As part of the Netflix StreamTeam, the company paid for my travel & hotel accommodations to visit DreamWorks Animation in June. But as always all opinions are my own.
Have you ever seen certain people and judged them immediately without ever having so much as a conversation with them? Have you ever been completely wrong in your assumption?
Welcome to the premise of Dinotrux — a fantastic new show from DreamWorks airing on Netflix August 14. Two months ago I was lucky enough to fly out to DreamWorks in California, where I was able to get a behind the scenes peek at how Dinotrux was made, do an actual voiceover, meet some show executives, and take in the first two episodes.
And let me tell you, young kids (and their parents) will love it.
What Is Dinotrux About?
Do you have kids who like dinosaurs? How about construction vehicles? Well, welcome to a TV show that hits the kid sweet spot — dinosaurs combined with construction vehicles. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds and yes your kids will want one immediately.
Ty is a hybrid tyrannosaurus rex and megaton excavator, whose species is the biggest and baddest in the Mechazoic era. But when his village is destroyed and he is injured by a volcano, he wanders the prehistoric landscape to find a new home in a crater teeming with other creatures with plenty of Ty’s favorite food: ore. But the problem is T-truxes are universally feared by other creatures, meaning no one will talk to Ty.
No one except Revvit.
Revvit is a Reptool (lizard + rotary drill) who goes against millions of years of prevailing wisdom to courageously talk to Ty. The entire village is amazed by the dinotrux-reptool partnership, and soon a few more eager recruits join the cause.
Skya is a sassy Craneosaur (brachiosaurus + construction crane); Ton-Ton is a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants daredevil Ankylodump (ankylosaurus + dump truck); and Dozer is a curmudgeonly but kind Dozeratops (triceratops + bulldozer). They soon find themselves on a series of adventures against their nemesis, another T-trux name D-Structs, who hates to share and wants Ty out of the village.
Why Your Kid Will Like Dinotrux
A good show hits on universal themes, and executive producers Ron Burch and David Kidd pull this off in masterful style with Dinotrux.
Each episode has an adventure and provides a lesson in friendship, teamwork, and problem-solving. When one of the gang gets stuck in a tar pit, it takes quick thinking and action from all the other friends to come to the rescue. And when Scraptors and Scraptadactyls — predators who will literally pick about dinotrux and reptools to feast on them — kidnap some Reptools and take them to a nest, the dinotrux team has to create a distraction and build a ladder to get them down safely.
After talking with Ron and David, I also liked how the writers and animators stuck to the laws of physics to create a more realistic prehistoric universe. That’s right. Even though the premise is clearly made up, they made sure all the creatures adhere to the laws of physics. So if a reptool has the body of a pipe wrench, it’s not going to bend or wrap around a tree. The show has a mechanical feel to it and the writers and producers didn’t want to detract from that.
The Coolest Part of My Dinotrux Adventure
Have you ever loved a cartoon so much you wished you were a part of it? I absolutely have, and thanks to Netflix and DreamWorks I’ve also experienced being a part of it.
I was downright giddy when they told me we’d be headed into the recording studio to do some voice over work. And lest you think voice actors have it made and it’s all a piece of cake, allow me to disabuse you of that notion immediately. It’s pretty difficult to get the timing down and voice a character that is multifaceted with lots of emotional complexity. And yes, even fictional Reptools have layers. Also, the room full of bloggers will tell you it takes more than a few takes to get something even remotely usable. Here’s my attempt:
It took me almost 10 minutes to do this one line. Now imagine the editing and production that goes into producing the full 10-show season that’s about to drop on Netflix this Friday. And that’s in addition to creating the characters and imagining the unprecedented world in which these characters live.
I have a newfound appreciation for the work these guys do and the blood, sweat, and tears they pour into these shows. I can’t wait for Sam to take this in and even though Will is on the older end of the demographic spectrum, he’ll probably like it too.
Give Dinotrux a shot on Aug. 14 and let me know how you like it.