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Review: "Walking with Dinosaurs"

July 10, 2009
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There are lots of ways that "Walking with Dinosaurs" (with performances through this weekend at Conseco Fieldhouse) could have compromised itself. It could have turned too jokey. It could have gone anthropomorphic or "Land Before Time" cute. It could have thrown in a catchy theme song.

Instead, though, it steadfastly offers a beginning science/history lecture biggie sized with amazingly lifelike dinosaurs. It even features a hatchling devoured by a predator very early in the game. It's so realistic that I half expected PETA to be out front protesting.

I know that the appeal of dinosaurs is strong. And I fully expect that some of the younger kids were terrified and some of the older kids left frustrated because they never got to see a full-blown battle. Nonetheless, it was encouraging to see this many people embracing a show with a scientific focus. I actually learned a fair amount during the hour and a half (plus intermission) running time.

Downside? Well, like the orchestrators of Pacer basketball games, the creators of "Walking with Dinosaurs" believe that constant loud music and noise equals excitement. I wish there were a few moments where we got to sense the silence of prehistoric life. That, it seems to me, would render the roars ever more effective. And the staging of the flying sequence went on to long and was only of maximum impact to those looking at it directly from across the arena. Still, these are small complaints about an impressive undertaking that opens the door to a wider range of arena shows.  

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