Case Number 23045

DINO DAN: DINO TRACKERS

NCircle // 2010 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // January 1st, 2012

The Charge

Join Dino Dan On His Prehistoric Adventures!

Opening Statement

Your Kids Are Learning While They Watch!

Facts of the Case

Dan Henderson (Jason Spevack) is a ten-year-old schoolboy fascinated by dinosaurs. Dan dreams of being a paleontologist when he grows up, but in the meantime spends his days learning all he can about the prehistoric creatures. Aided by his friends, not to mention a fertile imagination, Dino Dan carries out experiments to better understand the likes of T-Rex, Spinosaurus, and Diplodocus.

The Evidence

Dino Dan: Dino Trackers -- A Child's Take:

Dino Dan: Dino Trackers is awesome! Dan is friends with all kinds of dinosaurs -- including a Tyrannosaurus Rex -- which he brings to life using his imagination, although nobody else ever seems to notice them because I think they are magic. Dan knows so much about dinosaurs, and teaches us about them in each episode. In one episode Dan and his brother track down a Compsognathus that he believes has been hiding his mother's shoes, and in another he saves a Diplodocus when a nasty Spinosaurus tries to fight him.

The dinosaurs are really big, but they aren't scary. They are all friendly with Dan -- even the T-Rex!

Dino Dan: Dino Trackers -- An Adult's Take:

Dino Dan: Dino Trackers is the sad story of a lonely little boy, who -- due to an absent father and neglectful mother -- has developed an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs that has crippled him both socially and emotionally. Dan actually believes he is seeing dinosaurs everywhere, and seems oblivious to the fact that he is boring everyone else to tears by talking about them nonstop. No longer able to distinguish fiction from reality, Dan's life has taken a disturbing turn that shows no signs of abating. Making things worse is the fact that, due to Dan's condition going unchecked, his younger brother has begun sharing in his delusions.

Beyond his mother, who shows a total unwillingness to accept her child's obvious illness, it's staggering that other adults are so reluctant to face Dan's problems head on. It's distressing to see other kids seemingly mock Dan, as he prefers to chase imaginary dinosaurs around a crazy golf course, rather than play with his peers. This lack of adult support has seen Dan become a cocky little so-and-so who carries himself with an air of superiority, and -- as is seen in the episode "Name-A-Saurus" -- is prone to petulantly cutting off adults mid-sentence to "regale" everyone with yet another fascinating dino tidbit. Sadly this kid appears to be a lost cause already, when all he needed was a guiding hand to help him get past his problems.

The disc features a colorful standard definition 1.33:1 full frame transfer, with decent levels of detail. The Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack does little wrong, with clear dialogue and effects.

In addition to the five episodes, there are three "Totally Awesome" extras, the first of which is a dinosaur-based episode of "Are We There Yet? World Adventure." "Dino Dan Field Guide: Diplodocus" is basically a regurgitation of the episode "Name-A-Saurus," whilst the "Dino Fact Finder" featurette offers a little insight into how the show incorporates its factual content.

Closing Statement

Dino Dan: Dino Trackers is the kind of show adults will likely detest, due to its repetitive nature and the know-it-all Dan. I'll admit I had problems understanding just how the dinosaurs apparently interact with the real world, yet nobody besides Dan notices. Perhaps I'm just getting old. Still, it's hard not to admire the show due to its good intentions and educational value. Each episode sees Dan's active imagination bring several dinosaurs into the real world where he can study them to his heart's content. Despite a few minor inaccuracies -- mostly revolving around the Compsognathus -- parents should find this perfect edutainment for their dino-obsessed children. My three-year-old son sat through the five episodes included on this disc without uttering a single word, and insisted on an immediate repeat viewing once the final credits had rolled.

Though the shows format is repetitive, the length of each episode (around 12 minutes each) makes Dino Dan far more palatable. In between the dino facts, the show throws in plenty of comedy, usually in the form of Dan's mom or annoying brother, which, though grating for grownups, seem to have the desired effect on children. The CGI employed to bring the dinosaurs is crude when compared to the likes of Jurassic Park, but the colorful creations prove appealing to their target audience. Isn't it on those terms that this show should ultimately be judged?

The Verdict

It's, you know, for kids.

Review content copyright © 2012 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 87
Audio: 82
Extras: 50
Acting: 70
Story: 78
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: NCircle
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* None

Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurettes

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt1447487/combined