VOICE CAST: John Leguizamo, Justin Long; Skyler Stone; Tiya Sircar DIRECTORS: Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale SCREENWRITER: John Collee DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: John Brooks EDITOR: John Carnochan MUSIC: Paul Leonard-Morgan PRODUCERS: Mike Devlin, Amanda Hill, Deepak Nayar EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Stuart Ford, Marcus Arthur, Tim Hill, David Nicksay, Miles Ketley, Zareh Nalbandian DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox GENRE: Action/Adventure, Animation, Kids LOCATION: Alaska and New Zealand RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes
Technical assessment: 3.5
Moral assessment: 3.5
MTRCB rating: G (for all ages)
CINEMA rating: V 13 (for Viewers 13 years old and below, with parental guidance)
Dinosaurs Patchi (Justin Long) and Scowler (Skyler Stone) are brothers from the Pachyrhinosaurus family—meaning “thick-nosed lizard” in Greek. When they happen to watch their father in a fierce and fatal battle with a gorgosaur—meeting his death when pinned down by a fallen tree—life changes for the orphaned brothers. Tough guy Scowler has ambitions to succeed his father as alpha male of the tribe, while his younger brother Patchi is quite content in not being the strongest or the biggest dino of the herd. Circumstances, however, lead the brothers to the unexpected. In their trek for survival, they are accompanied by Patchi’s loyal friend, the parrot Alex (John Leguizamo).
The most outstanding thing about Walking with dinosaurs is the extensive research made towards the creation of the movie. Walking with dinosaurs is a feature update of the six-part BBC television show (with the same name) that boasted 700 million viewers globally when it was shown in 1999. The research and the cutting edge 3D Fusion Camera System (used for Avatar by James Cameron) combine to recreate the earth and its creatures 70 million years ago. Grafting the television series’ documentary style onto the full-feature format to craft a movie that young and old alike could relate to, the creative team of Cook, Nightingale and Collee spins the coming-of-age tale that shows Patchi as a hatchling up to the time it finds a mate, punctuated by dinosaur data superimposed on the screen and voiced over, adding a lecture feel to it.
To the viewers’ delight, a dinosaur is humanized in Walking with dinosaurs. Patchi’s development—from the nest, through his navigation of his environment, his trek for survival, his inevitable conflict with his brother, and the love-at-first-sight he had for…well, pretty (by dinosaur standards) and fair-complexioned Juniper (Tiya Sircar), is portrayed in a manner that would endear an otherwise ugly, lumbering, tough-hided prehistoric predator to viewers. What boy would not go through life as Patchi did? The emotions are so real—sorrow, joy, fear, love, jealousy, anger—even if in the back of your head you’d honestly doubt if dinosaurs were capable of feeling as they are made out to be in this movie. But could dinosaurs forgive and love unconditionally? Let the last few minutes of Walking with dinosaurs answer that—and maybe put many humans to shame.