Walking With Dinosaurs Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews the movie that makes dinos look real! Check out our take on the new film “Walking with Dinosaurs”.
By: Lynn Barker
Patchi, a cute dino in the late Cretaceous Period in what is now Alaska, has a hole in his head. Well, not his head but his “frill”, the big fleshy part of his head that stands up like a crown. He’s also the runt of his litter. Like to root for the underdog/critter? Check out Patchi’s story.
In modern-day Alaska cool paleontologist Uncle Zack (Star Trek’s Karl Urban) takes his nephew and niece to a dig site where he is excavating dino bones. He has found a big tooth from a raptor-like Gorgosaurus. As he shows it to the kids, a combo of live action backgrounds and CGI dinos takes over to tell the tale of the tooth, linked to the life of Patchi a Pachyrhinosaurus (voiced by Justin Long).
Patchi is the runt of his litter but is curious and adventurous. He’s always being picked on by older bro Scowler. When a forest fire separates the herd, Patchi and his bro have to fend for themselves on a migration to better food sources (Pachys are veggie-saurus..es). Scowler wants to take over as head of the herd. An ancestor of the parrot species, Alexornis Alex (voiced by John Leguizamo of the Ice Age films) bonds with Patchi and tries to guide him to reach his full potential.
She’s the One!
When Patchi spots “pretty” dino Juniper, he’s in love but along the way, Scowler becomes more and more bossy. He wants Juniper for himself and eventually takes over as leader of the herd. As such, Juniper belongs to him!
Finally, Patchi’s instincts win out and, after saving the herd from falling into a frozen lake and fighting to save his bro, who is injured by attacking Gogosauruses, Patchi proves his power, smarts and ability to lead.
Walking with Dinosaurs is based on a BBC TV series on in the early 2000’s that was one of the first to combine live action backgrounds with computer-generated critters. The tech wizards were able to also use computers to create shadows on the land and show the effects of the creatures stepping on it, eating a branch etc. Those filmmakers have teamed with screenwriters to create a family-friendly story using these techniques. The verdict? It looks great! You can see the scales on every dino and the detailed feathers on wings. It really does look like dinos are right there and touchable, especially in really good 3D!
The cons: Although John Leguizamo, who voices ditzy Sid the sloth in the Ice Age films, is perky and fun as the voice of Alex, the guide bird and Justin Long does a good job voicing Patchi, the jokes are pretty lame for the most part and the story is super predictable with zero surprises. The tale gets repetitive as the dinos just migrate.. all the time.. North in the summer and South in the winter. And why don’t the animals' mouths move when they talk? Are we psychic and overhearing their thoughts?
Unlike many recent animated or family films, the only hero characters in this movie are male. Juniper seems totally helpless and she leaves Patchi to be her leader Scowler’s “mate” because those are the rules, and she is only claimed again by Patchi when he proves he can win her. Not a great message for girls. They are the property of brave males? Huh? This may be true in the animal kingdom but not a great message for modern females of any age.
The movie does win points by being kinda educational; when a new dino is introduced, his name appears on the screen and we see whether he is a plant or meat eater, or both. This might be jarring to some viewers but it’s a great way to learn more about dinos, within a story about them.
Since the film looks great and there are fun moments, we go 3 stars. If you are a dinosaur fan, you’ll probably get into it despite a sort of lame story.
Walking With Dinosaurs Movie Rating: