<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Barry Cook, Neil Nightingale. Starring the voices of John Leguizamo, Justin Long, Tiya Sircar, Skyler Stone, Karl Urban
It may be aimed at kids but it shamelessly tries to emulate animated films that are eons better than this predictable, boring and passé effort to bring dinosaurs to life.
If you’re a fan of dinosaurs then don’t go watch this film. You’ll be irritated with them by the end.
Never before have I seen so many clichés stuffed into the dialogue of a screenplay as in this film. One after another, Alex the prehistoric bird (voiced by John Leguizamo, ‘Sid the sloth’ from the far funnier and better made Ice Age films), gives narrates the story of little Patchi (Justin Long) who is special because of a hole in his ramming hide. He loses his parents in a forest fire during a migration and he has some sibling rivalry with his brother Scowler (Skyler Stone) who becomes the leader of the herd and takes away Juniper (Tiya Sircar) from Patchi’s ardent gaze. Familiar enough stuff.
But this migration doesn’t throw up anything new. Random dinosaurs – that will then pop up as a slide with names and food preferences voiced by a child – attack and retreat. Patchi of course must brave odds with the help of his friend Alex who tries very hard to be funny but his jokes have been extinct a long time for us to do more than force a smirk.
The dinosaurs themselves are animated relatively well. Against the backdrop of real vistas they do tend to look out of place though.
Infuriating and probably a big strategic mistake for the filmmakers was that the dialogue mouthed by the dinos is more telepathic than mouthed. So even though a character is speaking something, their mouth doesn’t move. It looks like they’re thinking it: sorta like when we used to play with our dino toys as kids and made up voices for them. In some scenes you can’t really tell which character is saying what. Whether the producers thought this added to the realism or not I don’t know. In my opinion it’s a huge mistake.
Also, the opening and end scenes with Karl Urban as an archaeologist dad trying to get his son interested in a dig are needless. It doesn’t add to the story at all.
The 3D is not particularly great. I took off my glasses for the last half of the film but then I also lost interest in the movie, the tired poop jokes and typical American teen lingo/bravado that you have seen a million times before.
I don’t know whether it is our Reliance Entertainment (producers) who have asked for this dumbing down, cliché-ridden, snooze fest of a film to be made. But they seem to have lots of money to waste. Pity they can’t channel it into better productions though.