"Survival and Self-Sacrifice"
What You Need To Know:
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS has high quality special effects and an entertaining story. However, young children may find the frequent dinosaur battles to resist becoming a meal somewhat disconcerting. Patchi’s father becomes a meal while trying to guard Patchi and his brother. Self-sacrifice and defending others are presented as admirable while pride and arrogance are rebuked. If you love dinosaurs and want to see beautiful images of dinosaur herds, you may enjoy WALKING WITH DINOSAURS. However, the story and voices are sometimes corny, and the CGI is so good the predator scenes may cause young children nightmares.
(BB, C, L, VV, M) Movie tries to convey a strong moral, slightly redemptive worldview favoring unselfishness, self-sacrifice, and defending others over pride and arrogance, but is overwhelmed by the realism of the food chain, carnivores are not evil for eating herbivores, and the brutality of nature presented in the movie is too strong for young children; some discussion of being tired of looking at “butts” all day, plus a mother dinosaur vomits up food for her babies to eat and a young dinosaur is defecated on; strong violence includes father of the main character is killed by carnivores, other dinosaurs and creatures are killed and eaten, and dinosaurs of the same species engage in battle to establish leadership of the herd and privileges with females in the herd; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking or drugs; and, some pride and arrogance but rebuked.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS is a high quality CGI science exhibit humanizing the story of a pachyrhinosaurus and his herd migrating back and forth across Alaska fighting to survive. It vividly conveys the violence and futility of animal existence in nature but adds a human-like message favoring self-sacrifice over pride and arrogance.
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS opens with a paleontologist taking two children on a hunt for bones. A talking bird explains to the boy how a particular dinosaur tooth was broken off and left to be found. The bird morphs into a prehistoric bird that befriends Patchi, a very young pachyrhinosaurus. The movie takes Patchi through his childhood and a love-at-first-sight relationship with Juniper, a female pachyrhinosaurus. Every time a new species of dinosaur is introduced, the movie pauses to put in print its species and its taste for meat or vegetation. On occasion you get a quick anatomy lesson as well about teeth or brain size.
Young children raised with pets in their homes and food purchased at grocery stores will find the frequent battles to resist become a meal disconcerting. Patchi’s father becomes a meal while trying to guard Patchi and his brother. Self-sacrifice and the defense of others are presented as admirable while pride and arrogance are rebuked. Somehow the reality of the CGI makes the struggle for life more disturbing than in ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS. In ICE AGE, you know the characters are not real because they look cartoonish. In WALKING WITH DINOSAURS, the characters look too real to be associated with the voices used. Patchi’s father never speaks. He just makes animal noises.
The movie doesn’t rub the viewer’s nose in evolution theory, as many museum exhibits do, but neither does it declare the majesty of God’s creation. What it does do is show life in nature to be much less noble than in AVATAR. It is brutal, dirty, and short. Elders are replaced by young thugs wanting a harem, and the infants, the sick, and the elderly are the first to fall prey to predators.
Praise God for a nation where children are taught, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” People have homes, cars, and televisions because mankind can live far above the survival mentality of raw nature. People are made in the image of God, not beasts. People can speak in words, not grunts. People can write books and make movies. People can even give human voices and personalities to astounding CGI representations of creatures that only some of the bones exist.
If you love dinosaurs and want to see beautiful images of herds of dinosaurs, you may enjoy WALKING WITH DINISAURS. Just be cautious with young children because the CGI is so good that the predator attack scenes may cause nightmares.