Walking With Dinosaurs Blu-Ray Review
Have you ever been watching a documentary on TV and thought to yourself, “This is fantastic. But it’d be so much better, if instead of learning, I had a couple of voiceovers that enjoyed scatological humor and a couple of characters that are incredibly silly”? If you’ve ever thought that during BLUE PLANET and LIFE, I now hate you. That’s because the writers behind WALKING WITH DINOSAURS 3D most likely thought the same thing and slapped together one of the worst films of 2013.
The story centers around a trio of pachyrhinosaurus, but for this review’s sake, let’s just call them dinosaurs. The first obnoxious one of the bunch is called Patchi (Long). His lack of survival skills is coupled by his multiple shortcomings. He fails at being a lovable goofball because he has no charm. Then there’s his older, annoying brother, Scowler (Skyler Stone). He puts up this tough guy facade and sounds like a stereotypical high school jock who bullies for a sense of entitlement. The third is the love at first glance friend of the two brothers, Juniper (Sircar). She has no personality. Her time is divided between spouting reactionary comments to scenarios and being used as the object of ownership between the two. I would say she’s the love interest, but neither Patchi or Scowler establishes their affection for her and simply looks at her as property to squabble and brutalize each other over.
I know that certain creatures in the animal kingdom, past and present, don’t experience the emotion of love, but it would have been better to avoid that situation altogether. To me it’s obvious that the two males in the movie are simply expressing dominance to attract the female, like many animals do. I know that would be hard to describe to the target audience, but by having the female vocalize that she’s simply going along with the most physically abusive male is a worrisome message to deliver to young children. The simple solution would have just been to axe one of the males from this script or to just follow along with only one dinosaur. While I could fill up an entire notebook of pointers on fixing this lumbering disaster, it’s much easier to say I hate this and move on.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS does have facts sprinkled in throughout the movie, but they’re so inconsistent and random that your average child viewer will most likely disregard this information and instead remember all the times our leads talked about stepping in or smelling poop. There isn’t a single clever joke in this movie. The voice work is mediocre at best. It’s obvious that our cast was able to cash their check before they stepped in the studio. John Leguizamo is the vocal glimmer of hope as he provides the only effort as a narrative bird by the name of Alex.
The only saving grace is how well shot this movie is. Sweeping shots of gorgeous landscapes dotted with prehistoric, well crafted, CGI monsters that blend perfectly into their live-action background. You can thank the people of BBC Earth for that. They’ve created world class documentaries and I feel like they wanted to create another. Despite their best efforts, someone decided to drag it through the mud after completion. Without some masterful camerawork, this movie would have sat at a big fat zero. What a waste of cinematic potential.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (Widescreen 2:39:1) Like I said, no problems at all with the visuals. The HD quality is great.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) Technically speaking, there’s nothing wrong with the audio. You’ll just want to mute the voices.
Ultimate Dino Guide: A very in-depth, interactive feature where you can learn very specific qualities about dinosaurs. This is very educational feature, not necessarily aimed at children either. It allows you to select different creatures to learn about them as well as where they lived on the Earth.
Match the Call: This is up for one of the most annoying games ever. You listen to the grunting and screeching call of a dinosaur and match it to what dinosaur you think it is. Definitely a game for kids and one you’ll want to play on a low volume.
Interactive Map: This is an odd feature. This is a subfeature of the Ultimate Dino Guide. It allows you to look at a map and see where specific dinos lived. As to why this has been separated into it’s own category or even slid into the Dino Guide is a strange choice.
Brainosaur Trivia Track: Much to my horror, this feature began playing the movie again. I swallowed the bitter pill and allowed the movie to continue to figure out what it was. It pops up information at the bottom of the screen about the creatures. Might want to check this feature before starting the movie so at least you have something to read while being drilled with bad dialogue.
Nickelodeon Orange Carpet Dino Rap (1:01): The premiere network for children’s television and cartoons should be ashamed. A child actor that I don’t know raps about dinosaurs. This feels painfully long at only one minute and feels needless at just over 60 seconds.