While I thoroughly enjoyed Walking With Dinosaurs & its various spin-offs, I personally felt it was slightly too orientated towards family entertainment & that there was some scope for a bit more scientific content. In Planet Dinosaur, the balance is perfect - once again, we see CGI monsters hunting & fighting but this time, get brief explanations of where such species roamed, their size compared to humans, etc. Also, many scenes have been directly correlated back to actual fossils - for instance, if we see a predator bite its prey in the neck, we are then told that a fossil with such an injury was actually found. Thus we are reassured that such scenes are plausible & not merely thrown in to entertain.
As the introduction says, "we're living through the golden age of dinosaur discoveries. All over the world, a whole new generation of dinosaurs has been revealed." As such, the focus is on newly discovered dinosaurs which laymen like myself may never have heard of before. These include predators even larger than Tyrannosaurus Rex, the gargantuan Argentinosaurus (wonder where they found that one?!) & recently discovered feathered dinosaurs, including a massive ostrich-like creature which was "like finding a mouse the size of an elephant."
Compared to Walking With Dinosaurs, there's more content, more new material, the CGI is better quality & it's still presented in a package which is entertaining for the whole family. John Hurt's narration is also superb. It's a fine example of the BBC doing what it does best.
on 20 August 2012
I am a huge fan of 3D films and documentaries and have only a few at the moment, with also a passion and a very huge interest in Dinosaurs, I had a lot of expectations for this film, and I was indeed very impressed, even though I have not watched the original Planet Dinosaur series.
The information given in this documentary is easily explained and the way it has been presented with CGI was brilliant and after watching it I have learnt quite a lot about prehistoric life. John Hurt makes an excellent narrator especially for something like this documentary. So overall I recommend this film for anybody who has an interest in Dinosaurs.
The 3D side of this documentary was outstanding and breathtaking. Being a huge fan of 3D this film ticked all the right boxes for me. The depth is perfect and seeing those creatures come out at you in 3D was fantastic, not just things coming out but beautiful CGI landscapes was perfectly set in the back of the screen, watching this in the dark felt like I was there.
Overall, very pleased with what the BBC have accomplished and I do hope in the near future they produce more like this.
Just to let you know this is not the series of Planet Dinosaur, this is just a 50-55 minute spin-off.
on 25 August 2012
I pre-ordered this as soon as I saw it was on the Amazon books (12-4-2012) as we have a 3D system & our son loves dinosaurs - and we all loved the Planet Dinosaur broadcasts, and had already bought the series on ONE standard Blu-Ray disc (with a second disc with a bonus feature in standard definition).
So, after waiting more than 4 months for this 3D version, we were keen to see it when it arrived the other day.
It IS good from the 3D viewpoint.
This isn't a 3D version of the series.
The original series had 6 episodes, total 174 minutes, ie 29 mins each
(Lost World,Feathered Dragons,Last Killers,Fight For Life,New Giants & The Great Survivors)
This 3D disc has ONE 53 min feature, "Ultimate Killers", which, on one viewing, seems to be an amalgam of series bits/narration, albeit in 3D.
Both Blu-Ray discs packages are called "Planet Dinosaur", this one has the addition of "3D" (OK, a different background picture) - so when I ordered this I was expecting it would be the same 6 episodes with the same soundtrack and video footage replaced with 3D-rendered output from original CGI computer runs.
I'll forgive not getting the original "How To Build A Dinosaur" 59 min extra feature not being here, but I got less than a third of the Planet Dinosaur footage (what I thought I was paying for) - which is LESS than the bonus feature on the standard 2D Blu-Ray.
I feel cheated, especially as BOTH version are summed up as follows :
"Presenting a brand-new global perspective on the prehistoric era, the series recreates the creatures, their habitats and how they lived, from analysing their bones to watching them fight to the death."
Note that they both say "the series". For the 3D edition, that is a LIE.
