Walking With Dinosaurs deserves extinction

A family film shouldn't be this dumb.

So what is the message here — that if you're making a film for toddlers and young kids, you can half-ass it because they'll laugh at anything? Apparently that was the guiding force behind this glob of awfulness being released to the world. The big selling point of Walking With Dinosaurs is its realistic CGI within a prehistoric landscape. But beware, because even though the visuals are impressive, they are no match for the thin, boring story and terrible dialogue that drag down this sad affair.

Walking With Dinosaurs tells the coming-of-age story of Patchi, a young Pachyrhinosaurus who loses his parents, falls in love, and must deal with an overbearing older brother named Scowler. That's a lot to deal with, but the movie doesn't. Not only is the teenaged Scowler a jerk (when we meet him, he pushes little Patchi away from a feeding area), he speaks in a grating southern California accent. Patchi must follow the lumbering herd, led by Scowler, on its migration across the North American continent. Along the way they encounter danger in the form of other dinos, each species of which is introduced by name.

Karl Urban (Bones from the reboot of Star Trek) and two actors playing his niece and nephew are in pointless live-action scenes that bookend the movie. In this prologue, a mouthy raven visits one of the kids, then morphs into a prehistoric parrot, takes flight, and just like that we've gone back millions of years.

The CGI is the main selling point, and it is impressive, but so what? This could have been a straight-up cartoon and I would have been engrossed if it had a decent story and performances. Instead, we get Z-grade dialogue and voice acting straight out of a Disney channel pre-teen sitcom. John Leguizamo, who plays Alex — the bird and main narrator — is saddled with the bulk of these bad lines. But it's Patchi who gets one of the worst lines of the year. Flush with new love, Patchi joyously exclaims, “She likes my hole.” He's referencing an injury to one of his ears, but still — you have to wonder about the creative team guiding the movie and not catching on to the unintentional hilarity in that line. If you have ideas on feeding your child’s curiosity, or just entertaining them, you can do better than this fossil.

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