SIFF 2024 Reaction – WHY DINOSAURS?

Part of the family series of documentaries playing at SIFF, WHY DINOSAURS? is an absolute delight through and through, and the doc plays on this first weekend AND the last one. Don’t miss it, and bring the family!

About: Why Dinosaurs? traces the humble beginnings, explorations, and a few different fascinating findings of self-confessed dinosaur enthusiast youth James Pinto and his filmmaker father, Tony. This film explores the zeitgeist of dinosaurs and their long and meandering path through the ins and outs of popular culture and modern science. Investigating the experiences of everyone ranging from museum curators, toy collectors, artists and even a state senator, the documentary provides a bird’s-eye view through paleontology, cinema, and art history. More than just a movie about dinosaurs, it delves deep into the subject with timely, in-depth conversations involving some of the best-known minds working in paleontology as well as other dinosaur-adjacent fields. Tracing the history along with fun visual animations and an immersive narrative, the film weaves together an intricate and exciting story of how modern paleontology has developed over the centuries across several continents and areas of study. Further, the documentary is an interesting testament towards the timelessness of dinosaurs and their universal allure across ages and disciplines. (Credit: AB and SIFF Programming)

Reaction: In its first few minutes I was getting worried that this would be a talking head, clip-show type documentary from a younger vision. As WHY DINOSAURS progresses, however, it really becomes something more. I could tell the passion behind young James Pinto who has made this documentary along with his dad, Tony, himself a filmmaker and seems well connected to the industry. WHY DINOSAURS really celebrates intelligence and has really terrific interviews with many experts on palaeontology but also people who are just fascinated with dinosaur history, and you can really feel the passion from James Pinto throughout. And of course, the movie spends a good deal of time on JURASSIC PARK both from the perspectives of filmmakers and Dino-experts, and I really liked seeing the different perspectives on what was real and what was not. There’s also a wonderful sequence where a young kid has a bill passed by a Senator, and it’s a very inspiring sequence, among many others here. Despite being marketed as more of a kid/family picture at SIFF, this movie really is a gift for anyone who appreciates the history of our past, 65 million-plus years ago.

SIFF Media

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