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Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie (A Movie Review)

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Walking With Dinosaurs: The Movie


Starring Karl Urban, Charlie Rowe, Angourie Rice and the voices of John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Skyler Stone, Tiya Sircar, Clay Savage, Jude Tinsely, Mary Mouser, Katie Silverman, Madison Moellers and Michael Leone.

Written by John Collee with dialogue by Gerry Swallow.

Directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale.

Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 87 minutes. Rated PG.

Kids love dinosaurs.

That simple statement is both undeniable and widely understood and it is the greatest ace in the hole for the creators of Walking With Dinosaurs – The Movie.

They know they have a built in audience for their film.  And if they have to dumb things down a little bit just to capture the fleeting attention spans of their target audience… well, that can be done.

Walking With Dinosaurs started as a museum exhibit-turned-arena spectacle in which special effects and a simple story made paleontology fun.  Most of the kids who went weren’t looking to pick up on the Latin names of the different species or specifics of life in the dinosaur era – they wanted to see the giganotosaurus and the pterodactyls fighting.

If they picked up a little knowledge along the way, bonus.

Now, through the miracles of CGI, the exhibit has been turned into a film.

First things first.  Walking With Dinosaurs – The Movie looks stunning.  Both the dinosaurs and the world they inhabit are designed with care and awe-inspiring to watch.

Of course kids aren’t going to sit still for some hour and a half long science lesson, so the producers had to make it kid friendly.  Sadly, that means talking dinosaurs, a power struggle, a journey of self-discovery and lots of unnecessary toilet humor.

The story of Walking With Dinosaurs has been lifted from every kid’s movie since Bambi.  Young runt of the litter Patchi (voiced by Justin Long) is the son of the herd’s chief, but he is shy and weak and way too curious for his own good.  His older brother Scowler (Skyler Stone) is a bit of a bully and Patchi’s constant nemesis.  Then Patchi meets Juniper (Tiya Sircar) a cute girl dinosaur, and he is instantly smitten.  But Scowler likes her, too.  When dad is killed saving their life from a predator, the two brothers have to prove their mettle, fighting over who will be responsible for saving the herd and getting the girl.

And if the dialogue is awkward and the love story a little cheesy and there are way too many poop jokes, that's okay, kids won't care.  In fact, they probably would prefer it that way.

Honestly, for adults, it may be a preferable experience to watch the gorgeous grandeur of the film with your TV on mute, so you don't have be distracted by the whole silly talking dinosaur milieu.  Real dinosaurs didn't talk or have narrators, so it's not like you'll be missing much other than roaring.

Either way, it doesn't really matter.  Adults are not the target audience for Walking With Dinosaurs - The Movie, unless they happen to be bringing the kids.  No one is likely going to this film looking for subtle characterization, clever wordplay and story arc. 

They are going for the special effects, which are terrific by the way, and the action scenes, which also are impressive.  So deal with the fact that these prehistoric creatures use modern slang terms and the story doesn't exactly always make sense.  

None of that matters.  Kids love dinosaurs.  So they will undoubtedly love this movie.  And parents will end up watching it over and over again, at least until the kids grow out of it.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2014 All rights reserved. Posted: March 21, 2014.

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