'Walking With Dinosaurs' Gives Voice to Ancient Creatures

There have been plenty of animated movies with cute, talking dinosaurs in the past, but the upcoming "Walking With Dinosaurs" tries to root its creature characters in a reality you haven't seen on screen before. That effort ranges from placing the computer-generated dinosaurs in real environments, to detailing just how mother dinos fed their babies (yes, apparently they regurgitated food for their young just like birds).

To do it, the film brings together two directors from very different backgrounds. Barry Cook is an animation veteran who previously directed Disney's "Mulan" and the CG holiday movie "Arthur Christmas." He's joined by Neil Nightingale, the Creative Director at BBC Earth and a veteran producer of nature documentaries. Together, they took cameras into the wilds of Alaska and New Zealand to capture environmental footage so the animators could later place their digital dinos inside. And it was all shot with with 3D system James Cameron developed for "Avatar."

The film's story focuses on Patchi (voiced by Justin Long), a young Pachyrhinosaurus ("thick-nosed lizard") who's the smallest of his litter. Patchi has to compete with his siblings for food and attention, in addition to just trying to avoid all the dangers a tiny dinosaur faces in the world. But he does get some help from Alex (voiced by John Leguizamo), a prehistoric bird with sharp teeth and a sharper tongue.

"Walking With Dinosaurs" will be in theaters on December 20.

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