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Well I like millions of others love the idea of learning about
dinosaurs, from children to the elderly there is just something
fascinating about them. I am far from a palaeontologist, my love has
come from having toys as a kid, TV shows and the Jurassic Park series,
so I was so excited to see this film.
I'm not sure why but I assumed a film being released on Boxing Day would be a guaranteed classic, boy was I wrong. I wont spoil the so called "plot" of this film, as I don't think that's fair to people who want to see it.
The positives are there though, the animation and the effects are genuinely beautiful and the fact there were elements of learning in the movie is a nice added bonus especially for children. The first annoyance I had and this may sound a little cheap is that I didn't and most wont recognise any of the dinosaurs in this film, they look familiar but none of the "classic" or "well known" dinosaurs are here.
The dinosaurs do have voices, but unlike any good animation film they didn't have vocal movements on the characters, all of it was dubbed over the action and sometimes it was hard to work out who was actually talking, that was my biggest complaint, something I felt was a lazy move by the creator.
The plot is horrendous and extremely dull, it would have been a good hour show on the television on the discovery channel if the voices weren't there. None of the characters are that interesting and they make a very lame attempt to make the lead come across endearing and someone who you want to back for success, sadly he isn't, the film has poor character development and most of the characters are one dimensional and very irritating.
I loved watching the dinosaurs and found some of it educational, but this film would have been better without the poor voices and done as an experience of the amazement that dinosaurs bring rather than a very poor story. Kids wont enjoy the story any better, I'm a huge kid film fan but this is just not a good watch.
I'd recommend buying this when its in the bargain bin in a local shop and watch it without sound, just to appreciate the effects and the wonder of that era.
What a waste of potential!!!
Dinosaurs have long proved a source of fascination for human beings -
the notion that magnificent lizard-beasts used to rule the world we now
live in... well, it would almost be the stuff of science-fiction,
except it's just pure, unmitigated science. Walking With Dinosaurs: The
3D Movie - created using the same technology pioneered by BBC Earth for
its classic 14-year-old dinosaur documentary - has decided to go fully
into the realm of fiction. The result is wildly uneven, featuring
spectacular animation but a laboured script that only occasionally
manages to rustle up some interest and laughs.
Patchi (voiced by Justin Long) is the runt of the pachyrhinosaurus tribe. Small and clumsy, he seems fated to play second fiddle to his swifter, meaner brother Scowler (Skylar Stone) for the rest of his life. He's even thwarted in pursuing Juniper (Tiya Sircar), the girl of his dreams, when his brother wrests control of the tribe. As Patchi struggles to find his destiny, his tribe keeps strictly to their migration schedule - one which routinely takes them through a literal valley of death ruled over by their world's fiercest predator: the Gorgosaurus.
In visual terms, Walking With Dinosaurs is an undeniable treat. The gorgeously-animated dinosaurs, seemingly photo-real, have been transposed onto lushly-shot live-action footage of New Zealand and Alaska. As Alex (John Leguizamo), our winged Alexornis host, swoops over the rolling terrain, it's almost possible to believe that dinosaurs still roam the Earth.
What works considerably less well is John Collee's uninspired script. It's clearly targeted at children, but in an almost insulting manner. Alex's narration manages to be funny every once in a while - a particular highlight being his discussion of the Gorgosaurus' miniscule forearms (reminiscent of its T-Rex cousin). But, in the main, the dialogue between the dinosaurs is flat and comes close to silly, while Karl Urban and his young charges wander in for a few pretty pointless shots used to book-end Patchi's narrative.
This might work quite well for the very youngest of children, but adults and anyone above the age of ten might find themselves wishing ardently for the animation to be allowed to speak for itself. It's certainly rendered in impressive enough fashion - there's plenty more soul and depth in the eyes and actions of these great beasts than in their words. As it turns out, there might be some merit to watching Walking With Dinosaurs as a silent movie: it was originally conceived as such before the powers that be decided that it had to be rendered more kid- and family-friendly (i.e., more accessible).
There have been some truly great dinosaur movies made in our lifetime: ones brimming with action and tension (Jurassic Park) and others that deal particularly well in humanity and heartbreak (The Land Before Time). Walking With Dinosaurs tries for both and ends up with neither... although, to be fair, it does march along in mostly inoffensive fashion. Just don't expect too much from its narrative.
