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Walking with Dinosaurs

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Walking with Dinosaurs
250px-Walkingwithdinosdvdcover.jpg
Imagine if you could travel back in time...
Genre: Documentary
Running Time: 28 Minutes
Country: United Kingdom / USA
Release Date: 4 October – 8 November 1999
Network(s): BBC One
Discovery Channel
Created by: Tim Haines
Distributed by: BBC Worldwide
Starring: Kenneth Branagh (BBC broadcast and home video and Discovery Channel)
Avery Brooks (Discovery Channel broadcast)
Ben Stiller (Prehistoric Planet)
Seasons: 1
Episodes: 6


Walking with Dinosaurs is a six-part nature documentary television miniseries created by Tim Haines and produced by BBC Natural History Unit. The series first aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom in 1999 with narration by Kenneth Branagh.

Episodes

  • New Blood - Arizona 220 million years ago sees some of the first dinosaurs, Coelophysis, begin their rise in a dry, dusty wirld.
  • Time of the Titans - In Colorado 152 million years ago, a clutch of baby diplodocus grow up to huge sizes while dodging hungry predators and other threats.
  • Cruel Sea - England 145 million years ago is a shallow sea homeb o marine reptiles, from the dolphin like Opthalmosaurus to the giant Liopleurodon.
  • Giants of the Skies - In which we follow an old male ornithocheirus 125 million years ago on a transcontinental journey,
  • Spirits of the Ice Forest - In Australia 109 million years ago, a clan of Lleaynosaura survive in a polar forest.
  • Death of a Dynasty - 65 million years ago in Montana, a mother Tyrannosaurus and the other last dinosaurs bear witness to the asteroid that would kill them all.

Why It Rocks

  1. The visuals are utterly astounding, whether its detailed CG and models that move with actual weight and live to them, or lifelike animatronic puppets.
  2. Kenneth Branagh has plenty of pathos and gravitas that make his narration excellent.
  3. Actually commits to a nature documentary aesthetic, so no dumb/intrusive cutaways to talking heads.
  4. All of the animals act like animals and nothing like stupid movie monsters, having all the nuanced behaviours that come with such.
  5. Its willing to show just how gruesome nature can get, without going to ridiculous levels.
  6. The cinematography is lush and vibrant and helps fuel the show's nature documentary style and theming.
  7. The show's storytelling makes you care for the dinosaurs. A standout is the Ornithocheirus from Giants of the Skies, where we see the hardships it goes through to reach the mating grounds but fails to even mate, and dies alone.
  8. Ben Barlett's score is excellent and atmospheric.
  9. it introduced many a Gen Z and Millennial to palaeontology and dinosaurs.
  10. It inspired a wave of dinosaur documentaries on other channels.
  11. It would lead to the long-lasting Trilogy of Life series, which are also excellent and all improve upon one another, only rivalled by Jurassic Park.

Bad Qualities

  1. Science has marched on and has rendered a fair chunk of it inaccurate, which palaeo-fans will pick up. For instance, the show's Liopleurodon is oversized thanks to wrong estimates, while the show's theropods have hands facing backwards, which they didn't, while many of the theropods, the Utahraptors especially, are scaly and lack feathers.
  2. The show opts to display Utahraptor itself in Europe under the flimsy justification of how other dinosaur taxa were found in both Europe and North America (this is itself inaccurate as we now know they were separate genera), which is stupid to say the leas.
  3. The CG can often show its age at times, and often clumsily disguises it in ways HD reveals.
  4. The show often recycles its models to save on budget, resulting in creatures looking way different then they should. The quetzalcoatlus is recycled from the ornithocheirus model, and has teeth (the actual creature didn't).
  5. The film titled after it was a disappointing flop.
  6. The US version (narrated by Avery Brooks), while still good, is weakened by it's awkward editing into a TV special.
  7. The other US version, Prehistoric Planet (narrated by Ben Stiller) has a dumbed down script full of corny humour.

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