Review: Walking with Dinosaurs
An elaborate story behind an unearthed dinosaur tooth is relayed by the Creataceous bird and the Ceratospian that experienced the journey. The runt of the litter, the young and idealistic Patchi looks up to his parents and older brother, but must forge his own path amidst the hardships of prehistoric life.
Justin Long and John Leguizamo voice the dino and bird respectively, and they really never stop talking. Karl Urban also appears, yet for some reason is still forced into an American accent.
One would think it’s incredibly hard to ruin a story featuring dinosaurs; even for all its incoherent frivolity, there were some pretty ridiculously entertaining scenes in Jurassic Park 3. Alas, Walking with Dinosaurs 3D is so muddled, nonsensical, and furiously annoying that despite the beautiful and enchanting visuals, you just want the movie to end as soon as possible.
For reasons passing understanding, those with creative power opted to create a clichéd fictional underdog tale of a Pachyrhinosaurus (think Triceratops without the massive horns) who aspires to be a strong, powerful leader like his father. It’s basically a CGI version of The Land Before Time¸ except instead of endearing it’s revolting, and instead of Littlefoot and Petry, you have Insufferable and Annoying.
And instead of being memorable, you can’t wait to forget about it.
It’s unfortunate too, because the imagery is astounding and beautiful, and while the 3D doesn’t add too much more, it doesn’t necessarily detract either. We meet a welcome collection of dinosaurs, relatives of all the famous ones, from a vicious pack of carnivores, to some winged predators, and some lumbering, indifferent herbivores.
The decision to lend voices to the dinosaurs and tell a story isn’t necessarily a bad one, but the execution here is horrendous, and that’s where this film with much potential so powerfully fails. Leaving not a second to take a breath or register what is happening on screen, the two narrators just don’t shut up, endless spewing stale jokes and cheesy lines for no apparent reason.
There is drama, of course, albeit predictable, as nature does run its often brutal course, but the incessant chatter quells any intended emotional response (as the regular reaction is continued frustration).
Even the compelling graphics can’t redeem this lazy, cheap piece of storytelling. It is so easily something entertaining and informative for all ages, but you just can’t get passed the poorly-chosen conceit. All is not lost, though – save the visuals, scrap the dialogue, and rewrite the whole thing – it’s not like the dinosaurs’ mouths are moving anyway.
Should You See It?
The only way this should be seen is on mute, with maybe some dramatic music playing in the background.