Walking with Dinosaurs could be a good documentary movie if it wouldn't be ruined. I can't understand how anybody in Hollywood got an idea to order a good quality documentary film from BBC then go and ruined it with stupid idea to film totally unnecessary beginning and end to it, write a idiotic script and hire few neighborhood kids to read it over the film. If the idea was to make a children movie where dinosaurs speak, I'm sure the dinosaurs were animated to speak. Now the result is totally mish mash. It feels like somebody got an idea to record documentary film from television, then film with a home video camera totally unnecessary beginning and end to it. Ask 6-years old child to write a script and then dub the whole film with neighborhood kids and then send it to worldwide theatrical distribute. I can't understand how any Hollywood studio could spend 80 million dollars to this and release it to worldwide. If the budget were 8 million and it was released straight to DVD, Then I could understand it. Now this is totally underestimate film audience. I wish I could get my money back. I give one star for beautiful animation, not anything else.
The most obvious departure of this 3D feature spin off from the
acclaimed BBC series with the same name on which it is based is the
fact that the titular dinosaurs actually talk. Well to be honest, talk
might be a bit of an overstatement seeing as how the characters' mouths
don't actually move much; rather, what we have is an attempt to
humanise these dinosaurs for a young target audience, which in the
minds of the filmmakers, means fitting Disney-fied dialogue into the
As scripted by 'Happy Feet's' John Collee, the kid-friendly plot follows the template of a coming-of-age story where a young Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi (voiced by Justin Long) grows into a leader over the course of a long migration. His companion and buddy happens to be a prehistoric parrot that goes by the name of Alex (voiced by John Leguizamo), who forms the bridge between the opening modern-day sequence - featuring a cameo by Josh Duhamel - and 70 million years back where most of the action unfolds.
Cast as timid and socially awkward, the film introduces Patchi as the runt of the litter, easily distinguishable from the rest of his siblings by a hole on the right side of his frill following a close shave with a predator as a kid. A change in the weather patterns prompts his herd's migration by his father Bulldust, which sets into motion a chain of events that will have Patchi eventually claiming the honour of leading the herd. It isn't just his inner strength that Patchi will discover by the end of the journey; along the way, Patchi also finds a romantic interest in the form of Juniper (Tiya Sircar), a fellow Pachyrhinosaurus he experiences love at first sight with.
As far as children-oriented pictures go, the story in this one is on many accounts too simplistic. There is some attempt to inject dramatic tension by setting up Patchi's rivalry with his brutish older brother Scowler (Skyler Stone), but it is hardly compelling stuff. Same goes for the storybook romance between Patchi and Juniper, which to no surprise builds to a happily-ever-after ending. In fact, much more entertaining is Patchi's loquacious friend and ally Alex, whose non-stop chatter consisting of all sorts of puns makes him the undeniably most engaging one of the lot.
Truth be told though, little would be lost if directors Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale had simply done away with the formulaic story. Simply put, the visuals are stunning, seamlessly mixing CGI with breathtaking backdrops in Alaska and New Zealand to transport its audience back in time into a world when dinosaurs ruled the Earth; and the experience is even more awe-inspiring captured on film using the cutting-edge cinematographic technology which James Cameron had employed for 'Avatar'. Seeing as how tacked on the dialogue feels to the visuals of the movie, one can't quite help but feel that the filmmakers should simply have stuck with the original's documentary approach.
Of course, Nightingale is no stranger to that; as the creative director of BBC Earth and the producer of countless other nature documentaries, he is more than well versed in the language of non-fiction. Unfortunately, he seems to have given freer rein to Cook, whose background in animated features like 'Mulan' and 'Arthur Christmas' has resulted in what is essentially a live-action Disney cartoon about dinosaurs. In spite of the occasional educational cards sharing the scientific names of the dinosaurs and their general dietary preference (whether herbivore or carnivore or omnivore), there is no shaking off the feeling that the charm of the original series has been largely lost on its journey to the big screen.
Not that the US$85 million dollar production is without merit - like we said, the combination of computer animation and live-action is never less than impressive and captivating, demonstrating the leaps and bounds by which technology has advanced since Steven Spielberg first enthralled the world using animatronics in 'Jurassic Park'. On that account alone, it should more than be a fascinating watch for the kiddies; grown-ups though will have a harder time immersing themselves into the lifelike world, ultimately challenged by the artificial dialogue and even more clichéd plot.
The overall story is one of a misfit runt overcoming obstacles as he grows up. We've seen the story before, nothing new. CGI is impressive and they even had enough sense to include footprints the dirt, so it seems more like the dinos are grounded, more real. It was hard to tell if the background was CGI or real life film w/ dinos added. The studio decided to frame the dino story with a modern day teenager not wanting to see his uncle in Alaska. Totally unnecessary, didn't need it, wasted time. Each time a new dinosaur entered the story, the movie did a freeze frame, the dinos name and an explanation of the name was give. Very disrupting. Then the dinos would use that name to refer to that dino-as if we would call each other Homo Sapien. A lot of the dialog was a bit too cute with references back to the modern world. I took my kid, he liked it, but that was probably because it was a movie about dinosaurs regardless of content. I found it mildly annoying. Strickly kids fare.
