THE IMPLIED PROMISE of a movie titled Walking with Dinosaurs is that you'll feel like you're actually walking with dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs are supposed to shit, puke, fight, fly, and, yes, walk. And we're supposed to drop our jaws over the immersive depths of what we're seeing.
It's the only thing the movie has to get right. And the best thing I can say about Walking with Dinosaurs is that this obvious baseline is the only thing it gets right.
On looks alone, the movie is wondrous and soaring. The computer-generated creatures don't look obviously fake—blending seamlessly with real-life locations shot in chromatic, prehistoric splendor. And the 3D effects are flinchingly front and center and never an afterthought.
The problem with Walking with Dinosaurs is everything else: It opens and closes with some hoary live-action bit starring a reticent tween boy and his model-school-dropout "paleontologist" uncle. We don't see any real dinosaurs until a magical raven voiced by John Leguizamo shows up and magically transforms into a prehistoric chicken.
But then? Once we do see the dinosaurs? They talk—without moving their mouths. And it turns out—thanks to a blizzard of kid-movie tropes—it would have been better off if they didn't say anything at all.
From there, the story, as it were, drones around a misfit herbivore named Patchi. He's the runt of the litter! He's curious! He finds forbidden love! Then there's a fire and some mean carnivores! His father, the leader of the herd, dies tragically! Then he gets lost! Then he grows up! Then his brawny big brother becomes "king" and nearly ruins everything! Then Patchi proves himself and saves the day! Yawn.
Not that you shouldn't go see this. You should. It really is beautiful. But maybe eat a brownie first. And definitely bring your finest noise-canceling headphones. You won't miss a thing.