Saturday, June 1, 2013

This Does Not Bode Well

The second trailer for Fox's Walking With Dinosaurs movie has dropped, with some new footage and one very unwelcome addition.



That's right. According to this trailer, the dinosaurs have individual voiceovers. While this may simply be a conceit of the marketing, a quick check of IMDB reveals that there are two actors listed as being attached to the project. That suggests an end result resembling Homeward Bound, which I personally believe is the wrong way to go. It was clearly too much to hope for that we'd get a film sans narration of any kind, but I'd much prefer to hear someone like David Attenborough or Richard Kiley* doing something a little bit more formal sounding.

On the other hand, this trailer marks the introduction of what look like Chirostenotes, and feathered ones, at that. The dinosaurs continue to move wonderfully, and the cinematography looks nice. So it's not a total wash.



*if they're sparing no expense

21 comments:

  1. It's definitely a let-down for the Theatre experience, but just think, when it comes to blu-ray it will be awesome to watch with the mute on and a nice cd playing.

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    1. But what about all of the sound? That's just as much part of the experience as the visual side of the film.

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  2. At the risk of sounding like a broken record: I continue to not understand the resistance to narrative-based dinosaur storytelling. I don't see what the issue is with having voice-overs for the dinosaurs in this film - I much prefer it to the mouth movements in Disney's Dinosaur, but yet I find it hard to conceive of a theatrical release with exactly zero dialogue. And if there's going to be dialogue, what difference does it make if it's told in the third person through a narrator, versus first person from the dinosaur's perspective?

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    1. I don't have an issue with narrative based dinosaur storytelling. And if the film were hand animated, I'd be much less uncomfortable with the choice to do voiceovers or lip syncing. But the mixture of peppy actor's voices and realistic CGI dinosaurs just weirds me out on a fairly visceral level.

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    2. There's not literally 0 dialogue, but the amount of voiceover in the documentary Winged Migration would be absolutely perfect for a dinosaur documentary imo, especially if it had a similarly epic score.

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    3. @Tarchia

      The problem isn't that there's narration (although what Emily described would've been nice), but that (if the US WWD trailer is any indication) there's bad narration (I.e. Undignified/embarrassing). As for 3rd person narration vs. 1st person narration, the former is usually decent (I.e. Dignified/plain-spoken) while the latter is usually bad. Yes, there are exceptions (E.g. The 3rd person narration in NatGeo's "Totally Wild" is bad while the 1st person narration in "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" is decent), but you know what I mean. Put another way, think of it as the difference btwn Attenborough & the "Cool English Teacher" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lILCc6AZ10c ).

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    4. Check out some of Jean-Jacques Annaud's films, like The Bear and Quest for Fire. The Bear concerns an orphaned cub and an adult grizzly -- apart from a couple of scenes with hunters there is absolutely no dialogue. Quest for Fire has dialogue, but it's unintelligible caveman-speak (unless you know Inuit -- they cheated and used that for the Homo sapiens tribe).

      Beautiful films that transport you to another world -- and that's what this could have been. (Still could be with a redub.)

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  3. Uh-oh. I have trauma from watching the awful Speckles the Tarbosaurus.

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  4. I personally wouldn't choose no narration over good narration. The animated film "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" is an excellent situation of voice-overs beautiful done.

    However, if it's something like either of these trailers or even borderline ridiculous like Dinotasia, I would much more prefer mouth movements or no narration at all.

    And Richard Kiley passed way at the end of last century.

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    1. Did he really? That's a shame. While I mostly left him in for a joke, I have very fond memories of his narration for the National Geographic special on Nile Crocodiles.

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  5. There was nothing wrong with the traditional documentary-style narration of the original Walking With Dinosaurs. Why would they change to something like this? Was it too much to expect a theatrical release bearing the WWD name to adhere to the same standard? I was looking forward to seeing this before they turned it into a kids movie with anthropomorphized characters. Maybe the Blu-Ray release will have an audio option to turn off the voices.

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  6. And here's something I'm not particularly surprised by after the schmaltzy first trailer... Just remember, after Walking with Beasts, the series turned to really annoying time travellers and the idea of prehistoric creatures as monsters.
    Just go get the original Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Beasts and after that, ignore everything that company did. Except maybe Primeval for sheer fun.

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  7. Can't say I really have a problem with this, I'm happy to see modern Dinofiction in all sorts of forms as long as it keeps respect for the reality. Not everything needs to be a documentary, nor should they be.

    So far the voice work seems a little so-so, but it's not outright annoying like Speckles's voice ended up being. I'll take a wait and see stance for now.

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  8. I don't care. It looks so Spectacular that I would be oblivious to several faults.

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  9. May I point out that the original series in the UK was voiced by Kenneth Branagh, while when it was aired in the US the voice over was changed for discovery channel. Trailer one is International, trailer two is aimed at the US. It is possible that there will be different voice overs for different releases, with a so called "Family friendly" voice over in the USA and a more documentary style voice over elsewhere. Alternatively, like Dinosaur revolution and Dinotasia it will be released differently

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    1. That's what I'm hoping for.

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    2. Along a similar line, this device could be used in the trailer only. (Here's hoping...)

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  10. An Attenboroughesque voiceover would have been beautiful, but I would have found this voiceover patronizing even as a child.

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  11. It sounds like it's just narration, not actual dialogue. That's kind of...workable. I dig it.

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