If you see this expecting a grown-up style documentary, you'll be
disappointed. It's clearly made for a very young audience, and I think
they did a fantastic job in that regard.
The animation was fantastic,it was quite educational, it had characters that the kids fall in love with, and it wasn't too long. My 6 year old has been on a real dino-kick all year, and she was on the edge of her seat for this entire film. She even thought the humor was hilarious. If you like watching your kid really enjoy something, take them to this film. If you want something for the entire family, including grown ups, then you're better off with something else. I see the negative reviews, and I can't help but think that a lot of folks just have the wrong expectations.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
i know it's for kids, and speaking as an adult, i think it's safe to
say this is one of the worst movies i have ever seen in my life.
it is rare that i hate a movie, a few of my guilty pleasures are considered some of the worst movies of all time, this i hated because of it's lazy dialogue, embarrassing voice acting, immature humour, rushed editing and finally, the fact they thought everything i just mentioned was worthy of print.
it starts off during present day, i thought that was interesting, we see a car and hear someone on the phone, their line delivery is atrocious and my fears when hearing the acting the trailer were confirmed. we cut to inside the car and we see Karl Urban is driving, the passengers have awful line delivery before Urban said a word, i felt... fear. i remembered Sean Bean's role in Silent hill 2, he's a good actor, but was bad in that movie, Karl Urban is a good actor but so far everyone else has been terrible, i sat there thinking "no, no please no, please don't turn judge Dredd into a bad actor, please be good, PLEASE", and yes, it's his worst performance to date.
then a bird comes along and begins narrating the dinosaur story, and this bird sounds like Antonio Banderas if he sucked in just the tiniest bit of helium, extremely annoying. in movies, children need everything explained to them, they have trouble taking hints and need every joke, metaphor and fact simplified, 90% of dialogue in this movie is either exposition or a quick examination of something going on. for example, when the main characters are looking at another dinosaur, one of them will randomly drop a fact about it, every time we see a new dinosaur, the screen freezes and a child tells us something about it, this got irritating straight away.
the voice acting is absolutely atrocious, the lips don't move with voices, it sounds rushed, lazy, uncaring and completely stupid. the dialogue is criminal, idiotic, made only for children, it has been written without passion, without a brain and was probably written all in one evening, on cliff notes. a lot of children are surprisingly knowledgeable about dinosaurs, in this movie, facts are distorted, changed slightly for the sake of a joke. there are so many puns it reminded me of batman and robin, so many horrible jokes it reminded me of North and so many awkwardly delivered lines, it reminded me of Garbage pail kids.
the jokes are specifically for three year olds, everything bad about it would go over children's heads, if you have children and they beg you to take them to see it, still don't take them, because their entertainment is not worth the agony you will suffer. i wanted to rip my ear drums out, everything i heard made it worthy of a one, a may not have listed a lot of reasons to hate it but unless you've seen it, you don't know how bad it is. after the horror was over, i thought "rushed dialogue? rushed script? strange editing? voice overs that don't match up to lips? was this film originally supposed to not have dialogue, did they change their minds half way through and quickly got some actors and dialogue together as fast as they could?"
there's one line, while two dinosaurs are fighting, the bird says "i got $50 on the big guy" ARE YOU SERIOUS?
i got home and did some research, and sure enough, that's exactly what they did, the movie was originally supposed to have no dialogue but for some reason they changed their minds and turned it into this, why, just why did they feel the need to turn it into a kids movie?
i get it, it's for kids, but that doesn't mean it should only be for kids, children don't go and see this stuff by themselves, they need adults, the least you can do is make it bearable for them, don't make it insulting, make it like toy story, make it a family film, not a kids film. this should not have come out theatrically, it should have premiered on Disney channel, i swear.
i think i got dumber watching it, the animation is nice, but my ears are still hurting, don't go see it, please, for the sake of your child's intelligence don't let them see it, and no adults should see it ever. the movie feels like it was made by children, not just for children. i am a huge fan of the documentary show, i knew this was a kids movie before going into it so i knew what to expect, i did not however know it was going to be this bad.
don't pay to see it, why would you?
