Children are often fascinated by dinosaurs in movies. A number of animated offerings feature charming renditions of these creatures to entertain kids.
Classic movies that showcase these prehistoric beasts can be ideal choices for a family movie marathon. There are also those that serve as historical and educational offerings readily available online — becoming points of comparison on how the earlier days of cinema and animation have evolved through the decades.
“Gertie the Dinosaur” (1914)
The general interest in dinosaur characters in movies became apparent even during the early 1900s, a period when filmmaking and animation were at their infancy. Filmmaker and cartoonist Winsor McCay made the short film “Gertie the Dinosaur” in 1914. This film featured thousands of photographed line-figure cartoon drawings of a brontosaur character named Gertie, a personable dino with pet-like appeal. He became a very popular character during his time. McCay and other artists would typically accompany this cartoon to vaudeville theater shows.
“Gertie on Tour” (1917)
Following the success of “Gertie the Dinosaur,” McCay and his team created the second installment titled “Gertie on Tour,” which featured another series of activities for the charming brontosaur. During its heyday, this “Gertie” film was typically screened in different public performance arrangements. The technical quality of this short movie showed significant improvements compared to its predecessor.
The Disney masterpiece “Fantasia” features an assortment of animal characters in its different segments. The section known as “The Rite of Spring” interprets the story of evolution from the lives of single-celled animals to the demise of the dinosaurs. Accompanied by an awe-inspiring selection of classical music, this touching animated segment showcases a condensed version of the Earth’s history, beginning with the birth of the planet and continuing through the proliferation of small living organisms and the reign and extinction of the dinosaurs.
It is interesting to note that this children’s movie is able to combine some factual information on how these prehistoric beasts lived, thrived, and became extinct, while still rendering them as appealing and kid-friendly characters. Instead of the fear kids can get from dinosaurs’ monstrous nature, Disney’s imaginative depiction of these creatures with such storybook flair covers up their supposedly violent nature.
“The Land Before Time” (1988)
“The Land Before Time” turns dinosaurs into cuddly characters behaving and interacting like humans. This first film from the successful, long-running series follows the adventures of a group of baby dinosaurs who set off on a journey toward the Great Valley, the last place they can stay to survive. As these appealing young animals meet new friends along the way, they find themselves facing nature’s fury. As they continue their challenging journey to outlive the planet’s wrath, they also learn more about the value of life and relationships.