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article imageReview: ‘Walking with Dinosaurs 3D’ is scholarly storytelling Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Dec 22, 2013 in Entertainment
‘Walking with Dinosaurs 3D’ recreates their habitat to tell the story of an underdog dinosaur who succeeds and becomes a hero.
Adorable animals are at the centre of the animation world. They don’t require months of training and multiple takes, but are equally capable of capturing audience’s hearts. Generally the personification is absolute, virtually turning the critters into furry humans. But then there’s the everyday characterization in which we imagine what animals — usually pets — may be thinking in spite of their inability to clearly communicate. Similarly in Walking with Dinosaurs 3D, the reptiles are going about their business while voice actors superimpose their actions with a narrative.
Patchi (Justin Long) was the runt of his Pachyrhinosaurus litter, though it didn’t affect his confidence. His big brother Scowler (Skyler Stone), on the other hand, was self-assured and growing to inherit their father’s throne. Not interested in leadership, Patchi was content to hang out with his bird friend Alex (John Leguizamo), an Alexornis, and Juniper (Tiya Sircar), a female Pachyrhinosaurus from another pack. But Alex predicted Patchi would achieve great things and after a tragedy at the (tiny) hands of a Gorgosaurus, a faster, sleeker version of the Tyrannosaurus rex, life in the pack will never be the same.
This 3D dinosaur adventure is geared towards children and the Cretaceous curious. It begins with a paleontologist (Karl Urban) heading out to a dig site, where he found the tooth of a Gorgosaurus. How the tooth was lost is the basis for the tale. As new species are introduced into the story, the picture is paused and a child reads the scientific name of the creature and a few additional details. More information is sprinkled throughout the dialogue, such as the beast's food preferences. Since this is educational entertainment, the dinosaurs are not caricatures, but rather accurate representations of the real animals.
As mentioned earlier, though the dialogue does seem appropriate to the action on screen, none of the beasts actually appear to be speaking. Therefore it feels like the script exists outside of the images, causing it to lack some coherence. The narrative is comparable to most other coming-of-age animations; it's just presented slightly differently. And even though 3D is suitable for the subject, it's not exceptional.
Long once again portrays the underdog, which is a character he's mastered over the years. Leguizamo returns to the prehistoric era, this time wiser and more colorful as he amuses viewers with another voice recognizable from his stand-up arsenal.
Directors: Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale
Starring: Justin Long, John Leguizamo and Karl Urban
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