‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ film features thrilling visuals

Hollywood Soapbox logoIt’s quite easy to be taken in by the animated majesty of Walking With Dinosaurs, the big-screen adaptation of the successful live-arena show and BBC docu-series. The film has little plot and not much characterization, instead relying on its visuals to tell a complete story about the perils faced by these now fossilized creatures. Its watchability is largely based on that inner-child that yearns to see dinosaurs walk, roar and hunt.

Star Trek’s Karl Urban shows up in a rather unnecessary bookend to the piece. The humans, who receive little screen time in the short film, are not the main draw here. The story kicks into high prehistoric gear after the dinosaurs are discovered and their story is told. The loose plot centers on an underdog dino trying to earn respect in the herd. The premise will be familiar to most audience members, even the young ones, but it’s still easy to appreciate the film because the plot is an opportunity to see the visuals.

There’s no denying that Walking With Dinosaurs is one of the best-looking dinosaur films ever. One reason for this could have to do with its origins. The BBC TV series, which has attained legendary status, was focused on science and visual splendor. The dinos were meticulously crafted, and there was focus on many species, rather than the usual heavy hitters like the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Brontosaurus. Many a dinosaur species receives time in the spotlight.

It would be great to see the film in 3D. The dinosaurs pop off the screen and take on an impressive dimension, especially our main prehistoric dude, Patchi (voiced by Justin Long). There are times when the “characters” in the film say corny lines and ridiculous one-liners, and there’s likely no one in the audience who doesn’t see the ending coming from a million years away. However, there’s an undeniable charm in the simplicity and bonafide goodness of the plot. Walking With Dinosaurs will have visuals that impress the parents and a storyline that keeps kids entertained, at least for an hour and a half.

Granted, aspiring paleontologists could become quite bored, but the majority of viewers will take away a great deal of entertainment. It’s an imperfect film about awesome subject matter. I loved it like I was a kid again.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

  • Walking With Dinosaurs

  • 2013

  • Directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale

  • Written by John Collee

  • Featuring the voice talents of Justin Long, John Leguizamo, Skyler Stone and Tiya Sircar

  • Starring Karl Urban

  • Running time: 85 minutes

  • Rating: ★★★☆

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

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