Now, the original Dinotopia is a brilliant, fun "sketchbook" created by a Victorian gentleman about his adventures after getting shipwrecked on the island of Dinotopia. He and his son, Will, slowly adapt to life in a world where dinosaurs and humans live side by side. The book is lavishly illustrated, and the world it creates is beautiful and lush. It was one of my favorite books as a kid.
As I watched the show, I started getting really annoyed. In the first ten minutes, a father and his two sons take off in a plane, get caught in a storm, and plunge into the sea. The dad dies, and the two brothers (we later find out they're only half-brothers) wind up in Dinotopia. At first, I thought the story was just a modernization of the original book, so I was angry that they decided to kill off the dad and replace him with a second, 'hipper' son. It took me a while to catch onto the fact that the miniseries isn't an 'updated' Dinotopia - it's a new story set in the same world. Arthur and Will, the Victorian father and son, have come and gone - but they existed in this world, one hundred years ago. Karl and David, the two young men, are two new adventurers with their own story to tell.
It's a little sad that computer animation ages so rapidly. When this movie first came out, it must have looked so cutting edge and cool. For a TV miniseries, it looks really great - the special effects budget must have been enormous. Ten years later, though, the dinosaurs look rather cheesy. Waterfall City, capital of Dinotopia, has the same dramatic appeal of the book's sketches...but it looks so fake on the screen.
Sorry, computers...that's not convincing at all.
I was surprised how many of the actors and actresses who appeared in the show have gone on to fairly successful careers. Wentworth Miller, who plays one of the brothers, went on to star in Prison Break. David Thewlis, of course, is Professor Lupin in the Harry Potter franchise. Then there's Colin Salmon...I don't know if he's been in anything big, but he's got one of those faces that you see EVERYWHERE. Anyway, it was entertaining to play "Where have I seen that actor before?" as I watched.
One episode down, two more to go. Should be fun!