Saturday, April 09, 2011

Bob Bakker

I happened to come across these pictures of Dr. Robert T. Bakker a while ago, and after posting my dinosaur and cowboy picture, I thought I'd post these, too.

Dr. Bakker is one of my heroes, author of one of the best books about dinosaurs I've ever read (The Dinosaur Heresies), and one of the neatest guys I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. He was on a book tour for his novel Raptor Red back around 1995 or 1996, and one of his stops was the Barnes & Noble I worked at. I got to talk to him for a bit after, and he was very funny and acerbic--he was amused that I'd ask him to sign an advance reading copy of Raptor Red (I'd jumped on that when it came to the store) as well as the novel I purchased.

He told me that he was working with Disney on a film version of Raptor Red, which was to combine computer-animated characters with real (but CGI-enhanced) settings. I was pretty excited by that, but wondered if the novel would really pass through Disney unmolested. Well, Disney never made Raptor Red (which would have been like The Bear but with dinosaurs, which is a movie I desperately want to see), but instead took a great Walon Green script with a similar approach and twisted it into the underwhelming and disappointing Dinosaur, which is basically The Lion King set millions of years earlier.

Such a shame. Disney doesn't like challenging material, so I wasn't really surprised when that happened, but still, what could have been... The Disney film has a very nice opening five minutes are so, which are truly wondrous, but then the animals start talking and using modern slang, and it just becomes another one of those bland cartoons, and the masterful effect achieved by the first few minutes shatters easily.

Too bad. I'd still love to see Raptor Red, but for real.

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