Dinosaurs – A Day In The Life

Walking With Dinosaurs The Movie 3D

Walking With Dinosaurs takes us back in time to prehistoric Alaska on an adventure following a family of Pachyrhinosaurus (it means “thick nosed lizard”), huge beasts with horns, a frill and a beak.

The hero is Patchi, a delightful and determined dinosaur (with a hole in his frill) who is the runt of the litter. No one expects that this underdog (or under-dino) will amount to much. His brother Scowler is very ambitious, much stronger and it seems certain that he will one day be leader of the herd. But little Patchi has a strong spirit and a good heart. What he lacks in physical strength he makes up for in sheer tenacity.

We follow Patchi and his family as they set off on their annual migration to find food. Along the way they encounter dangerous, menacing predators: the scariest of them all is Gorgon, a terrifying, carnivorous Gorgosaurus (fierce lizard). We meet Alex, the funny and friendly Alexornis, a prehistoric, feathered bird with a toothed beak. And we also meet the rather feisty female Pachyrhinosaurus, Juniper.

Key filmmakers behind Walking With Dinosaurs explain why everyone is fascinated by dinosaurs and what we have in store.

Ten questions for:

Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale, the movie’s co directors
John Lynch, co-producer
Marco Marenghi, animation director
Steve Brusatte, one of the film’s paleontologist consultants.

1: What makes dinosaurs so fascinating?
Neil Nightingale: “Dinosaurs are the most amazing creatures that ever existed on our planet. It is amazing that there was a time when the world was completely dominated by them. In four and a half billion years of existence, there have been no creatures more dramatic or scarier. Whether they would be as popular if they existed today and were stomping down the high street, I don’t know.”

Stephen Brusatte: “They lived a long time ago and they lived for a long time. Some of them grew to enormous sizes. They were fantastic creatures. But they’re not dragons or leprechauns or unicorns. When you look at them you can tell they were real. They have the same bones we have. You can see actual skeletons that people have found. Dinosaurs were big, scary and weird. They’re real, but they’re confined to the deep dark past.”

Barry Cook: “It is a mystery that we want to know more about. Children love dinosaurs because they can’t see them in their backyard or at the zoo, or in the wild. And the creatures that lived alongside them were just as impressive. Some of these flying pterosaurs were as big as giraffes. Wow! That’s something to imagine.”

2: Why are they so mysterious?
John Lynch: “Dinosaurs have a magical, mysterious quality because they are real monsters that really existed. But children know they’re dead and they’ve been dead for 66 million years so they can’t hurt anyone. Some dinosaurs are horrendously horrible monsters but it is okay to be scared of them. They are also dramatic. Dinosaurs were their own living action adventure. They give us the sense that the world has been there forever and we are just a tiny little moment at the end of it.”

3: What is the story all about?
Neil Nightingale: “Patchi is our hero and we follow him from the first few days in his nest. We are with him as he grows up, we are with him on his adventures, with the friends he meets and the dangers he encounters. We discover that there’s far more to him than we ever thought when he was being kicked around in the nest. He is overshadowed by his older, arrogant brother Scowler who seeks to dominate him throughout his life. But Patchi is very curious, he doesn’t give up, he’s caring towards his friends and eventually those qualities win through.”

Barry Cook: “Patchi meets Juniper (a female of the species) and has what you would perhaps call a romance. I like to call it an animal attraction. The story becomes very exciting when Patchi and his family go on their migration. The dinosaurs have to cross through a territory where the dangerous Gorgosaurus live. Every year, they would wait for the migrating herds to pass through their areas, so that they could have their feast. Gorgosaurus are smaller than the Tyrannosaurus rex and because they’re smaller, they happen to be a lot faster.”

4. What were the Pachyrhinosaurus like?
Stephen Brusatte: “They were big animals that formed big herds. They moved around together. They had fantastic horns coming out of their skull. They were plant-munching dinosaurs and if you were around at that time, you’d probably have seen a lot of these animals. They would have been all over the landscape.”

5: How did you bring the characters to life?
Marco Marenghi: “Patchi was designed to be a little bit clumsy, a little bit foolhardy, but also somebody who really cares. He is a little more of a thinker than his bull-headed brother Scowler. The only person Scowler cares for is himself. He’s not the guy you’d want as your brother. He is the biggest, toughest and strongest. He’s always got his head held high or in a ramming position. Patchi on the other hand keeps his head lower than everybody else. I am sure everybody has seen two dogs together in that kind of situation, where one’s the alpha and the other’s subordinate. Juniper, our female Pachyrhinosaurus has a mind of her own. She can see past Scowler’s brawn and appreciate Patchi’s good heart.”

6: What was it like making this film?
Marco Marenghi: “It was a dream come true for me, I could not wait to get up in the morning and find out what challenges I had ahead of me. It’s not a job for me, it’s a hobby. That is what makes it really cool.”

7: Stephen, you spend your life investigating dinosaurs, sounds like the ultimate dream job?
Stephen Brusatte: “Just like an astronaut and firefighter, I would say yes it is a dream job and I love it. There aren’t many people who study dinosaurs. You do have to study for a long time and get a lot of degrees before you get a job and I really lucked out.”

8: Do you wish dinosaurs were still around?
Stephen Brusatte: “No, those animals had their time. They had a long period of time, about 160 million years. If that asteroid hadn’t hit, who knows what would have happened? We probably wouldn’t be here now, so I’m glad that they’re gone. And I’m glad that we can study them. Literally every day there’s new dinosaur research coming out.”

9: Have they all totally disappeared?
John Lynch: “No, technically dinosaurs did not actually die out 66 million years ago. Birds are now universally accepted as being part of the dinosaur branch of life. Whatever happened at that time so long ago to kill off so much of life on Earth, there is one line of dinosaurs that came through it all. So all around us the direct descendants of the dinosaurs are still with us today.”

10: What is the best thing about Walking With Dinosaurs?
Marco Marenghi: “It is pure adventure and entertainment. Nothing like this has ever been done before. You’re really there with the dinosaurs, inside their world. You’re actually on their journey. It will blow your mind. It is going to be a heck of a ride.”

Walking With Dinosaurs is released in UK cinemas on 20th December 2013