Swanner: Walking with Dinosaurs is the $80M CGI movie that claims you’ll feel like you are right there with the dinosaurs. The story follows Patchi, who we see go from baby to adult and from underdog to hero in the span of 80 minutes. Is this the perfect Christmas film to spend your money on? Maybe if you have some 5-year-old boys around, but for everyone else it’s just The Land Before Time but half as entertaining.
Judd: 80 minutes? The movie was only 80 minutes? Are you sure it wasn’t 180 minutes? While the movie was beautiful to watch, with stunning cinematography and scenery that nature documentarian Neil Nightingale made sure of, the movie itself was very poor. The writing by John Collee is a Filmmaking 101 script that relies heavily on scatological humor to fill in the lulls in dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good poop joke, but I’ll take one joke with a proper splash rather than a dozen dry little nuggets.
Swanner: It felt like I was watching a “Let’s learn about Dinosaurs” documentary that’s geared toward very young children. The storyline has these dinosaurs migrating to the south and then back to the north. I’m not sure how many times this happened because after a while I got caught up in contemplating my own death. We do see the young dinosaurs grow up and we see them fighting for placement in the heard. My favorite part is we see the females only ambition is to become mate to the leader. Always a good lesson for a young girl — marry for power.
Judd: I liked the “Let’s Learn” aspect with each character being introduced by a voice-over stating the Latin name and the meaning. I thought that was fun for both adult and child, but the lack of narrative bogged the movie down. You mentioned the movie covering several migrations, while I felt like it covered only two. That is a serious problem with the script if the viewer can’t get a sense of time. Sure, what 5-year-old is going to notice or care? But that 5-year-old isn’t driving himself to the theater and paying for his own ticket. You mention the female lead marrying for power — while it seemed to me she didn’t have much choice in the situation. She was literally a trophy bride. I hear she spends most of the sequel barefoot and pregnant.
Swanner: I’m sure there were other ugly dinosaurs that the leader of the pack could have settled with but I digress. The other big problem I had was that we heard the dinosaur’s voices but their mouths didn’t move. Granted dinosaurs didn’t talk, but they also weren’t telepathic either. I think in this day and age if the creatures are speaking to each other their lips should move. It’s just lazy filmmaking. Maybe this epic was supposed to be narrated and it just didn’t work out, but as far as I’m concerned, this didn’t work out either. I’m very surprised this film is coming out for Christmas. It stinks of direct-to-video and that’s where I’d suggest you see it.
Judd: How do you know they didn’t speak telepathically? Never mind, you were in your teens then. I forgot. The film had bigger problems than dinos with ESP. The kiddies are going to love it, but the adults are going to be staring at their watches and timing the intervals between fecal references. The story isn’t nearly engrossing enough, and beautiful scenery and expensive CGI doesn’t a blockbuster make – unless it’s written and directed by James Cameron. The movie looks too expensive to be direct-to-video, but the script is certainly stop-motion.
Swanner: 1 Star
Judd: 1 Star