While Dinosaur delivers amazing special effects, Center Stage offers spectacular dancing, and Small Time Crooks features big-time laughs, Christian critics are more enthralled by the meaty story of The Big Kahuna, which wrestles with the role of one's Christian faith in the everyday business world.

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In a nutshell: Dinosaur features special effects you've never seen—in a story you've seen one time too many. Michael Elliott of Crosswalk.com calls Dinosaur's visuals "the best that human technology has to offer … a remarkable blend of computer animation and digitally enhanced photography." The U.S. Catholic Conference marvels that the "spectacular computer-generated digital images are extraordinarily lifelike." Yet most critics agreed with J. Robert Parks of The Phantom Tollbooth, who said "someone forgot to tell the producers that beautiful images alone do not make a compelling story." Dinosaur recycles earlier Disney films like Bambi and Tarzan, as a baby dino whose mother was killed grows up among a different species. Many were willing to recommend the film, despite its unoriginality, because of its family-friendly appeal; Focus on the Family's Bob Smithouser says the film "offers adolescents and adults with meager expectations a reasonably enjoyable, morally grounded 80 minutes of distraction." (I'm guessing Disney doesn't reprint that endorsement in its ads.) Some recommendations were stronger, pointing out the admirable lessons of "taking care of those who are weaker" (Movieguide), "standing up for what you believe in" (Crosswalk.com's Holly McClure), and "how compassion and hope are important and rewarded" (Dove Foundation)—although the movie's PG violence detracted somewhat from their enthusiasm. ...

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