Judge Gordon Sullivan thought this was documentary on Fred Flintstone's favorite fast-food chain.
An Amazing Adventure!
Rather than dinosaurs, Dino King 3D makes me think about several long-standing problems in the world of entertainment. The first is the place of education in entertainment, especially where children are concerned: Is it a good idea to try to teach overt lessons in films aimed at children? The second is the place of technical excellence in moviemaking: How should filmmakers find a balance between story/character and presentation through things like CGI? The fact that Dino King makes me ask these questions should give you a pretty good idea where the film stands on these issues. Viewers will get a gorgeous-looking film for their troubles, even if the film will leave most cold on an emotional level.
Originally called Tarbosaurus 3D, Dino King 3D is the story of Speckles, a young Tarbosaurus. While out grazing, Speckles and his family are attacked by One-eye the T. Rex. Orphaned, Speckles meets up with Blue-eye, a female Tarbosaurus and we watch as they grow up together, their lives intertwining with that of One-eye.
With Dino King you're getting two movies for the price of one (four movies if you count 2D and 3D versions). One of those films is a kind of Discovery-style educational flick. Our story is, of course, told through visuals with lots of CGI dinosaurs, but we get character insight through voiceover by our hero, Speckles (who is voiced by different actors—and an actress—at different points in his development). In between telling us about his life, Speckles also dishes loads of info on the Cretaceous period. Viewers can learn a lot about the habits of the dinosaurs that inhabit the Korean peninsula millions of years ago and the details of their lives are rendered in excellent CGI. These lizards look good.
The other film we get is a variation on The Lion King but with lizards instead of lions. Speckles is basically a peaceful dude who has his family destroyed by an enemy with a "Scar." Once he's exiled he meets another orphan, they bond and mate, and the "circle of life" continues. But, not before we meet with our scarred friend again.
A couple of problems immediately arise, most of them having to do with the fact that these two films don't sit well with one another. The first problem is that the didactic material gets in the way of the story. There's nothing like a logical reason why Speckles would stop to tell us all this info on the Cretaceous period (let alone how he would actually know said material). Even if you can get past that glaring plot hole, the information flows so fast and thick at some points that it slows down the flow of the story to a crawl. On the flip side, though, some of the didactic material that would be good for kids might be unappreciated because Speckles' story is pretty violent. One-eye is a pretty bad dude, and the CGI renders him as a rather terrifying and violent spectacle. Though parents might be tempted to use the info in this flick to teach their kids about dinosaurs, the more violent scenes are terrifying enough to give most adults pause (and the whole issue with subtitles is another reason to save this one for older kids).
These two sides are reconciled (or at least redeemed) by the fact that technically, Dino King is an excellent CGI feature. The dinosaurs are rendered with care and a keen eye for detail. Though we'll likely never have a definitive idea of what every dinosaur really looked like, Dino King presents a compelling rendition of a few favorites. The 3D elements are similarly impressive, used to break the dinosaurs out of their background giving depth (duh!) to the image in ways that actually add to the creation of this Cretaceous world.
All of this is well presented on Dino King 3D (Blu-ray). Both 2D (AVC-encoded) and 3D (MVC-encoded) 1.78:1/1080p transfers are included on one disc. As product that was always digital, Dino King looks unsurprisingly good. Detail is strong in the foreground character elements (and is a bit softer, largely by design, in backgrounds), and colors are well-saturated and bright. Black levels stay consistent, and there are no problems with compression artifacts. The DTS-HD 5.1 track is similarly excellent, offering clear dialogue from the center and lots of effects to fill the surrounds. English subtitles are included for the Korean dialogue. Sadly, the only extra is the film's trailer.
Dino King 3D will probably be most appreciated by fans of CGI and fans of dinosaurs. The plot will be overly familiar, and those looking for a more educational experience will be annoyed by that thin plot, so that leaves those looking for a more technical thrill to enjoy this one, which Dino King 3D (Blu-ray) facilities easily. Parents should give the flick a look before sitting their kids in front of what promises to be a child-oriented dino-tale that hides a surprisingly violent plot.
Guilty of not being Dino or King enough.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Well Go USA
• 2D Version
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