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Take a walk with the dinosaurs


Published:   |   Updated: December 19, 2013 at 09:13 AM

The BBC series “Walking With Dinosaurs” gets a kid-friendly big-screen treatment, complete with cutesy story and dino-poop jokes, in “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D.” Aimed squarely at that dino-crazy demographic (7-12), it pumps a few IQ points into a kid film genre sorely in need of them.

“Walking” takes care to ID each new dinosaur species introduced, including factoids about what they ate and any special skills they might have had. It’s downright educational. Just don’t tell your kids that.

Combining striking cinematography of some of the last great remote places on Earth (Alaska) with state-of-the art dinosaur animation, “Walking” is another “Great Migration” tale — herbivores heading south at the onset of Alaskan winter, hounded by all manner of carnivores and omnivores. But thankfully, it’s not just another “Land Before Time.”

Teenage Ricky (Charlie Rowe) and his tweenage sister Jade (Angourie Rice) visit their paleontologist uncle (Karl Urban) in Alaska. Jade’s down with digging for dinosaurs. But Ricky figures he already knows plenty about dinosaurs already and would rather play with his phone.

Then, a raven voiced by John Leguizamo gets the boy’s attention and tells him the tale of the bird’s ancestor, an Alexornis, a bird from the Cretaceous period. “Alex” is friends with a Pachyrhinosaurus, “Patchi,” voiced by Justin Long. We follow the baby Patchi out of the nest, through a few near death experiences and into adulthood as he migrates south with his herd, tries to stick to his bigger, tougher brother Scowler (Skylar Stone) and catch the eye of the fetching Juniper (Tiya Sircar). They endure attacks by T-Rex like Troodons, Gorgosauruses and flying Pterosaurs, injuries and the threat of a forest fire.

The story they package all this in might be too childish for anybody over 12, but the research behind it and effort to pass that knowledge on to young dinosaur fans make “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D” as at home in the classroom as it is in theaters.

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