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YMMV / Walking with Dinosaurs

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  • Awesome Art: Specifically, Awesome Fan Art: since much of the series has become outdated, people on Deviant Art have begun making their own versions of the series that are more up to date than the original.
  • Angst? What Angst?: The deaths of Patchi and Scowler's entire family in the 2013 movie. By the next morning, they're done mourning their father, and the loss of their mother and siblings is never even mentioned.
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  • Better on DVD: For those who disliked the childish dialogue in the 3D movie, at least. The Blu-ray release has the "Cretaceous Cut", which eliminates it completely.
  • Critical Backlash:
    • From the general scientist/paleontologist community, but mostly from those to whom scientific accuracy is Serious Business and any amount of speculation is intolerable. One such person infamously labeled the show's paleontology consultants "prostitutes" for "selling out" their knowledge to a fancy TV show.
    • Pretty much every critic and their mothers are attacking the 3D movie. Few people are willing to contest them.
  • Designated Villain: Of the 3D movie, Gorgon. He's treated as the main villain, and yet just a predator trying to survive and feed his pack. Probably justified, though, as the story is told from the point of view of his prey.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • The giant sea reptile Liopleurodon. This show did to him what Jurassic Park did to Velociraptor: make it stock (as well as exaggerate its size).
    • While they didn't become stock, Ornithocheirus and Tapejara became fan favorites after this show and were given more attention in educational dinosaur books. The Ornithocheirus character became particularly popular due to the tragic outcome of his story.
    • Gorgon from the 3D film, partially for being one of the few named characters not to receive an annoying voiceover.
    • Although for characters that do have a voiceover Alex has some popularity with the viewers, considering him to be less annoying than the others and he even does a Moment of Awesome.
    • The Terrible Trio of azhdarchids from the 3D movie, due to their slapstick and strange adorableness.
    • Didelphodon is among the most remembered non-dinosaurs of the show, and was given further exposure in the making-of (where it was jokingly shown making the Tyrannosaurus flee with a Zerg Rush) and a TV promo where they were shown as Talking Funny Animals. They also got a small cameo at the beginning of Walking with Beasts.
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  • Even Better Sequel: Beasts and Monsters got even more acclaim and have aged significantly better than Dinosaurs.
  • Evil Is Cool: Not that any of the characters are actually evil, but a lot of the predators which fill the role of villains are quite cool.
  • First Installment Wins: Beasts, and Monsters are also well-liked and are better in many ways, but Walking with Dinosaurs is the most iconic of series to the general public because, well, it's the one with dinosaurs in it. This was acknowledged by the producers during development: they originally wanted to cover the era shown in Beasts, but settled on Dinosaurs as they are incontestably more popular, and its success would help turn people's eyes to Beasts and the era of history it covered. This proved to be a benefit, as they underestimated the challenges of rendering fur in CGI.
    • The Walking with Trilogy (Dinosaurs, Beasts, and Monsters) is the most well-known and beloved prehistoric documentaries ever made, and both the The BBC and Discovery Channel try to repeat their success with other dinosaur documentaries but none of them come close to the popularity of the original trilogy.
  • Good Bad Translation: The Italian and Spanish versions. For example, the Spanish changes Utahraptor to Velociraptor, Diplodocus to Saurolophus, Postosuchus to a postosuchid,note  and Megaloceras to Megalosaurus!
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The "Cruel Sea" opening reminds people of the ending to Jurassic World.
  • It Was His Sled: Spoiler alert—The K-Pg extinction happens!
  • Memetic Badass: Liopleurodon.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Scowler almost crosses this when he disowns Patchi and leaves him stuck in a ditch to be killed by predators for leading the herd away from a lake of thin ice that he himself led into (and never shows remorse or responsibility for it). By almost as in he redeems himself as he's getting mauled by Gorgon and Patchi rescues him.
