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Production information
Directors : Neil Nightingale
Barry Cook
Writers : John Collee
Starring : John Leguizamo
Justin Long
Tiya Sircar
Skyler Stone
Budget : $85 million (£52 million)
Release information
Studio : BBC Earth
Evergreen Films
Reliance Entertainment
IM Global
Animal Logic
Distributor : 20th Century Fox (United Kingdom/United States/Australia)
Reliance Entertainment (India)
Countries : United Kingdom
United States
India
Australia
Release date : 20 December 2013 (United States/United Kingdom)
27 December 2013 (India)
1 January 2014 (Australia)

Walking with Dinosaurs is an educational family film produced by BBC Earth named after the well-recieved 1999 TV documentary miniseries.

Unlike the miniseries, the dinosaurs featured in the film were voiced by actors and were fully computer-animated with no animatronics. However, the film was still shot on location in Alaska and New Zealand. The visual effects were provided by Animal Logic.

It was released worldwide on December 20th 2013 by 20th Century Fox. Despite high anticipation, critical reception for the film was largely negative, with praise towards the visual effects, but criticism for the unoriginal story and voiceover performances. It was also a failure at the box office despite heavy marketing.

Summary

Set in North America in the late Cretaceous period, the film follows the lives of three Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi, Scowler and Juniper from infancy to adulthood. Their story is related by Alex the Alexornis who has a symbolic relationship with the trio. Their enemy is a Gorgosaurus named Gorgon, a fearless hunter.

Full synopsis

The movie starts with 3 people, a paleontologist and his niece and nephew, driving in a forest in Alaska. The nephew then stumbled upon Alex. He was a crow that magically evolved into an Alexornis that traveled back 70,000,000 years to tell Patchi's story.

The story begins with Patchi being a hatchling. When he wanders to the edge of the nest, a Troodon attacks. He grabs Patchi by the frill and this is how Patchi recieves his trademark hole in his frill. Patchi's father, Bulldust, intervenes and stops the Troodon. The predator throws Patchi away and runs off. Patchi landed in a forest not far way and spent some time exploring. Patchi returns to his nest after long day of exploring.

In the next few weeks and months, Patch continues to look for Juniper while also learning the ways of the Pachyrhinosaurus. Scowler, Patchi's older brother, continues to harass Patchi for being smaller. He also meets Juniper. Patchi falls in love at first sight and Juniper makes it clear that she likes Patchi. But the laws of the herd makes it so that they can't be together.

Eventually, the herd treks south in a great migration. They make this trip a number of times and Patchi grows more and more each time.

However, the good times do not last forever. During one trip, a storm ensues and a lighting bolt strikes a tree. This starts a massive forest fire. During the fire, Patchi and Scowler get sperated from the herd. Alex tries to help, but to no avail. The brothers are eventually attacked and cornered by Gorgon the Gorgosaurus. Gorgon attempts to kill the brothers, but Bulldust intervenes. Patchi and Scowler helplessly look on and watch as Gorgon murders Bulldust. As Alex said, "On that day, noble blood was spilled while noble blood looked on."

After the fire is over, Patchi and Scowler find the herd being led by Major, Bulldust's former rival. Their herd ends up mixing with Juniper's. Over the next few years, life goes on normally. Patchi and the herd continue to dodge predators and make the journer south over and over again.

Finally, after a number of years, Patchi, Scowler, and Juniper are fully grown. Scowler challenges Major to lead the herd and Scowler prevails. Due to the rules of the herd, Juniper must now follow Scowler, not Patchi. Scowler's attempts to lead the herd fail however as he nearly dooms the herd to a watery grave while trying to cross a frozen lake. Patchi saves the herd and Scowler is extremely angered by this. He and Patchi duel over the rights to lead the herd. Despite his noble effort, Patchi is bested by his stronger brother. The herd moves on and leaves Patchi to his fate.

As scavengers begin to gather around Patchi, Alex attempts to comfort his friend. After some encouraging words, Patchi musters the strength to get up and follow the herd. When he finds them, they are making their way through an area known as Ambush Alley. The spot get's it's name from the number of Gorgosaurus ambushes that take place here.

Patchi finds his brother being attacked by Gorgon and his gang. Gorgon nearly kills Scowler before Patchi gets his attention. The Gorgosaurus changes targets and attacks Patchi. Patchi and Juniper convince the herd to fight back. While most of the herd tangles with the Gorgosaurus pack, Gorgon and Patchi go toe to toe. Gorgon fights ferociously, but Patchi manages to defeat him after he breaks his arm and many of his teeth. It's one of these teeth that paleontologists find later.

