Director: Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale
Voices: Charlie Rowe, Karl Urban, Angourie Rice, John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Skyler Stone, Scowler, Tiya Sircar
The Indian Express rating: **
CAN Walking With Dinosaurs have the prattle of Happy Feet? You would think not, and not the least because the two films involve wildly different creatures. However, watching the first, you wouldn’t know the difference. A short story about a Pachyrhinosaurus with a difference, who is small in size, has a hole in his sort-of ear, goes on to save his herd, falls in love and has babies of its own — ring a bell? — is bathed in cuteness completely disproportionate to the dangers crawling in that world.
Presumably dinosaurs in the dinosaur era (70 million years ago) were confident fellows with no inkling of the wipeout ahead. However, they still lived in inhospitable times of scarce food, forest fires, ferocious predators, and few friends. Shouldn’t writer John Collee, who also wrote Happy Feet, not treat it with the same breathless tone of barely concealed giggles and smart-alecky asides? Particularly as they are not even a patch on the original Happy Feet.
And if that isn’t enough, Walking With Dinosaurs, involving computer-animated dinosaurs in live-action settings, is also faux documentary-like in how it pauses to explain us the numerous awesome details of the dinosaurs filling its screen. A child reads out the scientific names, the meaning, and where that particular creature is placed in the food chain. In the case of one particularly ferocious dinosaur, there is a whole animation explaining all that it can do.
Obviously, Walking With Dinosaurs 3D, produced by BBC Earth and named after a BBC TV documentary miniseries, takes its dinosaurs seriously. And given the detailing and the variety, they did go to great length to get it right. It’s sad then that such magnificent creatures have been laid unnecessarily low by the dialogues humans have saddled them with.