Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie Movie Review
The filmmakers make a serious mistake by aiming this educational epic at very young children, because they've undermined the considerable skill and artistry that have gone into making it. An astoundingly trite script overflows with goofy slang and lame jokes that make the film virtually unwatchable for anyone over the age of 5. And the dialog tries so hard to be hip and cool that it already feels badly dated.
It opens on a rather awkward framing story about a palaeontologist (Urban) who takes his niece and nephew (Rice and Rowe) to look for dinosaur fossils in rural Alaska, at which point we are taken back in time to see what life was life in the Late Cretaceous Period. Enter Patchi (voiced by Long), a young pachyrhinosaurus whose best pal is a talkative bird named Alex (Leguizamo). Patchi also has an annoying big brother named Scowler (Stone) and a love-interest in Juniper (Sircar). As the young pachyrhinos grow up, they have a series of adventures along the path migrating north and south with the seasons. Vicious predators chase them, and both Patchi and Scowler take a shot at leading the herd.
The plot is fairly simplistic, but it's a decent tool to teach us about the various animals of the period. The dialog is another story altogether, packed with inane observations, stupid gags and lazy one-liners. By comparison, the required poo, vomit and snot jokes are genuinely witty. And a considerable amount of real information about the period and the creatures gets lost in all of the idiotic patter.
Visually the film looks terrific, with a seamless integration of real landscapes with creatures that are animated with a strong sense of detail. The 3D even adds a few superb thrills along the way, such as when a long-beaked azhdarch tries to peck our eyes out. Intriguingly, since the creatures don't move their mouths when they speak, this disastrous audio track could quite simply be replaced completely with something smart and engaging. It's a pity someone didn't do this before the release, but maybe there's hope for an alternate soundtrack on the video.