Remember when you were five and you first heard about dinosaurs? Think of the awe you felt and how you were sure nothing could be more frightening and wonderful at the same time. Now imagine that reaction only it isn't just you. It is a crowd of people, little kids and adults together, getting that rush. And not a single bit of CGI.
The BBC's Walking With DInosaurs- The Live Experience kicked off at the Tacoma Dome, bringing to life the popular TV show. Life is exactly what we were given. The dinosaurs, a mix of sophisticated puppetry and robotics, with the occasional human body thrown in the mix, are so real it's scary. Combined with top-notch lighting and sound design, the prehistoric characters look like they could walk out of the dome and head downtown. Sure, there is some suspension of disbelief required, but once you see the sheer size of these things, disbelief gets a swift kick in the bottom.
Highlights include the massive brachiosaurs (those are the big, long-necked ones, ask a seven-year-old), and everyone's favorite, the T-Rex.
What's lacking is actual contact between the beasts. Fights are set up, but then nothing really happens. It is definitely the PG version of life 65 million years ago.
The whole show is held together by a British-accented (BBC, remember) paleontologist/narrator. He speaks with equal amounts of knowledge and awe in the subject that it is difficult not to listen.
Just a couple things, if you do go. First, let the kids be kids. They're going to be loud and talk, but that's what kids do. Don't get mad. Second, and this is especially for the older show-goers, when they ask you not to use flash photography, please listen. The reason that they never tell you is that in a dark, enclosed space like the Tacoma Dome, everyone can see when a flash goes off. And no one likes a sudden bright light in their eyes when it's that dark. If you can't take a good picture without your flash, buy a poster instead. (No flash was used for the above photo.)