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So, you’re really going to make me do this?
OK, humor me. Just please answer this one question.
Why do you want me to review this movie so badly? What do you possibly have to gain? And what does Mr. Conductor have to do with this?!
You’ve perverted an innocent creation! It’s like giving Winnie the Pooh a gun!
I said I’d get to it eventually. I wanted to do the other Walking With entries first. I haven’t even done Chased By Dinosaurs, or Walking With Monsters, and I still want to do that arena show as well! This can wait!
Well, yeah, eventually, but what does that have to do with anything.
Well Cynodont, is this true?
Woah, that’s a little harsh, don’t you think? I mean, I know I’m pretty sub par, but…
Hey! There is still plenty of things I can look at. There is no shortage of dinosaur related media and art to look at, not to mention discoveries being made everyday! Look, I know I’m just an enthusiast. No, I’m not a paleontologist, I’m just a college kid who likes dinosaurs and finds validation in a couple of people reading my stuff. And yes, paleontology is changing so much these days I’m having a hard time making sure the information I use here is correct and not from the first crackpot pseudo-science article I find on the internet. But I a still have a lot I can talk about, and I’m not giving up that easily. I’ll keep doing this, even if I have to review toyetic TMNT ripoffs like Dinosaucers or Extreme Dinosaurs, even if i have to review terrible SciFi Original Movies like Raptor Island or Pterodactyl. I won’t stop even if I have to review those 50’s B-movies that put horns and fins on an iguana and call it a Brontosaurus!
I imagine those reviews being either really short or really long. And angry.
THIS MOVIE WILL NOT BREAK ME!!!
Oh no, that voice! It can’t be. NO, its……
Oh, OK, you just sound like a certain actor whose voice director wanted to offend a myriad of Hispanics.
Oh no no no! You’re good. So, what, you’re supposed to be some sort of bird or something.
Um, no. you’re forcing me to see this, remember? *nudge,nudge*
I saw the Blockbuster Buster review.
Hey, I wasn’t going to spend money on this crap! Most of the things I’ve reviewed here I own, could find online, can do research on, or remember fondly. Why do you think I’ve been holding this thing off?
Guys, lay off.
I DON’T CARE ABOUT THIS ONGOING STORY CRAP! I CAME HERE FOR THE REVIEW! GET ON WITH IT!!
OK, OK! Jesus!
I remember when I first heard they were making a theatrical Walking With Dinosaurs. At first I thought they were going to re-release the mini-series on the big screen, with perhaps some updated science and special effects or something. But then I heard it was an original story, and I was kind of excited. There hasn’t been a good big budget dinosaur movie in a long time, and with it being WWD there is a good chance we can see some actual scientifically accurate recreations on the big screen. I was certainly looking forward to it.
Then the first trailer came out, and it looked pretty good. It seemed very much like the original show, with a narrator explaining the science behind everything but for the most part letting the visuals tell the story. Then the second trailer came out, and something has changed.
And its name is Justin Long.
The scenes that once sported a narrator were replaced by Justin Long talking over the actions of a baby Pachyrhinosaurus. In the first person.
Justin Long was voicing the dinosaur.
Sorry, I’m going a little meme crazy here. I’ll stop. For now.
Well, anyway, my biggest fear was realized. To appease to a wider audience, they added voices to the movie. But even then, I kept my hopes up. I remembered the animated film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. That is one of my favorite movies. It has a wild stallion with Matt Damon voicing the thoughts of this creature from time to time, but only when it was most necessary. Most of the story is told through the animation, but enough exposition was provided through Matt’s inclusion that it didn’t alienate audiences. I thought that was the perfect mix of this sort of thing, and this WWD trailer kind of looked like it would go that direction. So I continued to hope.
Then I saw the last trailer.
And the TV spots.
And the movie clips.
They’re no longer taking this movie seriously.
The voices don’t add anything, they don’t make things easier to understand. They are there to make unfunny jokes and pander to the audience like they can’t be entertained unless some wacky voice is saying something funny. It’s insulting to anyone older who was even remotely interested in this movie with an IQ above Barney. The studio added the voices because they were afraid a silent movie would alienate an audience. I’m sorry FOX, but by adding voices you alienated probably the best audience you had going for this movie: actual dinosaur fans.
But, this blog isn’t about how good the movie was. It’s about how good the dinosaurs were. And this movie better be pretty freaking grateful for that.