Saw this movie on New Years Eve with my family. At first I thought they were playing the wrong movie. Well it wasn't. Paid extra for the 3-D what a waste of my time and money. I feel like someone should have paid me to see this. What's even worse is that no one knows until they are in there seeing the piece of crap. All the trailers conveniently leave out the fact that there are real people in it and that some dumb bird is going to be taking during the entire movie. Just shut up for goodness sake Patchie. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY OR TIME ON THIS ONE. I am not sure it will even be worth the money you pay when it comes to red box. Maybe if this were shown on PBS for free it would be tolerable. Just felt so betrayed by how this movie was portrayed in trailers. Very sneaky way to get people to pay to see this film. Don't try to trick an audience into something other than what the movie is.
So I took my 5 year old to see this film today and it really was a let
down. My son loves dinosaurs and was really looking forward to it but
you could tell he was getting bored of it as was I. Usually he will
quite happily sit through a whole film at the cinema and just be
completely engrossed in it but the story for this film is so terrible
that it couldn't seem to hold his attention at all.
For a film called walking with dinosaurs I expected there to be loads of dinosaur species in it but there were very few and there were none of the most well known dinosaurs like the t-rex, much to my son's disappointment.
I really just found it boring which is such a shame as it could have been such an amazing film, I mean it was absolutely beautiful (hence the 4 stars) but I do wish that I hadn't have bothered.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Disclaimer: I marked my review as having spoilers, despite the fact
that the plot is as predicable as the phases of the moon, because I
"revealed" plot details even though you will undoubtedly know them the
instant the story begins.
I caught the original "Walking with Dinosaurs" documentary when it first aired in 2000. It was a truly groundbreaking experience, combing state-of-the-art CGI with nature documentary-style storytelling in a television program. It has held up over the years quite well, and was followed by equally-good sequels including "Prehistoric Beasts" and "Monsters".
Fast forward 13 years later, and we now have a motion picture based on the name. A brand new "Walking with Dinosaurs", set on following the life of a Pachyrhinosaurus as he braves the Prehistoric Alaskan wilderness, encountering other dinosaurs such as the predatory Gorgosaurus and the giant, but gentle, Edmontonia, all told with beautiful cinematography and top-notch CGI.
That sounds great, right? Well, what happened BBC? What the hell happened? I feel like I've been treated like an idiot. Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie has zero charm, annoying and atrocious voice overs, a bare bones plot straight out of The Land Before Time, except without the emotion or drama, and a completely pointless frame story about a kid, his sister, and his uncle (as modern day humans, annoyingly) digging for fossils.
It seems the filmmakers were originally intending on making this film a docudrama in the style of the original, and this would have been great. We would have really been invested in the individual dinosaurs as we followed them through their lives, and it would have been really immersive and engaging.
But nope. Someone somewhere down the line decided that we needed half-assed, and rushed, voice overs to be able to know what the dinosaurs are thinking/doing, because apparently the studio executives think that audiences cannot understand body language, or the fact that film is a visual medium first and foremost. But given all the flak aimed at films like Avatar and Pacific Rim, they might be justified in that assumption. But the fact is is that we are smarter than that, and there was no reason to add these voice overs other than the pander to the lowest common denominator.
And the fact that the voice overs sound like they were added late in production only serves to drive the point home. It sounds like the voice actors were not reading off of script, but rather watching the film and trying to do their dialogue in real time, like a bunch of 12-year old youtube commentators trying to be funny by adding voices to silent characters or animals. Then there is the fact that their is no lip-synching whatsoever. None.
The story is a shadow of the plot used in Land Before Time. Main character hatches from egg and is raised by parent, his dad dies protecting him from a predator in the midst of a natural disaster (a wildfire this time around), he grows up, deals with hardships, falls in love, and comes back to beat those pesky predators, while winning the girl of his dreams. That is all there is to the plot. You cannot get any more by-the-numbers than that in this day and age.
The humor is awful, because the 10-year old that wrote this script must have had some fascination with butt jokes and derivatives. Our main character has a hole in his head where the hole in the skull is, on the right side (left side in the promotional materials, for some reason). Gaze in amazement as every joke about his "nice hole" comes out as sounding like forced innuendo in a script that makes Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen look like a Christopher Nolan masterpiece.
The music is a mixed bag. On one hand, the music used for the first Pachy migration sequence and the Edmontosaurus migration were pretty decent and fitting, and then there pop songs. In a dinosaur film. Why.
Enough ranting already. The visuals are nothing short of spectacular, featuring gorgeous photography of the Alaskan geography as brilliantly-rendered dinosaurs and pterosaurs frolic amongst the landscape, with attention to detail paid in footprints and the animation.
Unfortunately, anything the film gets right is immediately drown out by the ear-grating voice overs and juvenile script that serves only to pander to the youngest portion of the viewer base. Walking With Dinosaurs may be a treat for the youngsters, but older viewers who actually posses a legitimate interest in paleontology will be turned off and left confused and enraged.
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