You really can’t imagine what it’s like to experience dinosaurs walking around in a prehistoric setting, stretching their long necks over your head or roaring as they tear into their prey or protect their young. You really can’t imagine it unless you’ve seen Walking With Dinosaurs.
The $20 million production is at the John Labatt Centre in London until Sunday. In it, 17 incredibly life-like (we think!) dinosaurs command a prehistoric light and laser lit stage while a real life Indiana Jones-lite talks us through hundreds of millions of years of dino history. Foliage springs to life on cue and dies in raging fires. A massive T-rex protects her baby, a fearless and funny mini-me. A pterodactyl-like flying creature spreads its massive wings over perfectly arranged video, to appear as if it’s soaring high above the landscape. It’s part history lesson and part spectacle and elicits oohs and ahhs throughout the arena.
This show is definitely aimed at dinosaur-crazy children but I wouldn’t take anyone younger than 8. A wee lad in the row ahead of us ran out at the first roar and never came back. At $51 dollars and up per ticket, that child left behind a rather expensive empty seat! The dinosaurs make a lot of noise, they simulate fights and the carnivores kill and eat each other and their offspring. That’s simply too much for some younger kids to handle. It’s not gory or gross by any stretch – no one is going to tear into the side of a million-dollar piece of the show. But the tension builds and it gets quite loud at times.
The bigger critters – and by big I mean massive – move on computer-programmed platforms. The smaller ones are human driven and you can actually see the legs of the person inside but it strangely doesn’ t detract from the magic. In fact, there’s a simultaneous appreciation for the costume and the ability of the guy or gal within to make it move so realistically.
If you have a dino-nut in the family, this show is a must-see event. Your brain tells you the creatures aren’t real but your heart goes along with the ruse. It’s an amazing feat of engineering that goes beyond my understanding. All I know is, I smiled through the whole thing like I had a hanger in my mouth and my heart swelled at the thought that I may have actually been witnessing the closest thing to our understanding of these magnificent creatures that I’ll ever see in my lifetime.