Thursday, April 17, 2014


My son was really excited when a blu-ray of WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE MOVIE arrived in the mail courtesy of Fox Home Entertainment for our family to review.  The movie revolves around how Patchi, the runt of a group of Pachyrhinosaurus hatchlings, goes from being the smallest dinosaur to leader of their herd.  The film is an educational and entertaining look at the world of prehistoric dinosaurs who lived in what is now Alaska.

The movie starts out with a live action sequence that has Paleontologist Zack (played by Karl Urban) taking his niece and nephew, Ricky and Jade, on a fossil hunt.  They are going to a site where Uncle Zack had found a Gorgosaurus tooth to see if they can locate some more fossils.  While Jade is excited to join her uncle in the search for dinosaur bones her brother Ricky shows teenage angst and just wants to stay at the car and play his video games.  While Uncle Zack and Jade are off exploring, Ricky has an encounter with a talking crow who teases him about not joining in the fossil hunt.  The crow begins to discuss the relationship between birds and dinosaurs and morphs into Alex the Alexornis bird who transports the movie audience back in time 70 million years to the Cretaceous period of Earth's history and tells the story of Patchi the Pachyrhinosaurus.

While I understand the crow scene being used as a bridge between the times it is really lame, but my kids thought the segment was neat so younger kids will probably like it.  Alex the Alexornis (voiced by John Leguizamo) is meant to be the film's tour guide, primary narrator, and comedic relief.  My kids and I really didn't care for the character though finding him to be annoying and the worst part of the movie.  That being said, if you can disregard Alex the movie is pretty good.  While the crow scene is cheesy it does an excellent job of transition from the real world to the animated sequences of the movie.  The nice part of starting the move with live actors in a real wilderness location is that when the animated scenes begin you still get the feel as if you are still seeing live action footage.  This transition blurs the lines between special effects and real scenery which is impressive. The animation in the movie is really good giving viewers the impression the you really are walking with dinosaurs in their natural environment.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS shows dinosaurs behaving that teaches children about both how they lived 70 million years ago and how animals live today.  Just before we watched this movie, my kids had been visiting over at my parents house and looked at pictures of the great crane migration from a vacation their grandparents had taken to Nebraska the previous year.  During the movie my daughter pointed out that the dinosaurs were migrating like the cranes in the pictures her grandmother had recently shown her.  A few days after we watched the movie, I took my kids on a trip to the zoo.  Two rhinos were jousting against each other smashing their horns together.  My son pointed out while we were watching the rhinos that the animals were competing to be the leader of the herd just like the Pachyrhinosaurus in the dinosaur movie.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS is a family movie geared mostly for elementary school aged children. There are some violent scenes that may not be appropriate for younger viewers that include the carnivourous Gorgosaurus hunting the herbivore Pachyrhinosaurus, including a scene where Patchi's father is killed by these predators. The movie is rated PG.

The Gorgosaurus tooth Uncle Zack found ties in to Patchi's encounters with the owner of that tooth.  The film promotes a nice theme of every fossil has a story.  Patchi's story is tied to that fossil.  It can be hard to associate rocky fossils with breathing creatures living lives full of experiences.  This movie helps put a sense of reality onto the fossils you see at a museum.

WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE MOVIE is now available to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray.  The Blu-ray has some nice special features attached to it:

"The Ultimate Dino Guide" that allows you to go on a journey to uncover the greatest secrets of your favorite dinos and learn about other Cretaceous creatures.  Check out this clip from the bonus feature:

"Match the Call" hear how Dinos communicated with friends and foes.  Do you have the skills to learn and identify the calls of specific dinos?

"Interactive Map" provides a tour of where dinos roamed the earth and comparing it to where people live today.

"Brainosaur Trivia Track" when turned on lets you become a dino expert as pop-up tips and trivia entertain and educate you while watching the movie.

After watching WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE MOVIE with my own kids, I have to admit they probably were still a little too young for the movie being 5 year old preschoolers but I believe it really is an excellent movie for children probably 1st grade and up to watch with their parents as a family movie. The animated sequences are well done and it provides a nice story of best friends Patchi, Scowler and Juniper growing up from hatchlings to adults struggling to find their  place in the world.  It provides a nice visual of how the world was in Cretaceous times bringing the dinosaur bones from the museum to life.  This is a great example of a family movie that combines entertainment with educational elements.  As a parent you'll have to sit through some hokey scenes in this movie but your children will enjoy it and learn a little too so I recommend you pick up a copy for your video library.

If you watch WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE MOVIE, print out these two interactive sheets below to hold a dinosaur egg hunt of your own to enhance your viewing experience:

DISCLAIMER:  I received a complimentary blu-ray of WALKING WITH DINSOSAURS: THE MOVIE to review as part of my involvement with the FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT INSIDERS bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.

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