  • Narm:
    • The final fate of the tyrannosaurid family at the end of "Death of a Dynasty" rather comically clashes with the grimness of the scene. To elaborate: The mother died from her leg wound, with the surviving infants clustering around her body. Then the meteor shockwave hits. The babies get suck up by the wind and zoom away, followed by the mother's corpse being lazily dragged after them.
    • ALL of the dialogue in the 3D film.
  • Nausea Fuel: The dead T-rex embryo in "Death of a Dynasty".
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: In contrast to the 3D film, the video game is much better received.
  • Older Than They Think: Believe it or not, the TV series' premise of a documentary was actually what Steven Spielberg and George Lucas both originally wanted for The Land Before Time. It was supposed to have no dialog save for the narrator documenting the young dinosaurs separated from their herds trying to survive together. But to make the film appealing to children, they abandoned this idea and got actors and actresses to do the voices instead. Ironically, this would also happen to the 2013 film, but as the decision was made late in production, it doesn't work nearly as well.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Plateosaurus only shows up at the end of the first episode, but it's easily the biggest creature seen thus far, and makes quite the Establishing Character Moment for large dinosaurs.
    • Stegosaurus appears during the canyon scene, but his badass intimidation of the Allosaurus leaves an impression.
    • The unidentified pliosaur (presumably Plesiopleurodon) is only in frame for a few seconds, but impresses the dangers of the sea that the Ornithocheirus was flying over.
    • Narrowly averted with Ankylosaurus, as they have a small introduction early on.
    • Quetzalcoatlus, which captures the majesty of the large pterosaurs (in the series at least, in the book it's subjected to a karmic death) and highlights their decline.
    • Deinosuchus. A few shots are all that is needed to make the danger feel palpable.
  • The Scrappy: Juniper, from the 2013 movie, is considered a bizarre Gender Scrappy for being a Flat Character and evident of the gratuitous sexism the movie shows.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The Liopleurodon snatching up the Eustreptospondlyus is easily the most memorable moment of the original series, and immediately put the former species on the map.
    • Patchi nearly allowing himself to be eaten in the 2013 film was seen as the most jarring and nightmarish in an otherwise unremarkable film.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Arguably the 2013 movie, with its inept childish dialogue, over-the-top cliché plot and gratuitous sexism. Others just see it as horrible, though.
  • Special Effect Failure: Even these shows weren't immune to this: the most common goofs are CG clipping errors (like when the mammoth's trunk "merges" with its tusk), wires from the animatronic models or parts of the people controlling them being visible, and shadow/reflection effects being messed up. Some are obvious (like the skin of the Opthalmosaurus puppet coming off in the birthing scene), others you only catch if you watch the clips frame-by-frame.
    • The film has no lip synching, leading to speculation that it was supposed to be a serious documentary and was changed to a comedic film a la Ice Age at the last minute. Cue outcry of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
    • The animals in the earlier series often suffered from weird clipping and deformation. Sometimes during motion, their skin-textures would overlap and clip through each other near the joints, creating odd-looking "seams". There were also some rigging problems evident, like the shoulder-spikes of Polacanthus moving separately from its skin, or the upper teeth of the Diplodocus stretching when they open their mouth in a couple of shots. These issues were gradually ironed out as the series progressed.
    • The level of detail on the models has also not aged too well, as skin detailing is very vague. Many dinosaurs were also modeled at the same scale, which can cause issues where a smaller Polacanthus is walking around with more detail-per-foot compared to the larger Iquanodon around him. And of course, the detail of the models cannot stand up to what's possible on a hand puppet... but hand puppets often have movements that make it obvious that they're hand puppets, which the CGI does not suffer from thanks to well-crafted animations.
    • Another trick the show used was obscuring the foot contacts of the animals, which are one of the hardest things to do in CG. This was often done by compositing in real plants in front of the creatures or by cutting out bits of the environment in the real shot and moving them upwards to obscure the feet, and once you notice it, the trick is immediately obvious. While it works better in some episodes than it does in others, in Death of a Dynasty the bare ash plains make it rather obvious when they're being used. As with overscan, this was much less obvious on blurrier CRT TVs when the show first aired.