The movie revolves around a herd of Pachyrhinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous in what is now Alaska. First off, I’m glad to see a mainstream movie depict dinosaurs in an environment other than steamy jungle or tropical plain. Dinosaurs inhabited a wide variety of habitats, especially in the Cretaceous. In fact, we see dinosaurs in snow, which is very rare in dinosaur media.
If I had one complaint about this environment, however, it’s that the film was shot in modern-day Alaska, which looks very different now than it did in the late Cretaceous. For one thing, their wouldn’t have been as many mountains, for the actions that would create the great mountain ranges of North America were only just starting to take effect. Any mountains would be much smaller and not as numerous.
The film focuses on a herd of Pachyrhinosaurus’, a ceratopsian dinosaur related to Triceratops. I’m glad that the movie decides to use a lesser known dinosaur to headline its film, and Pachyrhinosaurus is a fine choice. The character we follow is Patchi, who is born a runt but grows into a leader.
Pachyrhinosaurus is one of those tricky dinosaurs to depict, because there is some debate over how it may have looked. Some scientists for a while believed that the bone mass on a Pachyrhinosaurus’ head was actually base for a keratin horn, and I admit I was a supporter of the hypothesis too.
More recent research however suggests that the bump was covered in a keratin sheet and was similar to that of a musk ox, meaning the rhino-like nose horn is improbable.
There are also some pretty radical depictions of this dinosaur covered in feathers to survive the winter conditions. Although there is no direct evidence of this, I’m certainly a fan of this look. However, this kind of look has only gained popularity within the last year or so, and this film was in production a bit before large dinosaurs and ornithischians were found with feathers. But if I were making this movie, I know these guys would be fluffy.However, besides that, they’re mostly fine.
Another major character in this film is…ugh.
Alex the Alexornis.
Why, hello Alex. I’m really glad you’re here.
Why, yes. I’m hoping you can answer a few questions.
What is an Alexornis, a bird found in Mexico, doing in a film that takes place in Alaska?
Does that mean a Macaw can fly all the way from Mexico to Alaska?
Right. So, why couldn’t they have just used some other enantiornithine bird?
Yep. It’s probably because they couldn’t resist the allure of naming an Alexornis in a kids film Alex. Hip hip hooray. You know, it would have been funnier if they named you Bob or something.
Oh, well I guess that makes sense.
In any case, even though Alexornis may be misplaced in terms of environment, at least the film shows that birds were a common creature in the time of dinosaurs, which is still something the public seems to forget. We do get plenty of feathered dinosaurs in this film as well; for example, Troodon
Hey! Mr. Conductor! What do you think of this guy?
Nothing, just think it would be good to consult the scientific accuracy of a kind of dinosaur by asking a member of that kind of dinosaur itself.
Probably jealous he doesn’t have a nice, warm coat of feathers.
Anyway, let’s continue talking about the films depiction of Troodon. I have to say, it’s one of the better feathered dinosaurs I’ve seen in a mainstream project. It has actual wings with primary feathers, which is always a good sign. Not only that, but the feathers actually attach to the second finger, which is something so many depictions get wrong!
I also love the color design, which is based on a kind of bird called a hoatzin.
If I had a single problem with it, though, it would be the face.
It’s not only that they gave him cartoonishly big eyes, although that is a problem…
Yes, I know Troodon had big eyes, but why does he have to make these faces?
…it’s also the fact that it still looks too reptilian. It’s generally accepted that the feathers on a raptor go all the way to the snout, like a bird’s feathers stop on the beak.
Whenever I see the full head scaly it just reminds me of those restorations that just look like a Jurassic Park raptor with some feathers glued on (and I already ranted about that on a post). Despite that, this is probably the best feathered dinosaur I’ve seen in a film to date, which is major props.
Feel better, Mr. Conductor?
I still don’t see what you get from all this. Why do you hate me? Why are you working with Cynodont? I know you’re a good guy, but…
We also get several other feathered dinosaurs, including the raptor Hesperonychus.
It’s refreshing to see such a little known dinosaur to be chosen for this piece, especially since the more famous Dromaeosaurus would have been just as applicable.
We also get the oviraptorsaur Chirostenotes.
I guess he’s OK. The feathers are good, it’s just that I can’t say too much about this guy’s appearance because we really don’t have much to go by.
There is a lot of cassowary inspiration in the look, which is something I see in a lot of oviraptorsaurs. I don’t blame them, because a cassowary is basically a living dinosaur anyway.
There are a couple of dinosaurs I am sadden to not see feathered. One is Parksosaurus.
