Well, I took the family to see “Walking with Dinosaurs: the Live Experience” last night at the Scottrade Center in nearby St. Louis. While expensive (at least to me; the office troll does not go to many shows), the show was fun. Actually, seeing Boy #2 as he kept turning to me silently with that “Dad, this is great!” expression on his face took the pain out of my pocketbook a little. And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discounts that lowered the cost by 25% were nice, too.
The “free walking” animatronic-style, life-sized dinosaurs were rather well done, I think. I don’t know how advanced the technology is or if this show could have been done some time ago, but I thought the dinosaurs’ creators did a marvelous job and that they looked, and generally moved, quite realistically. (The supports under the dinos that are really doing the moving and such were not nearly as distracting as I had considered they might be.) And the actors in the fantastic Raptor suits and such did a good job, I believe. The sound system was, I thought, fantastic. If the roars and grumblings were coming from the Scottrade Center’s sound system and not from the dinos, themselves, I couldn’t tell; the synchronization with the dinos’ mouths and the “illusion of origination” (if it was an illusion) was great. I greatly doubt that the dinosaurs moved as fluidly as they would in “real life,” yet they moved much more fluidly than I was expecting. Also, my wife and I thought that the set design, itself, and the changing-with-the-era “stage foliage” was creative and well thought out.
While I didn’t find it completely possible to suspend all disbelief and imagine there really were live dinosaurs roaming around on the floor, at the same time while watching them I did find myself able to better imagine what it would be like seeing the creatures face-to-face — or, rather, face-to-knee-cap, as it would more likely be. The presence of the human “paleontologist” on the floor with the dinos added a good bit of scale to the creatures; without him it would have been harder to comprehend how truly large they were, given the utter lack of experience we have with creatures of such enormous proportions.
The soundtrack during the show was not too bad. Being a soundtrack fan, I wouldn’t have minded buying a copy, but after the show diving into the mass of people at the “official merchandise” stand was not something I was interested in attempting, especially since I wasn’t even sure if they were selling CDs. Actually, I didn’t even buy a $20 program. I told the kids they could cut pictures out of the newspaper if they wanted a commemorative book. (“Dude, you’re cheap…”)
[I might mention, too, that based on the reactions of our 3.71-year-old, the show was not too scary for most young ones. Well, I’d call it Not-Scary-But-With-Potential. Depending on your child’s disposition and where your seats are located, your outcome might be totally different. We watched Boy #4’s face last night for signs that it was too much, but the poker face was hard to crack for info. No nightmares last night and positive feelings about it today, so I take that as a good sign.]
You can check out the show’s website here: www.dinosaurlive.com. Worth the price? Please forgive me for demurring. As mentioned above, the office troll doesn’t have much experience on which to base such a conclusion. But glad we went? Yes. Or more accurately, glad we took our kids.
Now, that said, the show was chock full of evolutionist assumptions. Really, that should surprise no one. The supposed God-like creative powers of Evolution are duly lauded and worshiped by the script writers. My kids are used to that by now and are quick, themselves, to point out to me when a narrator is overstepping his bounds, so I wasn’t too worried about that. But I will admit that understanding the proper time frames of Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 and understanding that the Scripture does indicate that there was a “world that was” before the “world that is” is a big help in settings like this. (Some of what I’ve written on that can be found in the posts collected under the “Life on Mars” tag, listed in reverse order with the first post at the bottom.)
Also, there is obviously one piece of equipment that the Scottrade Center desperately needs to install: A flash-detecting, camera-vaporizing chemical laser. (Actually, I guess a missile system might be more realistic.) Even given the pre-show announcement that there should be no flash photography during the show, you would have thought the days of elementary school and “opposite day” were back and that the announcement had been meant to encourage flash photography. Really annoying. Don’t ask me to sort out which part of me is more annoyed, the righteous indignation part or the self-righteous indignation part — I’m still working on that. But one good self-targeting SDI-technology chemical laser could have fixed that problem. (Really, people: were your kids watching you as you disregarded the rules just because you didn’t like them? Have fun when they get to high school!)
One more comment: the only dinosaur to be greeted with stadium-wide applause upon her appearance was the adult Tyrannosaurus Rex. The T-Rex still continues to be the star of the dinosaur world after all these years. Do you think the other dinosaurs ever feel like having a T-Rex in the show just sucks all the oxygen out of the arena for the rest of them? Wow — the cat fights and backbiting that must go on in the dressing rooms, I can only imagine.