Movie (Best Release)of the Week 27 Dec 2013/Johnson Thomas
Walking with Dinosaurs (3D/English) : Rating: * * * ½ Enlightening pre-historic saga with stunning vistas, superbly amalgamated live action and animation and a power house of knowledge for everyone. It’s an a-z on pre-historic creatures(mainly Dinosaurs) and gives you an education without putting you through the trauma of regimented learning. Can you beat that. Audiences of all ages can make a beeline for this one!
English Film Review
Intriguing Animation Adventure
Film: Walking with Dinosaurs(3D)
Cast(Voices): John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar, Skyler Stone, Angourie Rice
Director: Neil Nightingale, Pierre De Lespinios
Rating: * * * ½
It started off as a humble educative BBC television series and now has been transformed into a big screen animation adventure. The six-part series that inspired the movie originally aired on the BBC in 1999 and was ultimately seen by 700 million viewers globally.
This live action/CG animated adventure feature follows a courageous young Dinosaur on an incredible journey through a pre-historic world. The film obviously has a much bigger budget and state of the art technology to create a much bigger and intricately rendered canvas from the pre-historic era in order to bring it’s Cretaceous creatures to vivid life. The creatures are all remarkably life like and the colorful prehistoric parrot (voiced by John Leguizamo)steals the show.
Especially evident is the superb care and detail that went into all the character renderings. From Documentary style TV series to the more traditional animation one, the transition seems to have happened very smoothly, thanks to co-directors Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale who have made several documentaries and features.
The film opens with a modern day live- action sequence which opens into the pre-historic era through an anthropological expedition that unearths some prehistoric skeletal remains. Uncle Zack (Karl Urban) takes his disinterested nephew Ricky (Charlie Rowe) and dino-obsessed younger niece Jade (Angourie Rice) to see some dinosaur remains. When Ricky is handed a tooth by his uncle, it magically becomes colourful talking Alexornis bird Alex (John Leguizamo), who proceeds to narrate the rest of the (now animated) film. It’s basically a family-friendly film that combines computer-generated dinosaurs and real settings to tell a story of a herd on the move, struggling to survive and facing a leadership change complicated by budding romance.
The parrot Alex, is telling the coming-of-age story, going back some 70 million years, about Patchi (voiced by Justin Long), an underdog of a young Pachyrhinosaurus who’s shown the ropes by the flighty Alex (Leguizamo). Enroute to adulthood Patchi crosses paths with various prehistoric predators, including the fearsome Gorgosauraus, as well as locking horns with his older brother and the eventual leader of the herd, Scowler (Skyler Stone), and experiencing love at first sight courtesy of the fetching Juniper (Tiya Sircar).
The plotting, credited to screenwriter John Collee (Happy Feet, Master and Commander) is standard animation coming-of-age issue but the visual element, employing the cutting-edge 3D Fusion Camera System used by James Cameron for Avatar, delivers near perfect dimensions for the dinos set against actual backdrops in Alaska and New Zealand. And the 3D effects make it look all the more real!