Walking with Dinosaurs, based on the 1999 BBC six-part miniseries of the same name, premiered on Friday, December 20. The animated film, which appears to be intended for children through adults, follows the mishaps and coming-of-age adventures of Patchi, the runt of a Pachyrhinosaurus family.
This supposedly family friendly film contains much scatological humor and numerous references to “butts” throughout. It seemed to be the primary form of humor that the writers relied on. Christian families who do not want their children exposed to such potty humor may wish to avoid seeing Walking with Dinosaurs for that reason. There were also some scenes of violence, including the deaths of parent dinosaurs, but there was little to no blood and gore.
Every Fossil Tells a Story
The narrator uses a single tooth from the predator Gorgosaurus to take viewers back in time.The plotline of Walking with Dinosaurs centers around the narrator’s line that “every fossil tells a story.” The narrator, an Alexornis bird named Alex, uses a single tooth from the predator Gorgosaurus to take viewers back in time to the Late Cretaceous period, supposedly millions of years ago.
In fact, millions of years and evolution are mentioned in the film very early on. In the present day, a supposed descendant of Alex lands near the teenage boy and claims that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. He explains that 70 million years ago, birds looked very different. The story switches to the perspective of Alex, the narrator for the rest of Walking with Dinosaurs.
The movie ends on the same line, with the Gorgosaurus skeleton that the tooth belonged to being discovered. But the idea that “Every fossil tells a story” and the use of one tiny piece of evidence to weave such a tale is illustrative of evolutionary ideas in general. There is no shortage of imaginative artists who are willing, based on a few bone fragments, to create what evolutionists hold up as an accurate portrayal of what that creature looked like when it was alive—complete with skin, hair, feathers, and so on.
Based on a single tooth, children are told an elaborate story about a Pachyrhinosaurus herd. Moreover, skin color, feather patterns, and numerous other details that often cannot be learned from fossils are portrayed in the film. Obviously, we recognize that this is necessary for the story Walking with Dinosaurs is attempting to tell. But the theme that “every fossil tells a story” reveals what we at Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum have been teaching for many years. We share the same evidence with evolutionists, but our worldviews affect how we interpret and understand that evidence. Unfortunately for the evolutionists, they lack an eyewitness account, and all they really can tell about fossils are fictional stories.
The influence of evolutionary ideas is evident in the way the dinosaurs are portrayed in Walking with Dinosaurs. Three feathered dinosaurs appear throughout the movie: Troodon, Hesperonychus, and Chirostenotes. Over the years, more and more claims have surfaced that dinosaurs were not in fact covered in scales, but in feathers, which is convenient since evolutionists often teach that dinosaurs evolved into birds.
According to one news report, the codirector of the film Barry Cook admitted that the look of these dinosaurs required some speculation:
Modern-day birds inspired the look of raptors in the film. “One of the small little raptors, the Hesperonychus, are also known as ‘killer turkeys,’” Cook said. “We literally took the color palate and the feather pattern from a golden pheasant and it just looked perfect! The Hesperonychus might not have looked that way—who knows?—but it works very well in the movie.”1
That last line is key: “it works very well in the movie.” The feather patterns on the Hesperonychus were chosen not based on any evidence that could be gathered from a fossil, but based on how well it worked with the film. At least Cook is honest enough to admit that.
But this same report also reveals that there was some controversy surrounding which dinosaurs appeared feathered:
The film’s Troodons were also rendered with feathers, but—somewhat controversially—Cook and his team at Animal Logic decided against illustrating the largest predator in the film with downy fluff. “The Gorgosaurus, which is very reminiscent of a T. rex in some ways, was a very fast-hunting predator,” explained Cook. “We decided that we wouldn’t put feathers on that one, but we did give that dinosaur iridescent scales.”1
Our researchers have responded to a number of claims that dinosaurs were feathered. The bottom line is that there is no evidence dinosaurs had feathers.2 Such claims are just the evolutionists’ way of making the evolutionary story seem true.
An Uninteresting Story
For all its hype, Walking with Dinosaurs was simply not an entertaining film. The plot was stale, unoriginal, and it was difficult to develop an attachment to the characters.
What’s more, the dialogue and narration were poorly written, with the vast majority of the jokes falling flat. According to some reports, the movie was not even intended to have dialogue between the dinosaurs.3 Rather, viewers would have observed the computer-animated dinosaurs and pieced together the plot for themselves. But the dinosaurs that do speak apparently communicate through telepathy, as their mouths were not animated to move with the dialogue.
Perhaps the only positive statements that could be made about this film have to do with aesthetics. The computer-generated dinosaurs were visually appealing as was some of the stunning Alaskan scenery.
Films like Walking with Dinosaurs are part of the reason why the Creation Museum has started the new kids-admitted-free campaign for 2014. It is not surprising that a secular fictional movie on dinosaurs would present evolution as fact to millions of kids, so Answers in Genesis is running advertisements before the showing of Walking with Dinosaurs in a number of strategic movie theatres in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky (within around a two-hour drive of the Creation Museum) to promote our campaign Kids Admitted Free to the Creation Museum in 2014. We do pray that those parents who do take their kids to see this movie would be convicted to bring their kids to the Creation Museum in 2014 to the learn the truth about dinosaurs and the history of our world as revealed in God’s Word beginning in Genesis.