With Gorgon and his pack defeated, Patchi assumes leadership over the herd. The movie fast forwards a few years. Patchi and Juniper now have eggs of their own. Life is good for Patchi and he and his family live on happily. The movie then jumps back to the present and shows the paleontologist and his niece and nephew uncovering the skeleton of Gorgon.

Companion Book

A companion book to the film was published in December 2013.

Cast

  • John Leguizamo as Alex
  • Justin Long as Patchi
  • Tiya Sircar as Juniper
  • Skyler Stone as Scowler
  • Karl Urban as Uncle Zack
  • Charlie Rowe as Ricky
  • Angourie Rice as Jade

Animals featured

Scientific Accuracy

Compared to the miniseries, the film was generally accurate as it featured feathered dinosaurs. However, some have pointed out that the Gorgosaurus incorrectly lacked feathers. Around the same year, Yutyrannus fossils have been discovered with evidence of feathers.

While all the animals were placed in the correct time, some were misplaced. In reality, Alexornis was found in Mexico, not Alaska, and Quetzalcoatlus fossils are not known from Alaska either. Additionally, the Alaskan Pachyrhinosaurus species in the film are incorrectly portrayed with horns, which were only present on the Canadian species. The Gorgosaurus fossils from Alaska have also been deemed invalid, with the actual tyrannosaurid predator of Alaska being classified as Nanuqsaurus. This error was corrected in the Prehistoric Planet 3D version. The Troodon in the movie is also deemed invalid.

Compared to the miniseries, the movie has an accurate representation of Quetzalcoatlus, even though the neck and head are a bit too small. The latter mistake was somewhat intentional as the filmmakers feared such a large head would look too ridiculous. It has also recently become a debate whether the Edmontosaurus in the film should be classified as Ugrunaaluk. Some argue that Ugrunaaluk is a synonym of Edmontosaurus. Additionally, it has become common knowledge that the Edmontosaurus species depicted had a fleshy crest.

In real life, Alexornis's appearance was more primitive-looking and looked less like a modern bird.

In several parts of the movie, grass can be seen in the background.

Gallery

Trailers and Promos

Promotional Images and Posters

Screenshots

Credits Artwork

Concept Art

Activity Sheets


Reception

Walking with Dinosaurs received mixed to negative reviews. Though critics praised the visual effects and scientific accuracy, they criticised lackluster voiceovers and toilet humour.

The film also underperformed at the box office, making $36 million domestically and $94.5 million worldwide against an $80 million budget.

Related Media

Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D

A shorter version of the film retitled Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D was released to select theatres in 2014, It featured Benedict Cumberbatch as the narrator and lacked dialogue from the prehistoric animals. It also edited out the opening and ending scenes. It was once again directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale, with Walking with Cavemen executive producer Richard Dale receiving additional director credit.

Some plot points have been changed. The Gorgosaurus is identified as Nanuqsaurus. The family-film plot aspects are also omitted and the characters now go without names.

Trivia

  • The voiceovers were actually a last-minute suggestion. Originally, the movie was supposed to lack dialogue, though some debate if there was supposed to be a narrator. When the film was screened to the Fox executives, they suggested voiceovers in order to make the movie less complicated for children.
    • In the Blu-Ray 3D disc, there is the 'Cretaceous Cut' option, which has the movie without dialogue.
  • The illustrated dinosaurs seen from the credits were by Luis V. Rey & can also be seen in the 2007 published Dinosaur book called “Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-To-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages”.
  • Animal Logic also provided the animation for Happy Feet (which writer John Collee also worked on), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, The Lego Movie, and Peter Rabbit.
  • Animation director Marco Marenghi previously worked on the original miniseries.
  • Character designer David Krentz was also involved in the original miniseries, Dinosaur Revolution, and Dinosaur.
  • Justin Long previously collaborated with executive producer Tim Hill and 20th Century Fox on the live-action Alvin and the Chipmunks franchise. John Leguizamo also voiced Sid the Sloth in Blue Sky Studios' popular animated franchise, Ice Age, with the second film's screenplay and story written by dialogue-contributor Gerry Swallow.
    • Skyler Stone, who voiced Scowler, would later voice Diego in The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild. He was previously voiced by Dennis Leary.
  • Quetzalcoatlus, Edmontosaurus (albiet a different species) and maybe Parksosaurus are the only animals from the original minseries to appear in the film.
  • Evergreen Studios also worked on When Dinosaurs Roamed America and Dinosaur Planet.
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