Rental Corner: Silent cut of “Walking with Dinosaurs” still a rotten egg
“Walking with Dinosaurs” was a movie that many were slightly hyped at the start of 2013…and then later trailers showed they were given mental voices. However, the curious thing is that this move was intended to be seen without the voices as studio executives suggested it at the last minute. After finally seeing the Blu-Ray 3D’s “Cretaceous Cut,” I think I understand why they made such a choice as this movie was doomed from the start.
In the Cretaceous Cut, there is no talking and we just sit back and watch dinosaurs grunt and roar their way thought the plot. Its nice at first but then it gets old fast. I don’t mind seeing creatures being treated as natural things but I do think some narration could have been helpful like maybe Morgan Freeman or even Kenneth Brannagh from the original documentary this was based on. One hour and 15 mins of grunts and squeaks is just bothersome even when you have to focus on the plot. Again, I’m saying its not bad but when your movie is just noise, it can be hard to relate to each character.
And I know what you are thinking. Oh, its because they are animated like dinosaurs; show some backbone Morgan. Well, I would view them as dinosaurs if they weren’t animated to act “anthropomorphic.” I mean sure they are designed like dinosaurs and they move like them. But the main characters we are given and some of the side folks give off human expressions that throw me off. I want to view this movie as a recreation of an extinct species but when you have a cutesy Pachyrhinosaurus give off baby-like expressions it makes you connect them to humans and less animal. The dinosaurs in the Rite of Spring segment from Fantasia was more beast like and unique than this.
Now….I know what you are thinking. But Morgan, they are meant to be animated in a cartoony manner because its a movie for kids. True but let me tell you about the plot. The story centers around Patchi (at least that is what he is called in the version with talking), a Pachyrhinosaurus with a hole in its head that I can only guess is trying to migrate with the herd (see why I said narration was needed) and at the same time falls in love with another hatchling of his kind. But his “BIG BAD MEATHEADED” brother doesn’t want him to fall in love with his love interest as later in time he grows up to be a tyrannical herd leader that wants power and doesn’t want Patchi to steal his throne.
Yeah, this story has been done before hasn’t it. I mean its not like they couldn’t do anything new with it right? But no, they even have the dead mother cliché straight from the Land Before Time. And a group of sharp teeth carnivores that stalk the herd. So yeah there is not much new and worse of all is the message. If you have a brother who is a jerk, stand up against and toss him aside like an old glove. Because sympathy doesn’t exist in this world. Hell, Land Before Time did it better with Cera’s character.
Even the landscapes are not much as we are literally stuck in the forest throughout the whole movie. Oh wait, I take that back. We get to see a burning forest…and a beach near a forest…and a river…near a forest…and a giant glacier like valley with snow….NEAR A FOREST! Not only do they have no dynamic range in location but also no range of dinosaurs. What I mean is that we are given a limited number of creatures for the 75 minutes so those expecting a Brontosaurus or even a Velocoraptor will be disappointed. The BBC documentary from 2000s was better as it showed a different range of dinosaurs and had enough air to establish these creatures. And it wasn’t all CGI; sometimes they even had to resort to animatronics or puppets sometimes. This movie only has CGI creatures littering the screen and not making much impact with the ground. And when they do, they don’t even tear up the scenery or interact with it that much so even that is a disappointment.
And don’t get me started with the version that was released in theaters. The new material consists of a bookending segments with a family going off to find a fossil and a teenager learning about the story of one from a John Leguazamo voiced bird. And the dialogue crud ridden nightmare I will spare you from knowing is poorly done even considering the mouths don’t move and feel very last minute.
Even going into the Cretaceous Cut, I thought it was a Thief and Cobble case where scenes were missing from theatrical. In the end, I felt cheated even more as this version is really the entire dinosaur segment with the voices on mute. They didn’t even bother to recut this movie to remove things like a pointless gag that elaborates on the Gorgosauras and his tiny claws or a rewind gag which shows how pointless and distracting they are to the movie when we as a viewer just wants the plot.
They didn’t even make an attempt to do anything special with this “Cretaceous Cut” and just muted the voices thinking that is the only thing people wanted and just left in the pointless bits ALSO WITHOUTH NARRATION. I think the problem stands with this movie being too short and obviously geared to a younger audience who has no idea what a dinosaur is. What an insult to eyes and ears no matter what version it is in. This movie should entertain and not educate. Both cuts are bad in their own right as the overall movie is just bothersome no matter what version you view it in. So I leave this as a warning. If you plan to spend 25 or 40 bucks on the combo pack, just to see this “extra version,” save your money because this entire thing is not even worth your time.
To quote Gene Siskel, when he and Roger Ebert were viewing a French movie called “Little Indian, Big City” (which they later hated) and found a reel was missing and were told from the protectionist the studio would send the “lost reel,” “Even if that reel had the lost footage of Greed, this movie would still suck.” And that very much sums it up.