I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the arrival of 'Dino King 3D'. On one hand, I could see it being a live action dinosaur film made for kids. On the other hand, judging by the cover, it looked like a movie similar to those 'Sharktopus vs. Mega Gator' flicks. Either way, if something has dinosaurs in it, I'm usually in 100% of the time. Unfortunately, after its short 89 minute run-time, the lack of character development, story, and clarity as to whether or not the movie wants to be a documentary or a narrative weighs the entire experience down, despite some impressive visuals.
I felt like I was watching a mix between two past Disney films. One being the 2000 film 'Dinosaur' that had amazing CG dinosaurs mixed in with actual live backgrounds, and the other being 'The Lion King', but now humorously called 'Dino King 3D'. With this in mind, the filmmakers seemed to not have a complete story on their hands, so they took to a bunch of character narration, mostly talking about scientific aspects of the animals, plants, and era of time we are in. Sure, it's a good bit of education for the kids, but it doesn't fit well into this fictional film.
Tell me if you've heard this one before. We focus on a group of dinosaurs, specifically the species of the Tarbosaurus, which was the original title of this film. In this group of dinosaurs, there is a young one who goes by Speckles who lives in a rich forest with his parents and siblings. As he is learning to hunt for food, he comes across a giant T-Rex named One Eye, due to its scar. One Eye is looking for a new place to settle and ends up destroying Speckles' family and home, forcing the young dinosaur to escape quickly all alone with no family.
However, Speckles comes across another lonely young Tarbosaurus named Blue Eyes, and end up trekking together and becoming close friends. Years pass and they start a family together, but the impact of One Eye's attack on his family is still a sore subject with Speckles after all these years, so Speckles decides to take revenge on the giant T-Rex and reclaim his home. Now, doesn't that sound like a certain film with animated lions in it?
It was a strange feeling to watch a seemingly educational film on dinosaurs made for kids that had some fairly intense and violent action scenes. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed those, but I'd imagine some of the younger kids might have trouble going to sleep after viewing a few of those scenes. Of course, that is how brutal nature is and how vicious some dinosaurs were, but it didn't seem like the right fit for this particular film, which seemed geared more towards the younger generation.
The constant narration of the film feels lazy and is at times completely annoying. We go from a decent narration talking about his life wandering the forest, then switching to a high pitched baby voice when we see his childhood being played out. That aspect made me want to mute the film and just watch the rest of the picture silently. 'Dino King 3D' has some amazing effects and is quite the spectacle to look at. The dinosaurs looks real and blend in with their backgrounds quite nicely. However, that is about the only thing that works with this film. It's story and characters are a mess and ultimately crash the movie.
'Dino King 3D' comes with a surprisingly decent 1080p HD transfer in 3D and 2D, with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The detail here on the dinosaurs specifically looks incredible. We can see every imperfection on the animals, and for being a CG render of a dinosaur, it all looks amazing. However the live backgrounds go soft throughout the film, providing a less sharp image. The colors on the dinosaurs seem to pop with some good images of green, brown, and purple. The backgrounds though look pale and devoid of any sharp color that pops. Black levels seem to run deep an inky here.
The 3D aspect comes across nicely here with some excellent depth all around. While the dinosaurs are hunting or off playing in the forest, we get a real sense of depth from the far off creatures in the distance and trees in the background. There are a few "pop out" shots in the movie that should please younger audiences that might make you duck for cover, which was fun. Despite the backgrounds of nature here, this was a solid video presentation, void of any compression issues.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix which sounds very good. The dialogue is always crystal clear and is easy to understand, even if some of it comes across as annoying. The sound effects really do pop here with tons of different funky noises coming out of every speaker. From giant flying dinosaurs cawing in the air to snarls to bone crunching. The sound effects here are a real treat.
The ambient noises of nature sounds and other animals doing their business come out of the surrounds nicely. There was no evidence of cracks or hissing throughout here. The directionality was spot on and at times felt like I was in the midst of the forest with these large creatures. The music added a lot of emotion and suspense to the appropriate scenes and never drowned out the sound effects or dialogue.
'Dino King 3D' ultimately suffers from its inability to figure out what type of film it wants to be. Does it want to be a dinosaur movie for kids, a violent action movie for adults, or an educational documentary? With a poorly written script, shoddy story structure, and sub par characters, the movie itself feels lazy and incoherent. The only successful thing about the movie is the way it looks and sounds. The did a decent job technically with this movie, despite the backgrounds. And with only one extra on this release, I can only recommend this as a rental for fans of dinosaurs.