The BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs receives a child-friendly big-screen treatment - complete with cutesy story and dino-poop jokes - in Walking With Dinosaurs. Aimed squarely at the dino-crazy demographic (ages 7 to 12), the film pumps a few IQ points into a kid-film genre sorely in need of them.
The BBC series Walking With Dinosaurs receives a child-friendly big-screen treatment — complete with cutesy story and dino-poop jokes — in Walking With Dinosaurs.
Aimed squarely at the dino-crazy demographic (ages 7 to 12), the film pumps a few IQ points into a kid-film genre sorely in need of them.
The movie indentifies each dinosaur species introduced, including factoids about what they ate and any special skills they might have had.
It is downright educational (although youngsters need not be told that).
Combining striking cinematography of some of the last great remote places on Earth (Alaska) with state-of-the art dinosaur animation, Walking is another Great Migration tale — herbivores heading south at the onset of Alaskan winter, hounded by carnivores and omnivores.
A feeble framing device packs teenage Ricky (Charlie Rowe) and his little sister, Jade (Angourie Rice), off to visit their paleontologist uncle (Karl Urban) in Alaska. Jade is OK with digging for dinosaurs, but Ricky would rather play with his phone.
A raven voiced by John Leguizamo draws the boy’s attention and tells him about the bird’s ancestor, an Alexornis.
“Alex” is friends with a pachyrhinosaur, “Patchi,” voiced by Justin Long.
We follow the baby Patchi out of the nest, through a few near-death experiences and into adulthood as he migrates south with his herd, tries to stick to his bigger, tougher brother Scowler (Skylar Stone) and catch the eye of the fetching Juniper (Tiya Sircar).
They endure attacks, injuries and the threat of a forest fire.
And, of course, the film has poop jokes and sibling-rivalry zingers.
The biggest laughs, though, stem from sight gags of the type you might catch in an inviting nature film.
Co-directors Barry Cook (Mulan) and nature-film veteran Neil Nightingale come up with astonishing animation and an approach just smart enough to retain viewer interest.
The story within this package might be too childish for those older than 12, but the research behind it and effort to pass that knowledge on to young dinosaur fans make Walking With Dinosaurs as at home in the classroom as it is in theaters.