American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
The death the other day of Sinbad, the elderly gorilla at the Lincoln Park Zoo, was a reminder of how we like to sentimentalize animals, turning them into images of cute, incomplete human beings, instead of loving them for their differences from us. "Baby," a comedy about an infant brontosaurus, is another example, a dreary one, of the glory of nature being turned into a cliché of man.
Imagine that somewhere in the heart of Africa, a colony of dinosaurs still survives. Wouldn't it be a great wonder to actually see one of them, living evidence of the world of 100 million years ago? I'd think I'd rather see a brontosaurus than see a man walk on the moon, because I am less amazed by technology than by the wonders that life has provided on its own.
If "Baby" had shared that sense of wonder, it might have been a really special movie. The raw materials were in place: The special effects in this movie provide surprisingly believable dinosaurs, and if the screenplay had been equally believable, they might have had something here.
Instead, "Baby" turns out to be a real no-brainer. The movie even blows the one moment you'd assume couldn't fail - the first sighting of a brontosaurus. Instead of a moment of quiet awe, the movie gives us the gee-whiz approach of a Godzilla remake.