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Sundance review: ‘Dinosaur 13’

First Published      Last Updated Jan 17 2014 06:30 pm

"Dinosaur 13"

U.S. Documentary

*** (three stars)

There's a great story of fossils, felonies and federal overreach in the documentary "Dinosaur 13," and director Todd Miller digs out a sizeable chunk of it. The story begins with the discovery in 1990 of the largest intact Tyrannosaur rex specimen ever, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The group of for-profit paleontologists who unearth and work to preserve the fossil, named "Sue," soon find themselves facing an FBI raid, a custody battle over whether the remains are federal property, and a massive grand-jury investigation. Miller lets the main protagonists — starting with the lead paleontologist, Peter Larson — tell their own stories in straightforward interviews, augmented with subtle use of re-enactments and some gorgeous shots of the Black Hills. The criticism of the federal government (whose employees are underrepresented in the interviews) is heartfelt but a little repetitive.

-- Sean P. Means

"Dinosaur 13" screens again Friday at 9 a.m. at the Temple Theatre, Park City; Friday at 9 p.m. at the Sundance Screening Room at the Sundance resort; Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Tower Theatre, Salt Lake City; Tuesday at noon at the Temple Theatre, Park City; and Friday, Jan. 24, at 8:30 p.m. at The MARC, Park City.