Walking With Dinosaurs 3D is a 2013 film based on the Walking with… franchise. Unlike the original BBC series, the film features anthropomorphized characters in a more conventional, family-friendly narrative.
The story revolves around Patchi (Justin Long), a runt Pachyrhinosaurus who tries to prove himself despite his small size. His best friends include his bullying brother Scowler (Skyler Stone), his crush Juniper (Tiya Sircar), and Alex (John Leguizamo), his best friend and companion Alexornis. The film follows the young trio of Pachyrhinosaurus to adulthood as they face tragedy, rivalries, and the threat of Gorgon the Gorgosaurus and his pack.
The film later received a re-release with the subtitle Prehistoric Planet (no, not that Prehistoric Planet, which also coincidentally has a scene set in the same formation), eschewing the voice cast in favor of a narration by Benedict Cumberbatch, bringing the film more in line with the main franchise.
Tropes present include:
- All There in the Manual: The Edmontonia and Parksosaurus are not identified by name in the film, but their identity is confirmed on the official website.
- Anachronism Stew: The movie takes place 70 million years ago, presumably in the Prince Creek Formation based on the location implied in the film — and further reinforced by the Prehistoric Planet version which corrects some of the names to those of related genera known specifically from the formation — but a lot of the animals depicted are not found in the formation, coming from locations further south and/or millions of years earlier than the point in time shown in the movie. In fact, among the eight non-avian dinosaur species depicted in the movie, only two have actually been found at Prince Creek (Troodon and Parksosaurus) while the rest were either based on misidentified taxa or just didn’t exist in the environment at all.
- While technically correct on a genus level, the Pachyrhinosaurus species depicted, P. lakustai, is actually from southwestern Canada circa 73 million years ago. The more period-accurate species, P. perotorum, was actually only just identified in 2012 (beyond the research/production portion of the film), so this would be a case of Science Marches On.
- Fossils attributed to Gorgosaurus are only known from rocks roughly 75 million years old in southern Alberta, while the tyrannosaur remains in Prince Creek are actually a new and unique species called Nanuqsaurus. (One of the creatures Prehistoric Planet corrects for.)
- The species labelled Edmontosaurus (and presumably attributed to E. regalis) are actually their own unique (presumably dwarf) species called Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.
- Edmontonia, Chirostenotes, Hesperonychus, and mammal Alphadon are not known from Prince Creek at all, nor are there any remains that could've been attributable to them unlike the three aforementioned species.
- This also applies to avian dinosaur Alexornis, which has only been found in Mexico (hence Alex's Spanish accent) yet isn't even presented as a migratory species.
- Adaptational Species Change: The most notable change in the Prehistoric Planet 3D re-cut, aside from the shift to a more traditional documentary style, is that to account for Science Marches On, the Gorgosaurus are now referred to as Nanuqsaurus.
- Animal Talk: An unusual variant. While the four protagonist animals are voiced, they never move their lips or make any sort of human-like facial expression. It would appear that the voiceovers are simply the dinosaurs' thoughts being translated into human speech.
- Babies Ever After: Patchi and Juniper have a cluster of eggs together.
- Beware My Stinger Tail: While chasing Patchi, Scowler has to duck over an Edmontonia tail that swings in his direction.
- Bloodless Carnage: Despite containing several scenes that clearly show death and violence, never at any point in the movie is a drop of bloodshed. Especially noticeable when Gorgon kills a pterosaur onscreen, and there is not any blood present on his mouth or the corpse of his prey.
- Bookends: The opening and ending scenes of the film are set in the present day, with a dinosaur paleontologist taking his niece and nephew to a dig.
- Break the Haughty: Happens to Scowler when he gets attacked by Gorgon and his pack after leading the herd into Ambush Alley.
- Buffy Speak: Patchi refers to the Chirostenotes as "Skinny-necked Pecky Things".
- Butt-Monkey: The Alphadons tend to get this treatment, as well as Patchi in his juvenile years.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Pick a scene that demands tension. With a few fleeting exceptions, this trope will be present.
- Chekhov's Gun: Because of the hole in Patchi's head, he is the only pachyrhinosaur in the movie who is able to defeat Gorgon.
- Deadpan Snarker: Alex can be this at times.
Scowler: Remember, they can smell fear!Patchi: Sorry, that's not fear...Juniper: (deadpan) I think I just stepped in some "fear".
- Juniper too.
- The Dreaded: Gorgon. Also fire.Patchi: What is it, Alex?
Alex: It's fire!
Patchi: What's fire? Does it eat meat?
Alex: It eats EVERYTHING! RUN!
- Driven to Suicide: Patchi after Scowler leaves him to die. He gets better, though.
- Drunk with Power: Scowler after he takes control of the herd.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: Patchi stands out from the other male pachyrhinosaurs by being a much lighter shade of brown. While he doesn’t completely look like a female due to not having any creamy brown patterns like Juniper, he is not a dark grayish-brown like the males nor does he have any vibrant patterns covering his face.
- Eaten Alive: Nearly happens to Patchi at the hands of a pack of Troodon and a pair of azhdarchids, after his disagreement with Scowler, in which he was shoved into a ditch and had a tree fall on top of him. His despair is so great at this point that he's willing to let it happen.
- Eats Babies: Troodon. One snatches up Patchi out of his nest, but is thwarted by Bulldust.
