As most people know, there once was a time when Dinosaurs roamed the Earth. We’ve uncovered thousands of bones that have aided us in piecing together what they look like, what they ate, and how they lived. Through studying current land, sea, and air creatures, it’s been hypothesized that Dinosaurs acted in similar ways and slowly devolved.
Patchi (Justin Long) is the smallest of his kin. He’s always last to get food and the first to get in trouble. Patchi and his brother, Scowler (Sayler Stone), are the two Pachyrhinoceros’ who may one day lead the herd to safety. For the time being, their father is the one who will take them through the current migration. On the journey, lightning strikes the forest and everything catches fire. Trapped by the flames and an oncoming Velociraptor, Patchi and Scowler were in danger, until their father sacrificed himself for their protection. Now, the two had to find the herd and continue their journey through migration and Dinosaur puberty.
Some years down the line, Patchi and Scowler have grown up and are both able to challenge the herd leader. Naturally, Scowler beats the leader and is now in charge. With his new leadership position, he bullies Patchi and even takes his Dinosaur sweetheart, Juniper (Tiya Sircar). During their current migration, the threat from dreaded Gorgosaurus is higher than ever. With Scowler’s level of immaturity, it’s up to Patchi to save his herd and learn to stand up for himself.
So… This is a film that’s geared for kids. I get that. However, I have serious doubts that kids are going to enjoy Walking With Dinosaurs, let alone get any references made in the movie. With Oscar potential movies coming out the same day as this film, I guess it makes sense that there should be a bad movie that comes out too. This film really is less about Dinosaurs and more about trying to make kids laugh and stare at the animation (which is the films strongest aspect). This review is not going to be pretty, so I guess we’ll just jump right in!
At only 87 minutes, this film felt like it went on for hours. The pace is so incredibly slow and certain sequences are dragged out for no reason. As you guessed, there’s a whole lot of walking going on in this film. Then, there’s more walking and after that, even more walking. I felt like I was watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but this time they’d been replaced with Dinosaurs. An unnecessarily long time is spent establishing who some supporting characters are and then they get their own little drawn out story. The point is, the Dinosaurs look cool and we want them to be cool, but they just spend most of their time walking and talking about really unrealistic and stupid things.
So, those unrealistic and stupid things really, really pissed me off during the movie. If this is a film set 70 Million years ago, I don’t get why Dinosaurs are making current pop culture references and are also making jokes about extinction (which hadn’t happened yet). More than that, these Dinosaurs speak perfect English, but can only communicate with one an other telepathically. That, and only four Dinosaurs can do that. Every other Dinosaur either didn’t posses that ability, or chose to just roar instead. I know that this is a kids movie, I get it, but this film didn’t need the line “He’s a big Dinosaur. Wait, big Dinosaur means big poop!” Can you guess what happened after that? Yeah, a little Dinosaur got pooped on by a big Dinosaur…
Perhaps I’m alone on this one, but I found most of the narrating in this story to be really frustrating. On top of having pop culture fueled, telepathic Pachyrhinoceros’, there was also a talking Alexornis that narrated most of the story. Voiced by John Leguizamo, Alex the Alexornis had a stereotypical Hispanic accent, while the other Dinosaurs spoke fluent English. Why? Also, every time a new Dinosaur was introduced, the film froze on the image of the Dinosaur and gave us some fun facts about it. An annoying five-year-old girl to the time to read off the name, meaning of the name, and the fact that the Dinosaur at hand was either a herbivore, carnivore, or omnivore. While cute at first, this continuous fact spouting got really annoying, especially when a few minutes is dedicated to making fun of a Dinosaur for its small hands.
Above all, I just wish this film had some sort of plot. All the film does is follow Patchi as he grows up through a few different migrations. That’s it. Just a lot of walking and jokes about how Dinosaurs aren’t extinct (yet). There’s one moment where Patchi and Juniper stare at the Aurora Borealis that is the best moment in the film. No one is talking, walking, or joking around and the visual is just spectacular. The love subplot is barely exercised and it all comes down to Patchi taking on his unnecessarily jerky brother. This film just has no purpose and it’s upsetting because it looks really nice.
I really tried to stay positive during this movie, but every ounce of hope I had was defeated by a stupid joke, usually involving poop. Do kids even find that funny still? Obviously this film isn’t geared for me, but when very few kids seem to enjoy the movie, I think that’s telling. A little girl was screaming during the screening and I’d like to think it was because she was done with all the walking around. There were so many other types of Dinosaurs that could have been in this film, but they instead went with the least known and most annoying ones. I was pulling for a Little Foot cameo, but that golden ray of sun never came. I really hated this movie, but the animation is what barely kept it alive. I certainly can’t recommend this to anyone older than 5, and even then, I’m not sure I’d recommend that people take their kids to this either.
Walking With Dinosaurs Trailer