I know this film came out before some recent discoveries, but I would have hoped the film makers would have foresighted such a thing. Yes, I know a feathered dinosaur that isn’t a theropod is a very new idea, but I’ve already gotten used to seeing guys like this fuzzy. I get the same feeling from this as I get from seeing naked raptors.
You guessed it. Plucked chicken.
I know this guy only makes cameo appearances, but I just see a missed opportunity. The nail on the coffin for me, however, are those iguana-like spines on the neck. Those bug me the same way they would on a raptor.
Oh God, I think I’m going to puke.
Call me a radical, but feathered ornithopods are the way of the future!
On that note, let’s bring up another dinosaur that is sorely lacking feathers, Gorgosaurus.
Now, I know that the film makers actually considered putting feathers on this guy, but decided against it because there wasn’t any direct evidence for it. Then Yutyrannus showed up.
We finally had our proof that large carnivorous dinosaurs had feathers. But it was too late for the movie to do anything about that. So we have naked Rexes (I do realize I might attract some interesting Google searches with all this talk of naked dinosaurs).
And may I point out also that the DTV movie March of the Dinosaurs (made by the same people who did the original WWD series, while this film was made by a separate team) had feathered Gorgosaurus’ in 2011, even though Yutyrannus was discovered in 2012.
I was a feathered tyrannosaur before it was cool.
Thanks for the insight, Philosoraptor.
Other than the feathers, Gorogsaurus looks pretty much OK. But I still see a missed opportunity for the first fully feathered tyrannosaur in a mainstream film. That would have rocked some boots! Or not since this movie bombed.
OK, let’s move on to some of the herbivores in this movie. We get a small appearance of an Edmontonia, even though the film just identifies it as an ‘ankylosaur’.
I’m guessing Edmontonia was too hard to pronounce.
We also get another Ed…
I’m talking about Edmontosaurus.
They seem pretty good as well, but unfortunately, something kind of big was discovered around the time of this film’s release date.
Yep, it was discovered that Edmontosaurus actually had a fleshy crest.
Good to see you again, Ed.
Don’t worry about it. Just keep flashing that gorgeous comb of yours.
You know, unless it’s proven you really didn’t have it.
The last creature we need to talk about is Quetzalcoatlus.
Now, the first thing that comes to mind is the size of the head, which is way too small. The head size of any large azhdarchid would be immediately obvious.
As for the wing structure, I’m not going to comment on that. There are too many alternate theories over how the wing structure on large pterosaurs worked. I’m not smart enough to differentiate the accepted theories from the hog wash. You know how bad I am? I used to go to The Pterosaur Heresies for my information.
His theories are…controversial to say the least.
In fact, some scientists are even going as far to say that the largest pterosaurs like Quetzalcoatlus wouldn’t even be capable of flight, but would instead spend their entire time on the ground, walking on all fours.
Now that would be interesting.
OK, I’m done. Can I go now?
Yep. No more dinosaurs.
Well, I didn’t really review the movie. I only looked at the dinosaurs.
It’s so weird hearing that from such a jolly voice.
OH MY GOD!!! IT’S SO TERRIBLE!!! WHY DOES THIS EXIST!!!!!!!
Oh my god! All the voices in my head! You’re really here to protect me?
Crap, they got away.
Wow, thank you guys so much. You really had my back over there.
I really appreciate that guys, but Cynodont had a point. Maybe it’s time I tried something a bit new for a bit, just so nothing gets stale. I’ll do a couple little reviews, although they’ll be a bit different as well, but my next big reviews are going to be something really special. I won’t tell you what I have planned yet, but I’ll give you guys a hint: it’ll be both something new but something familiar.
I feel this movie was a huge wasted opportunity. It has some beautiful animation and cinematography, as long as some pretty good science (too bad pretty much all of it became outdated during the films production). It could have attracted dinosaur geeks like me by the droves, but the studio’s efforts to appeal to a bigger audience doomed it in the end. There is just no getting around those voices. They aren’t subtle, they aren’t funny, and they don’t move the story forward. They step everything back, and I have a feeling everyone who worked on the film agrees. Heck, maybe FOX agrees since it was such a big failure. However, the dinosaurs are still awesome, and they are some of the best looking dinosaurs I’ve seen in a Hollywood movie ever. On a score of accurateness, I give this movie a solid…
9 out of 10.
You know, if it were 2010.
Elsewhere, in a big wibbly wobbly timey wimey ball….thing.
Somewhere in there.
Join me next time as we discuss one of the most anticipated movies of next year….
Jurassic World! It’s Jurassic World!