September 23, 2014

Dino King: In Olden Days, a Glimpse of Stalking...

Whether you'll make it through the kids' flick Dino King has a lot to do with your tolerance for a single, uninterrupted monologue with lines like "Wow! These are Pukyongosauruses. These 65-foot tall massive zorbots live alongside many blah, blah, blah..." and "Even my family steered clear of Torosauruses which had horns over three feet long." Yet despite all the information packed into this full-length feature, I wouldn't classify the movie as educational because the official classifications go by so fast and the only names that really stick are Speckles, (our hero, a Tarbosaurus), One-Eye (referring to a bad-tempered Tyrannosaurus), and Blue Eyes (an orphaned girl Tarbosaurus who serves as the Speckles' love interest) but if you've got a kid who already knows all about dinosaurs, s/he'll probably be into seeing all the various extinct reptiles zoom by in animated 3-D. I particularly enjoyed the velociraptors with the punkrock hairdos. (At least I think they were the velociraptors!)

As to the animation, it's at once real and unreal. The creatures are detailed, scaly, with naturalistically scary teeth in particular. But the creatures look more like expensive rubber/plastic dolls that have been animated than honest-to-God dinosaurs. The realest part of the animals are probably the teeth which do make me wonder how much kids who don't already obsess over dinosaur will enjoy the flick. The scenes of hunting feel cold-blooded, the life-death cycle of Speckles' friends and family can be merciless too. Even the fact that the only voice we hear is Speckles himself -- albeit both as a child (annoying) and an adult (cloying) -- can feel a tad sad. Imagine a world without any conversation! But Dino King isn't grim in the least. It's neither warm, nor cold; exciting, nor dull. There's no ice age to follow the drought these prehistoric beasts must suffer but there's not much joy to be found at the hot spring they come up either.

Please note: The movie was intended to be enjoyed in 3-D but I was not privy to that multidimensional experience.

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