- Eldritch Abomination: If the exchange in The Dreaded above is to be believed, this is basically what the dinosaurs view fire as. Not without reason, mind you.
- Feathered Fiend: Troodon, Hesperonychus, and Chirostenotes.
- Forgot About His Powers: One of the Azhdarchids forgets he can fly at one point. He almost falls off of a cliff as a result.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Just as the credits Fade In, a Gorgosaurus breaks through the screen.Alex: Oops. Forgot about that part. (laughs) Gotcha!
- A very unusual variant exists in the Prehistoric Planet 3D cut. Like the other creatures in the film, the appearance of the Nanuqsaurus leads to the action being stopped to detail a profile about the dinosaur. Also as with the other creatures in the film (and in other educational paleomedia), said profile has a diagram showing the dinosaur with a human for scale. Except in this case, the scale human turns to look at the dinosaur standing right next to them and hightails it out of there. The scale Nanuqsaurus gives chase and a scream and loud chomp can be heard.
- Giant Flyer: The azhdarchid pterosaurs.
- Heroic B So D: Patchi suffers this after Scowler kicks him out of the herd and leaves him to die. In fact, he was willing to be dinner to scavengers...but gets back to his feet after some pep talk from Alex.
- Idiot Hero: Patchi is, for much of the movie, a chronic complainer with abysmal survival skills. He starts to shape up after Scowler nearly loses the herd in an icy lake.
- In Name Only: Overall, the film really doesn't have much to do with its namesake documentary miniseries. They both star photorealistic dinosaurs involved in a small-scale story that are filmed on real locations, but other than that, this movie could have had any other name and nothing would have changed.
- Interspecies Friendship: Patchi (a Pachyrhinosaurus) and Alex (an Alexornis bird), justified since the two genera are implied to have a symbiotic relationship.
- Kick the Dog: After the fight between Patchi and Scowler (which end up with Patchi getting shoved into a ditch), Scowler nastily kicks him out of the herd and leaves him to die. When Juniper scolds him for this and says that brothers are supposed to help one another, he coldly tells her "I don't have a brother".
- Kick The Son Of A Bitch: Gorgon attacks Scowler and mauls him to near death at the climax of the film. Considering what a Jerkass Scowler is and this is just after he had kicked his own brother out of the herd and left him to die, it's hard to not think he deserved it.
- Killer Rabbit: Hesperonychus. They are chicken-sized, but when they see a young Patchi outside his nest, they immediately bolt towards him with their mouths open.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the other Walking with... installments, very much so.
- Narrator: Alex the Alexornis (voiced by John Leguizamo), though he also has dialogue in-story and interacts with the main cast.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Neither Gorgosaurus not Alexornis have ever been found in Alaska.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers made it seem as though the movie would center around Patchi leading his herd on a journey to a new home. In reality, we see very few of his leadership skills and even less of him as leader of the herd. To add on, the herd annually migrates south and north throughout the movie with no urgency to find a new home from a changing world.
- Nobody Poops: Averted by the Edmontonia, who defecates right on top of a curious Patchi.
- No Sense of Personal Space/Hates Being Touched: On two separate occasions, one of the Azhdarchids tries to get close to another. The other responds by pecking at it and screeching in its face. The third one doesn't seem to want to get involved and always scoots away before it gets ugly.
- Oh, Crap!: The Troodon gets this twice at the beginning and end of the film when Bulldust and later Patchi catch it intruding in the nesting grounds.
- Papa Wolf: Bulldust, the patriarch of the Pachyrhinosaurus herd for the first half of the film, is shown to be very protective of his hatchlings (which include Patchi and his older brother Scowler). Near the beginning of the film he chases away a Troodon that had been menacing Patchi, and later he sacrifices himself to save Patchi and Scowler from a pack of Gorgosaurus.
- Predators Are Mean: Subverted with Gorgon the Gorgosaurus and his pack. Since the protagonists are large herbivorous dinosaurs, naturally the gorgosaurs are the Villains By Default and do get a comeuppance near the film's end. However, for the most part they're just hungry rather than malicious and sadistic. The other theropods are portrayed in a similar manner, though the Troodon, at least, has an edge of mischief and cowardice to it.
- Raptor Attack: The maniraptorans, while by far some of the better depictions in the media, still suffer from having their wing feathers incorrectly attached to the wrist instead of the second finger of each hand. The Troodon also has a scaly, lizard-like face, even though realistically it should have a feathered head as well, with only the tip of the snout being bare.
- Real Is Brown: Averted, the dinosaurs in the film are depicted in a wide range of bright colours and markings. The Gorgosaurus, for example, has a covering of bright blue, iridescent scales.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Earlier models for the azhdarchids were more correctly proportioned (i.e.: had larger heads) and the ceratopsians had more accurate forefeet, but they ended up being changed for this reason.
- Scenery Porn: The film's visuals have been widely praised by critics, and rightfully so.
- Terrible Trio: The Azhdarchids are a textbook example of the comedic variant.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Scowler, Patchi, and Juniper.
- The Unpronouncable: The Chirostenotes have names that are difficult for Patchi to pronounce. Juniper can say their names just fine though.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Alex scolds Patchi for being willing to die out of despair and says that he should live. If not...then he should die fighting for something worth living for like Bulldust did.