I'm toying with sending this back, as I wouldn't be surprised if, later, there will appear another version - "Full original series in 3D" - which I what I thought I'd pre-ordered!
on 1 November 2012
I probably watched this 7 times already. It is very good. New Dinosaurs, new information and in glorious Blu-ray. The information is shared well and the CGI is gripping. This will add considerably to your knowledge of prehistoric life. What I also enjoyed was that less impressive species were covered in addition to the mega ones like Spinosaurus. Complex information like how two mega predators existed in Africa at the same time is also shared, and another awesome feature is how they came about said information. Truly well done hopefulle a season two will appear at some stage.
on 3 March 2012
If you are looking for a 'Walking with Dinosaurs' type of series then you will be disappointed. This is much, much more than that, this is a documentary through and through, with evidence, dates, suggestions and facts - it's a brilliant, thought provoking series created from the most up to date information available. I would definately recommend it for anyone who is interested in the life of dinosaurs.
on 6 May 2015
"We are living in the golden age of Dinosaur discovery," intones the narrator at the beginning of "Planet Dinosaur." Then, in this series of shows, he demonstrates that, that is not an exaggeration: It is the honest truth. The creatures detailed here from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous are phenomenally fascinating, and they hold the attention of the viewer every second that they are on screen.
The CGI in this series is some of the best that I have ever seen in a nature documentary. There are times when one may as well be watching a BBC series on animals' living today with a narrator's telling of their life histories and dynamic interactions with other species. Cut in with the CGI are graphic glyphs that tell of the geological time, place and date of discovery of the fossils that form the basis of the creatures created herein. The computer images and the science behind them are absolutely first rate.
My copy of this DVD is one that I ordered from Amazon UK, and it is in PAL Region 2 format. As I have an all-regions DVD player, I can play it with no difficulties. The British version comprises two DVD's. I believe that the American version comprises the first British DVD with the second one's being omitted.
The first DVD comprises six episodes: Lost World, Feathered Dragons, Last Killers, Fight for Life, New Giants and The Great Survivors. The second DVD comprises a background feature, "How to Build a Dinosaur," that elucidates how the study of the fossils leads to the reconstruction of the dinosaurs that we see in museums and in films. It is hosted by one of Britain's best known presenters the very smart and attractive Dr. Alice Roberts.
In the first DVD, the series moves from Africa to China to the Lost Islands of Europe with their shallow, surrounding seas to the deeper oceans to North America and South America to the High Arctic to Madagascar. It is a world-wide exploration of dinosaur species, especially the new ones which have only recently been unearthed. Amongst some of those that have aroused the strong interest of the public are Africa's Spinosaurus with its huge back frill and the latest discoveries from the East.
"One country sits at the centre of a new Dinosaur revolution: China," says the narrator at the beginning of "Feathered Dragons." This is so very true. From a slight trickle of fossils with evidence of feathers, a flood has descended upon us. New feathered dinosaurs are constantly being brought to light. From the impressions of their feathers, it can be determined whether they were for display, warmth or flight. In some case, even the colours are known. The connection between birds and certain groups of Dinosaurs with a common ancestor's lying somewhere back in history is now irrefutable.
One of the great examples of parallel evolution is shown in the "Feathered Dragons" segment. A small, feathered Dinosaur with body feathers and large tail feathers for display, also, has large, gnawing, front teeth and and elongated fingers for prying out grubs and insects from trees. It is the reptilian, ecological equivalent of today's Aye-Aye in Madagascar. The huge evidence of evolution in Dinosaurs demonstrates the enormous genius of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace. The rules and laws of evolution developed by Darwin and Wallace do not just apply to the the animals of their day and today: They apply to Dinosaurs, too.
This is a superlative show. It will entertain and inform not just youngsters, but, also, adults, too. This is a show well worth having in one's DVD library.
Ron's Grade: A+
on 26 December 2011
Recently shown on the BBC, this 2-disc set contains all six episodes of the CGI documentary series that highlights recent discoveries about the Mesozoic world, as well as a "behind the scenes" documentary on a second disc. Admittedly, as some people have pointed out, this series does not contain the best computer animation possible. It DOES, however, contain better CGI material than I've seen in several other places; it's very good, just not mega-budget cinema quality. However, it's not so much the digital dinos that matter in this series, it's the discoveries and theories that are brought to light.
Episode 1, "The Lost World," covers Saharan Africa, which has once again started to yield interesting insights into the lives of its dinosaurs. The bulk of the episode is devoted to two giant predators, Spinosaurus and Charcharodontosaurus, as well as their prey, environment, and a few of the other creatures that live alongside them.
