This is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow, but for the purposes of watching the regular Disney Animated Canon (i.e. not the weird European one) this is a movie that I had to buy separately as it is not in the collection. This may have put some additional pressure on this to be good, I grant, but I’m not unreasonable here. Hell, I would have accepted mediocre over what might be one of the worst films that I have watched for this particular list.
Considering some of the turds that I have watched from the Disney back catalogue, I’m going to make it completely clear that this is not as bad as Fun and Fancy Free. The problem is that after a really great first five minutes, this film just descended into cliche after cliche until an ending that should be a definition of corner writing. Also, as someone who was a bit of a dinosaur child, the incredible number of anachronisms really rubbed me the wrong way (and no, I’m not just talking about the iguanodons having blue-pink sexual dimorphism).
I guess, for me, the promise of those wordless first few minutes speaks to what this film could have been: a fully CGI, and slightly more family friendly, feature length film loosely based on the dinosaur sequence from Fantasia. Or, if not that, a film that worked a bit more like the BBC documentary series Walking With Dinosaurs. Sadly, instead this becomes yet another film about finding where you belong, but without anything new or interesting to say.
Maybe, back in the day, people were so wowed by the cutting-edge CGI to not focus on the dull plot and lifeless jokes. They would have good reason to, I mean this film is 20 years old and the graphics really haven’t aged too badly. Sure, it’s no Toy Story 4, but few films are. In the end, this film just feels like a colossally wasted opportunity to have done something entertaining and educational that would have had try graphics to really draw you in. Alas, this film just makes me want my £6 back.
I know that the next film is going to be an improvement on this. After all, it wouldn’t continue to be so meme friendly nearly 20 years later. So yes, I’m hoping that The Emperor’s New Groove truly delivers and is able to lift some Disney spirits.