesting Grounds? A land untouched by disaster that has destroyed their food sources and free of predators? Sounds suspiciously word-for-word like The Great Valley.
  • The Scrappy: The lemur, Zini. Many find his Casanova Wannabe antics pretty annoying for attempts as comic-relief.
  • Signature Scene: The Egg Travels is such a grand epic opening to the film that the entirety of it was used just for the marketing trailers.
  • So Okay, It's Average: A common sentiment regarding the film; not outright horrible like Chicken Little or Home on the Range, but still quite bland of a film.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Aladar and Neera's chemistry isn't established much despite being an Official Couple in the end.
  • That One Level: The first level of the PlayStation game is exceptionally hard since you haven't had any real opportunity to level up. Expect to die a lot thanks to those damn Oviraptors. Once you get past the first and second level, thankfully, your EXP goes up and the game difficulty evens out.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: One of the major criticisms of the film is that the overall story after Aladar comes across the herd turns into a plot that's way too similar to The Land Before Time. The herd travelling to the "Nesting Grounds" is basically Littlefoot and company searching for the "Great Valley".
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Many critics and viewers alike lamented how the memorable trailer and opening to the film promised something akin to a lifelike expansion of the epic dinosaur sequence from Fantasia, the hope for which was dashed to pieces the moment a character first opened their mouth to speak. Worse still, the original plan was to have no dialogue, but the writers themselves decided to change it.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Iguanodons stick out. The animal had a beak in real life, but the designers gave them all realistic human lips to make them more expressive, and the result can be unsettling.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: The Carnotaurs were intended to be portrayed as insane, nonstop killing machines in DVD bonus features, but in the film many fans see them as minor, but developed characters. They seem to be a mated couple who only kill for hunger, are smart enough to know when not to attack the herd, and after one's death, the other goes insane with grief. Made worse if you take the carnotaurs' disparate sizes (one is markedly bigger than the other) as an indication of them being a parent and its child, with the smaller one being killed by Bruton and the larger one becoming vengefully angry.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Despite the lukewarm reception from critics at the time, pretty much everyone agreed the film looked gorgeous. To this day it's easy to see a lot of detail in the animals, such as the twisting jiggle of Baylene's legs when she takes a step, Bruton's muscles shaking from strain when he tries to get up, the generally wrinkly hide of the animals, and some very rapt attention to accuracy in the generic, non-anthropomorphized animals of the herd.

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