Film: "Walking With Dinosaurs 3D"; Cast: Karl Urban, Angourie Rice, Charlie Rowe; Voiceovers: John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar, Skyler Stone; Directors: Neil Nightingale, Barry Cook; Rating: *** 1/2 - a visual delight for kids.
From the hearth of BBC Earth Films, "Walking The Dinosaurs" is an edutainment film that educates the audience about animals, particularly the dinosaurs that wandered on the surface of the planet, about 70 million years ago, during the Creataceous period.
This is not a documentary film. In fact, it is a charming love story bordered around the hero's journey of existence. It exposes the dinosaurs' survival instincts in a truthful and convincing manner.
The film starts off with a present-day scene, where Paleontologist Zack (Karl Urban) tugs along his niece Jade (Angourie Rice) and disinterested nephew Ricky (Charlie Rowe) to the Alaskan hinterland to excavate and study a dinosaur tooth in his custody.
On the outskirts of the forested land, Ricky encounters Alex (John Leguizamo), a talking crow who tells him, "Every fossil tells a story. It opens a window to the ancient past."
With this, Alex morphs into an Alexornis, or a sort of prehistoric parrot and zooms into the sky teleporting the audience to the prehistoric period.
Here, Alex introduces the audience to Patchi, (Justin Long) a baby Pachyrhinosaurus and his tribe. The Pachyrhinosaurus is a strange choice for heroism. This dinosaur, which looks like a rhinoceros, has a thick skin, a bulbous nose and several horns, one of them growing from a tuft of flesh that blooms on its head like a thick leaf.
Patchi, who is the weakest among the litter, lacks in size but makes up with his courage. During one of his early adventurous exposures, he acquires a hole in his crown thus making him unique. He often stumbles along behind the herd, occasionally being tormented by his older alpha sibling Scowler (Skyler Stone).
Apart from the Pachyrhinosaurus, there are a plethora of dinosaurs and other wildlife creatures that keep you glued to the screen. The most prominent and magnificent of the lot are the lizard hipped dinosaurs, the two and a half tonnes, fierce looking Gorgosaurus and the duck-billed Edmontonsaurus.
The film shows the rugged and harsh realities of nature's survival dispositions. To make the film palpable, the plot involves family bonding, romance between Patchi and Juniper (Tiya Sircar), a Pachyrhinosaurus from another tribe, and team spirit.
John Collee's screenplay is simple and uncomplicated, keeping in mind that it is targeting kids. But, unfortunately, the narration is verbose and continuous, and thus one tends to be attentive in order to ensure that you do not miss a vital link.
Dialogues like, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." or "They are going to have a dinner party and you are going to be the main course," bring in the wry British humour.
The images provided by director of photography, John Brooks are life-like and real. The animated, computer generated images seem so authentic that it makes you believe you are in that era. The wide-angled images capturing the migrating herds look amazingly naturalistic.
The 3D effects are very effective especially in the scene where Patchi shrugs off the crab or when the omnivorous squirrel jumps to catch its prey. These scenes are out of the ordinary.
The background score too is engaging. The vocals are lively and especially the last number "Live like a warrior," invigorates a sense of heroism.
Directors Neil Nightingale and Barry Cook's "Walking With Dinosaurs" is indeed a gorgeous visual feast that would delight kids.