This feature film, “Walking With Dinosaurs 3D”, directed by Barry Cook (Mulan, Arthur Christmas), Neil Nightingale (Life, Planet Earth, the Saving Planet Earth season), and screenplay by John Collee (Oceans), may sound familiar. It’s because there was a documentary series that aired on television by the same name, except without the “3D”. Since the 1999 series aired, new discoveries have been made that reflect a more accurate depiction of just how Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.
Walking With Dinosaurs 3D takes place about 70 millions years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period in Alaska. Another location used was New Zealand. Unlike animations, the Dinosaurs in this movie were actually placed in footage of real backdrops.
The recent discoveries that inspired WALKING WITH DINOSAURS include: Migration – some dinosaurs migrated great distances annually in search of food and more favorable environmental conditions – just as caribou do today. Family group fossils – assemblages of fossil bones and footprints show that youngsters and adults of many dinosaur species traveled in groups, suggesting that adults and young remained together even after leaving the nesting area. Related to birds – contrary to popular belief, the dinosaurs did not go extinct 66 million years ago. They’re still around us – as birds. In fact, with about 10,000 living bird species, there are more kinds of dinosaur descendants around on Earth today than mammals.
At a recent event held at the Los Angeles Natural Museum, stars from the film that included: John Leguizamo, Skyler Stone, and Tiya Sircar talked about the making of the movie and voicing their characters in an unconventional way to other voice-overs for animated movies. Leguizamo plays a pre-historic bird (Alexsaurs) from Mexico. Sircar said she gets to be a “spunky female” in the movie who “gets to kick butt and fight the bad guy.” She is the only female in the movie and the object of the main character’s, Patchi (Justin Long) affection.
Leguizamo said his character gives Patchi romantic advice and tells him when to migrate. What makes this animated feature different from most when it comes to the actors voicing-over their characters is, the movie was already animated. So the stars got to watch the animation while they voiced the characters. “Its like no movie I’ve ever seen,” said Sircar. She also said that the movie is “photo realistic animation.” The backdrops, included Alaska, and New Zealand were real and filmed on location which were added. Sircar assures that it’s not like a cartoon at all and looks like real life.
The event held a special treat for the youngsters. Groups of children were directed into a room where they could watch large, animated dinosaurs projected onto a screen and interact with the life-like creatures (as seen in the video opening above). “In bringing Walking With Dinosaurs to the big screen, we wanted to transport audiences back to a real world, to meet dinosaurs that truly existed and to immerse audiences in that world,” said Nightingale. “For a big motion picture experience it’s also vital to have a strong and emotionally engaging story. So we used what we know about Late Cretaceous Alaskan dinosaurs as inspiration for a fictional, character-driven story we knew would entertain families.”
Nightingale also stated, “You can be scared of them but not too scared because they are long gone. They’re not going to come out from under the bed or pounce on you in the dark!” Walking With Dinosaurs 3D opens in theaters on Friday, December 20, 2013.