Story: Walking with Dinosaurs Movie – Set in the Late Cretaceous period, this is the story of an underdog dinosaur called Patchi (Long) who, in a coming-of-age tale, has to conquer various odds.
After a human live-action prelude, the film gets down to trade. Young dinosaur Patchi the Pachyrhinosaurus, his family and friends have to deal with various challenges that the prehistoric environment and its creature present them as they migrate south for the winter.
There’s also a side helping of romance when Alex falls for female dinosaur Juniper (Sircar). He also has a rivalry with the aptly-titled Scowler (Stone), who is his brother. as well, there’s Alex (Leguizamo), a time-travelling raven with the extensive vocabulary of an English professor. He provides wisdom and banter in more or less the same measure while perched on Patchi as the latter lives and learns life’s lessons each day.
In this sense, Patchi’s journey, of getting enough experience and maturity before being able to take on the world, is somewhat reminiscent of The Lion King. The best part about this film is the animation. The various dinosaurs are very nicely rendered with all contour and details of skin and scale being rendered well enough to keep kids entertained with their realism. The live action scenery looks properly prehistoric.
However, the biggest letdown is the wafer-thin plot and some silly dialogues marring an otherwise decent story. Alex the raven’s lines get a bit annoying after a point, making you wish you had a mute button. For a film where so much effort has been put into making the CGI effects look good, a similar amount of emphasis and importance haven’t been devoted to dialogues. The moments of wit in the script are few and far between. The odd thing is that despite being in a prehistoric setting, there are many modern references made.
Partly based on the BBC’s 1999 TV documentary mini-series bearing the same name, the only thing that works best for this film is the successful melding of CGI dinosaurs in live-action (from Alaska to New Zealand) landscape settings.