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.  

Your thoughts?
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  • I was in the fifth row, which is a much different experience than my relatives had in the top section. It's kinda dark in there, so my suggestion is to get near the floor. I agree about the flying sequence. My kids were never really scared, but I do think the whole thing dragged out slightly too long; they could have eliminated the intermission....which I think served to get more revenue. Overall, very theatrical, professional, educational, and was time well spent.
  • I am seeing this on Saturday and cannot wait! We saw the special on PBS and had to grab some seats!
  • I went on Saturday evening. Usually when I go to a show like this, I spend much of my time watching for my kids' reactions. This time, I was too engrossed in the show to follow my son's every reaction.

    I think I was most awed by the brachiosaurs. I did think the story moved a little too slowly at times and totally agree about the flying scene.

    I thought the use of the lights and the inflatable flora and fauna was wonderful!
  • We went to Saturday night's show and had the cheap seats at the top of the field house. While our seats were the lowest price, the show was still very interesting and we all enjoyed it. We probably missed some of the smaller details, such as some of the eye movements, but overall, I don't think we missed much.

    The overall show was very good. Watching the WFYI special before going made it that much more interesting to us. I think Lou's comments about the sound and lighting are probably true. There was never a quiet moment really. That could have been very effective with all the music and lights.

    The only thing I really wished they were able to do, was a parade of dinos at the end. I realized the probably would have needed more people in order to do that, but having seen all of them seperately, it would have been fascinating to see them together or in a row.

    Overall - enjoyable and a good value from our standpoint!

    As a side note: It didn't seem very full at our showing. I imagine that was due to ticket prices and the crazy ticketmaster fees. For our group of 4, we paid $80 for tickets, and $37.50 more for ticketmaster. Note to anyone out there that wants higher attendence - figure out a way to make ticketmaster more reasonable! This had no effect on our enjoyment of the show, just the emptiness of our pocket books.

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