    • In tandem with the above, another issue is Overscan. When the first series was made in 1999, HDTVs and other flatscreens weren't really a thing yet and many CRT TVs had overscan where you wouldn't see the full picture, so watching the show today brings out these quirks. Many compositions have dinosaurs either "pop" in suddenly at the edges or be visible through the slight black border of the background plate, and many shots slide the frame around to give the illusion of camera shake (to save on tracking the CG to a moving camera; the series only rarely uses real moving shots with ground contact), but this often reveals the edges of the composition where the various scene elements have their varying edges visible.
  • Squick:
    • In "Spirits of the Ice Forest", a herd of Muttaburrasaurus is tormented by flies, which bite them on the insides of their ears. The idea of an insect entering an orifice to feed is enough to make most viewers shudder in disgust.
    • Early on in the 2013 movie, a hatchling Patchi is defecated on by a larger dinosaur. This wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't received a gaping open wound in his frill less than a minute before.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many a dinosaur fan and Walking with Dinosaurs fan have complained about the 2013 movie humanizing the animals too much.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Steropodon from "Spirits of the Ice Forest". It might have been interesting to see a Mesozoic, maybe land-dwelling, toothy relative of the platypus animated. This would have been an opportunity to namecheck monotremes (or platypi) and reference that mammals are diversifying in spite of the dinosaurs; mammals don't appear otherwise but in the last episode set in the literal last days of the dinosaurs. Finally, male platypi have venomous spurs in their feet that are believed to have been a basal condition in mammals, so the Steropodon could have used these to defend itself from a predator attack.
  • Ugly Cute: Oh so many examples.
    • The cynodonts from "New Blood", and their babies for that matter. They're like little, half-bald puppies.
    • The baby Diplodocus from "Time of the Titans". At certain points, they even sound like human babies! And rather than being creepy, the effect is downright adorable.
    • The Cryptoclidus and baby Opthalmosaurus in "Cruel Sea". The former is basically a Jurassic seal (although closer to a fully marine penguin in Real Life… still sounds cute) and the latter is essentially a Jurassic dolphin.
    • The Tapejara from "Giant of the Skies" and pretty much every pterosaur in the series. The fact that pterosaurs were this in real life certainly helps.
    • The Leaellynasaura from "Spirits of the Ice Forest". All of them.
    • The baby Tyrannosaurus from "Death of a Dynasty". Especially the runt of the litter.
    • The Troodon from the 3D movie. How can you not "d'aww" at that face?
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The baby Pachyrhinosaurus in the movie have adult voices which, combined with the lack of lip-synching, sound disconnected to the characters.
    • The Diplodocus hatchlings of the original show sometimes utter noises awfully reminiscent of human babies.
    • Stalking Utahraptor from the front. Their long snouts become unnoticed and they look like goofy Lizard Folk.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: For many, its visual effects are among the most impressive in any TV series ever.
    • The arena spectacular for the sheer spectacle of seeing life-sized dinosaurs live in front of you.
    • Although the WWD movie got mostly negative and mixed reviews, the visuals have impressed mostly everyone, whether it's just the CGI or the 3D effects as well. The bulk of the critics single them out as the sole saving graces of the film.
  • The Woobie:
    • Tyrannosaurus rex in the final episode. First, she loses her eggs after volcanic activity kills the embryos. Then, she seeks a new mate and then drives him away, but after laying twelve only three hatch. Then, one of her babies dies, implicitly at the teeth of its own siblings. Then she is fatally injured by an Ankylosaurus while trying to protect them and suffers a slow agonizing death shortly after. The only saving grace is that her death meant she didn't have to die in the mass extinction.
    • The old Ornithocheirus. He risked his life flying all the way to his old mating grounds, is driven away the minute he gets there, and dies of exhaustion without managing to mate at all.


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