Sunday, May 5, 2013

Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie

First things first, I must apologize for about a month's absence in activity. I have currently been preoccupied by end-of-the-year work at school so my schedule has been really busy, and the rest of my time has been occupied by my magazine article work, family activities, and enlisting to volunteer at my local museum, so I haven't been able to find the time to write. Luckily, during the little free time I have had, I have been reading a lot of new books and scientific papers, so expect when all this is done to have a lot more posts by me.

However, that isn't why I'm here right now. I'm posting to talk about something awesome that was announced by 20th Century Fox on Wednesday. I shouldn't really have to say anything, just look at the trailer:

Yes, a Walking with Dinosaurs 3D movie that will be coming out this Christmas. For Dino-Fans like me, this is a godsend. Quite literally this is what the Dinosaur community has been looking for, for ages. I couldn't believe it when I saw it, as it's almost too good to be true. As for why, I'll list the reasons below.

  • Feathered Raptors!!! - If you look at one of the scenes towards the end, their is a sincere feathered Deinonychosaur (It looks to be a Troodon, but I'm not drawing conclusions yet). I have been wanting to see feathered dinosaurs in a movie for so long, and we're finally getting it. It's 100% scientifically accurate, and much better looking than the 6ft bipedal iguanas in Jurassic Park. 
  • Realistic Dinosaurs - Truly, I have never seen more scientifically accurate looking extinct animals. According to Mark Witton on his blog, he as well as other paleontologists and paleoartists like David Krentz, Tomas Holtz, Scott Sampson, Luis Chiappe, and Victoria Arbour have all been involved in re-creating these animals. Heck, according to him they even consulted Mark about the anatomy on the inside of the pterosaur's mouths trying to get every detail as scientifically accurate as possible. I watched over the trailer about a dozen or so times now and I can find only 1 scientific inaccuracy in it (which I will discus below), but seeing as many documentaries fail at even getting that right, this is truly amazing.
  • Dinosaurs Acting like Dinosaurs - Unlike Jurassic Park, where the animals are nothing but hideous monsters, or Land Before Time and Disney's Dinosaur, which featured talking, human-like dinosaurs, by the looks of it this appears to be what the title suggests: a 3D movie about Dinosaurs, not human-like or Sci-Fi movie monsters, they act like Dinosaurs. Now, there have been some suggestions in the comments of some of the trailers that these animals will talk, but seeing as they don't talk in the trailer (instead making a lot of animal sounds), it's based on the groundbreaking documentary series that goes by the same name, and seeing as the description of the actual movie states that it will be about real-life dinosaurs, I highly doubt the animals will talk.
  • Feathered Raptors!!! - Did I mention how amazing this is?
  • New, Somewhat Unique Story - The story seems to be following the life of a young Pachyrhinosaurus, born young and weak climbing up to become an alpha male in his herd, and the hardship he faces. At least that's what I got from watching the trailer. However, if you do a little research online it seems that it isn't just following the life, it's a rivalry story. Apparently it doesn't just focus on the main Pachyrhinosaurus, but also on another Pachyrhinosaurus, his brother, and about how they grow up together. I'm guessing that the brother is probably the second little Pachyrhinosaurus slightly larger than our hero in half of the scenes, as well as possibly the other big individual shown during the clash towards the middle of the trailer. This is certainly an interesting concept to put into a Dinosaur movie, especially since every dinosaur movie I've ever really watched seems to be (according to my dad) about getting from Point A to Point B and there are meat-eating theropods in-between. In this movie you're following the life of this individual as well as the hardships he face,s not just with vicious predators and a terrifying world he has to live in, but with his own brother and himself. That's a new and interesting concept that I haven't seen before in a Dinosaur movie, and I can't wait to see how they play it out in the film.
So as you can see there are a lot of reasons for me to be excited about this movie. It looks simply awesome that they were able to get this many things right, and I can certainly say that I'm now way more excited about this movie than I am about Jurassic Park 4 (which has crushed the hopes of the paleontological community by saying that feathered raptors will not be appearing in the film) and even Pixar's new film The Good Dinosaur set to come out next year, which is apparently a cartoony film about a human and his Sauropod friend (that is probably going to talk). The later is an interesting scenario, but not anything I'm really that interested in at 16 years of age.

However, being the scientist-in-training I am, I am disappointed about a few things. For one, seeing as they got so many things right in this movie, the one glaring inaccuracy out of the entire movie turns out to be our hero himself. Young Pachyrhinosaurus specimens don't show flat faces like the individual in this show. Instead they have a weird growth sequence where juveniles develop a small horn at a young age which later develops into the horn as they mature. This is seriously an extremely minor thing, and in fact I don't even know why I'm bringing it up. I guess it's somewhat disappointing that in a movie where they got everything so right, the fact they missed one thing kind of annoys me.

I also wish we had feathered Tyrannosaurs, seeing as Yutyrannus was found earlier last year, but according to Witton they designed the Tyrannosaurs before the Yutyrannus discovery came out, so I guess it's acceptable. I also wish the dinosaurs were maybe a little less shrink-wrapped and more speculative, as that's what paleontologists have been trying to push towards nowadays, but again the dinosaurs look great anyways so it's acceptable, and in truth that'd probably be asking for too much.

After hearing the news about JP4 having featherless raptors and getting another new predator appearing, that has definitely lowered my expectations and now I really don't care about the franchise anymore. This on the other hand looks spectacular, so I'm pretty dang excited! Can't wait for this to hit theaters! What's everyone else's thought? Feel free to share!


  1. Excited about the movie.
    Pachyrhinosaurus is one of my favorite dinosaurs.

    I have a feeling that the dinosaurs might "talk".
    Not by opening their mouths like in "Disney's Dinosaur" but more like thinking of thoughts, voice-overs.
    After all, human characters have been cast in the movie.

    1. Pachyrhinosaurus is my favorite ceratopsian as well, probably because of my fascination with the Alaskan specimens.

      I also heard about the human voice cast, and in truth I have no real problems with it if they do it well. For example Dreamwork's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron had you watch the animal's struggles and a narration of its thoughts very infrequently, as well as understand his feelings through his facial expressions. All in all I thought that that movie did well because of that element, and if they did that here I also think it would work.

      However, I do think that if they over-do the thoughts and narration it might go downhill. We'll just have to wait and see. :)

    2. I for one was overjoyed when I found out that Pachyrhinosaurus was the main star of the show. Aside from being my favorite ceratopsian, it must be noted that Pachyhinosaurus is not very well known to the general public.
      After all, when the layman thinks of a horned dinosaur who do they think of? Triceratops obviously.

      13 years back when I watched Disney's Dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus had only a minor role. Since then, I hoped and wished very hard that there would be a dinosaur movie involving it as the main star.
      And finally, 13 years later, my wish was granted:).

      I really wish to personally thank the creators of the show. Unfortunately, I do not know of any means to reach them.

      In te meantime you could try listening to the soundtrack.

      Go Pachyrhinosaurus!

  2. I wish we had an owl-like troodonts here, though, aswell as the tyrannosaurs following Dilong trend, not clinging desperately to the "Was big, must have been bald". What got my interest in particular was the music, which I hope won't change in quality when we come to the actual movie.

  3. According to a talk with Jack Horner, we will see feathered dinosaurs in JP4.

    1. Really? I read something about that on Theropoda a few months ago. If true, lets just hope they get them looking right. :)