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Dinotopia: Quest For The Ruby Sunstone
voice cast: Alyssa Milano, Jamie Kennedy, Kathy Griffin, Wayne Knight, and Michael Clarke Duncan

director: Davis Doi

72 minutes (U) 2005
Universal DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by Jo Johnson-Smith
When this arrived I thought, 'YAY! They made a sequel to the live action', when it turned out to be animation I was still 'Yay' just not in capitals. The basic story is one that sets up our young hero in a world where the things he thinks he knows aren't important and his attitude to 'me first' has to change. The animation style is typical for the American mass market, the messages easily understood (if a little confusing for an adult watching it).

The basic plot is a setup for a series of adventures to follow; our hero is an orphan, nearly 12 who finds life a little too hard to accept where he is. He sneaks aboard a freighter which flounders in a storm and he is swept overboard inside his little lifeboat shelter. Swept to the shores of Dinotopia he learns the secret of the place and begins his adventures there.

Our villain is something of a disappointment though, a man who wants to use machinery to take over the calm peaceful world of Dinotopia, who wants to progress them technologically. Although he does want to rule them with an iron fist at the same time, and this is where I lost interest. I've seen enough cartoon series with the same premise and almost the same villain, and the sad fact is probably children have too. The American style of animation seems to be that every villain is stupid or completely easy to defeat if we all just pull together. Where as in English or Japanese animation there's a moralistic curve in the character not a simple black and white premise.

For what it is it's pretty watchable as an adult, although I bet you'll be willing the dinosaurs to eat the villain like I did at the end. Kids under seven will enjoy it but don't expect them to remember it or want to watch it a second time; this is no Disney or Aardman. Apart from that it's pretty passable but watch out for many others like it, dinosaurs sell product, pity they used Dinotopia to do it.

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