Even if the title is the same this children oriented film has virtually NOTHING IN COMMON with the ground-breaking 1999 BBC series "Walking with dinosaurs", as far from being a document, this is in fact a film for kids, in which dinosaurs and birds are intelligent and can talk. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS.
PARENTAL WARNING! Some scenes in this film can and will TERRIFY youngest children, especially in 3D (both in theaters and at home) - the scariest scenes include very large predators (there are numerous Gorgosaurus in this film) jumping towards the public and seemingly trying to gnaw at the spectators with their mouths (filled with scary looking teeth) wide open and violently snapping. I would rather avoid showing it to children below at least age of 7. There is also a pretty scary and impressive scene of HUGE RAGING FOREST FIRE and some terrified and crying for help pachyrhinosaurus DROWNING in a freezing lake...
Now, first, let's stress it again, in this film, like in Disney's 2000 film "Dinosaur" and like in "Land before time" series some dinosaurs (and one bird) are fully intelligent and can talk. Like in Disney's film, we begin with the main hero, a young pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi, being just a hatchling - and the runt of the litter... Patchi, his big bully of brother named Scowler and his other siblings speak, A LOT - on another hand for some reason their parents don't talk. At all.
Patchi is very badly treated by his brothers and sisters, but he befriends a prehistoric bird named Alex, who plays with him and talks. A LOT! Later Patchi will meet Juniper, a little female pachyrhinosaurus of same age as him, who will become the love of his life. As you can see, the main dinosaurs here are fully "humanized" as in "Dinosaur" and "Land before time" and they will continue this way during all the film, even when they are fully grown up. On another hand other dinosaurs and other creatures (including some pesky cretaceous mammals) don't speak.
This film borrows A LOT from Disney's "Dinosaur", with Patchi being in many ways similar to Aladar, Juniper being a carbon copy of Neera and especially the character of Scowler being an almost identical twin to Kron. To continue the similarities, bird Alex simply replaces the lemurs and the pack of gorgosaurus takes the place of the pair of carnotaurus. The species are different, but the characters are not... Sorry, SPOILER here: even the final fight was copied in its general lines from the final confrontation in "Dinosaur"...
On another hand, this film is also in large part inspired by a good document called "March of dinosaurs" (see my review of this one) made in 2011 and narrated by Stephen Fry. Both this film and "The March of the dinosaurs" are centered around the yearly migration of a huge herd of dinosaurs living in Cretaceous in North America to the south in autumn and then back to the north in spring. In "The March of the dinosaurs" the main character was a young edmontosaurus called Scar because it was hurt and scarred in childhood and the pachyrhinosaurus are secondary characters - here the main hero is a pachyrhinosaurus called Patchi, who was hurt and scarred in childhood and the edmontosaurus are secondary characters... In both films we also meet some gorgosaurus, troodons and scavenging quetzalcoatlus pterosaurs. I personally found "The March of dinosaurs", which is a document trying to stick very closely to science, much much better and at least as interesting for older children and teenagers.
My 12 years old daughter - who likes dinosaurs, monsters, aliens, mutants and anything else that goes nicely with popcorn - enjoyed this film, which indeed contains some nice images and also pretty humouristic moments, provided mostly by wise-cracking bird Alex. Me on another hand, I was disappointed, for following reasons:
- the images are certainly gorgeous but ultimately not really better than in the "Walking with dinosaurs" which was after all made 14 years ago
- the 3D is useful in a couple of sequences (I was really tempted to try to pat a quetzalcoatlus pterosaur on its beak...) but not really so much needed during the rest of the film.
- the film doesn't know really where to go. Most of time it is a film purely for children, but then by moments it tries to be also a document - and as a result it is not entirely succesful in neither category.
- the number of dinosaurs species shown is really rather limited for such a long film - only four species are really shown for any duration (pachyrhinosaurus, gorgosaurus, troodon, edmontosaurus) together with the quetzalcoatlus pterosaurs, one bird and a couple of little mammals. There is also one ankylosaurus and a couple of chirostenotes, parksosaurus and hesperonychus all appearing like for 10 seconds... and that is all
Bottom line, this is a watchable dinosaur film FOR OLDER CHILDREN and YOUNG TEENAGERS, but nothing else. For adults and older teenagers I really advise to skip it and watch/re-watch other great British dinosaur productions like the original "Walking with dinosaurs" series, "The March of dinosaurs" and "Planet dinosaur" (narrated by John Hurt) or the excellent American series "Dinosaur planet" and "Dinosaur revolution".