Review: Walking with Dinosaurs is Better Suited for the Discovery Channel

Griffin Conlogue ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
Walking With Dinosaurs is a 3D family film about a dinosaur and his herd’s migration.  The lead character Patchi, voiced by Justin Long, must lead his older brother Scowler (Skyler Stone) and his love interest Juniper (Tiya Sircar) back to the pack after they are separated. Patchi is the runt of his litter; he has a hole in his boss (the top part of the dinosaurs head) and is a weakling.  The movie shows his underdog story as he goes from the lowest of the low to the leader of the pack.
The film has some extraordinary visuals and the animation is top-notch.  The dinosaurs look like what one would imagine they would really look like, and it is easy to occasionally imagine this isn’t an animated film.  The film is also an educational experience, which is a just cause for parents to take their children to see it.  It often pauses to explain what specific dinosaurs are, much in the way How to Train Your Dragon had done for their fictitious dragons.  The style and educational value of the film are definitely the highlights of this picture.

Walking with Dinosaurs 3D. Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox - © 2013.
Walking with Dinosaurs 3D. Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox – © 2013.
Unfortunately, it is the narrative that struggles to hold interest.  The plot is quite boring.  The tension isn’t really there at most points, and tense moments are usually introduced by the character voiced by John Leguizamo in order to warn young viewers.  The directors of the film are too worried about making this film enjoyable for very small children that they loaded the film with really juvenile humor and an easy to understand story.  Most of the characters in the film do not talk at all.  In fact, only the 4 primary dinosaurs speak.  This actually takes away from the actual quality aspects of the film.  The visuals and educational value of the film are muddled by the distracting and boring plot.  It is clear that this would have been better suited as a Discovery Channel special.  This 80+ million dollar production will probably limp to this number at the box office, and the producers will pray to break even.
At a brisk 80 minutes, this film is an easy viewing for adults to take their children to.  Though it will probably fail to keep any over the age of 10 entertained, those younger will be engrossed by the visuals and the childish humor that is peppered throughout the film.
Overall Grade: C-

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