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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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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