Walking With Dinosaurs Voices of Justin Long, John Leguizamo, Tiya Sircar. Directed by Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale. Rated PG. Opens Friday.
Before becoming a feature film, Walking With Dinosaurs was first a BBC TV series, applying the style of nature documentaries to the depiction of prehistoric creatures, and then a book, a touring arena show, a video game and a whole range of merchandise.
So the new movie is mainly a brand extension, using the same technique as the original series (putting CGI dinosaurs in live-action locations) but adding a kid-friendly narrative. The result is an awkward combination of nature documentary and kids’ movie, with dubious educational value.
This time around, the dinosaurs talk (although they don’t move their mouths), but most of what they say involves lame jokes or romantic longing, probably not the top concerns of actual dinosaurs. Kids may inadvertently learn something along the way (there’s even a live-action framing sequence with a sullen teenager coming to appreciate the awesomeness of dinosaurs), but they’d probably get more out of going to a museum.