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'Walking With Dinosaurs' - visual delight for kids (Movie Review)

By Troy Ribeiro, Film: "Walking With Dinosaurs"; Cast: Karl Urban, Angourie Rice and Charlie Rowe; Voices of: John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar and Skyler Stone; Directors:


Neil Nightingale and Barry Cook; Rating: ***1/2

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 a disinterested nephew
Ricky (Charlie Rowe) to the Alaskan hinterland to excavate and study a dinosaur
tooth that he has 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 for 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 keeps you glued to the screen. The most prominent and magnificent of the lot were the lizard hipped dinosaurs; the two and a half ton fierce looking Gorgosaurus and the duck-billed Edmontonsaurus.

These are introduced along the way with freeze-frame shots and superimposed
descriptions of their names and their meanings.

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.

Screenwriter 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 natural.

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.

--IANS (Posted on 28-12-2013)

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