Episode 2, "Feathered Dragons," focuses on the strange feathered dinosaurs being uncovered in the Far East, especially China and Mongolia. See such marvels as the four-winged "biplane dinosaur" Microraptor, its venomous cousin Sinornithosaurus, the bizarre, long-armed, aye-aye-like Epidexipteryx which uses its chisel-like front teeth and extra-long fingers to get insects out of trees, and the strange Gigantoraptor, an oviraptor that's bigger than the local tyrannosaurs.
Episode 3, "Last Killers," features the famous tyrannosaurs (which dominated the northern hemisphere continents), and the abelisaurs, which were the top predators in the lands of the southern hemisphere (and which looked a bit like a cross between a dinosaur and a pit-bull). Watch a pack of Daspletosaurus hunt, see the cannibalistic fury of the Madagascan Majungasaurus, and find out what fills the top predatory niches when you go too far north for most tyrannosaurs to be comfortable with the cold.
Episode 4, "Fight for Life," deals with new discoveries in predator/prey relationships. In Europe, we see the plesiosaur Kimmerosaurus try not to become lunch for the massive pliosaur known as "Predator X," a relative of the Liopleurodon. In North America, we find a mixed-species herd of Camptosaurus and Stegosaurus work together to increase their chances of survival against predators like Allosaurus and Saurophaganax. Also, to prove that scientists like a laugh as much as the next person, the tail end of Stegosaurus now seems to have been officially dubbed "the thagomizer," paying homage to a certain 1982 panel of "The Far Side" by famed nerd cartoonist Gary Larson, who is a favourite amongst scientists.
Episode 5, "New Giants," shows us the colossal South American Argentinosaurus and its predators, Skorpiovenator and Mapusaurus, as well as the African Paralititan and its nemeses, Charcharodontosaurus and Sarcosuchus. Also important to note: find out why, despite what you may have heard in a folk song long ago, you should never go walkin' in the footsteps of a sauropod.
Episode 6, "The Great Survivors," reveals some of the survival mechanisms that enabled dinosaurs to adapt and survive in a changing world. See the dwarf sauropod Magyarosaurus, a titanosaur not much bigger than a horse, the Hatzegopteryx, a ground-stalking pterosaur as tall as a giraffe, the carnivore-turned-vegetarian therizinosaur Nothronychus and its huge defensive claws, and the nesting behaviour of Gigantoraptor.
The extra behind-the-scenes documentary on the second disc, "How to Build a Dinosaur," is presented by Dr. Alice Roberts. Intelligent, competent, attractive, and charming, she also has what I find to be possibly THE MOST IRRITATING vowel-shifted accent I've ever heard in a TV presenter. The documentary is based around finding out how, in Dr. Roberts' own words, these "ore-inspiring" creatures "licked and meeved." Most of the time is spent on the reconstruction of a family of tyrannosaurs for a museum display, and how modern research techniques and comparative anatomy in modern animals help scientists visualise what dinosaurs were like as accurately as possible. This is also probably the only place where you'll get to see in close-up, during a dissection, an ostrich's vicious-looking finger-claw (something I never even knew existed), as well as the "tee tays" on its feet. At least she pronounces "dissection" correctly, which very few people do, so props to her on that.
On the downside, the editing is not as tight as that of previous similar series. We get told three times in the space of about ten minutes that Spinosaurus was 17 meters long, just in case we forgot the first couple of times we were told. John Hurt mispronounces a few of the creatures' names on occasion and it wasn't caught and corrected. He seems to have the most problem with Daspletosaurus, Troodon, and Epidexipteryx. Some of the subtitles don't match the audio track. The wrong words or incorrect spellings occasionally slip in, such as John Hurt saying "Zunityrannus," while the subtitles show "Sinotyrannus." Also, some of the little factoid frames don't match up with the narration. In one instance, the narration says Spinosaurus was discovered in 1912, while the pop-up factoid frame says 1915, for example. Although it is not explicitly mentioned in the series (but can be inferred from later episodes), the pop-up factoid frames list the year in which one specific fossil specimen was discovered, not the species itself.
Still, it's a fascinating new series with amazing new information for all palaeontology buffs young and old. Highly recommended, but with a grain of salt. The hardcover companion book for this series is also available here on Amazon, but it's mostly aimed at youngsters.
on 12 December 2012
This only works on my all region orie blu ray player. It will not work on my regular region a blu ray player. So you probably need a all region blu ray player like mine to watch this one unless you are in the uk and using a uk player. This is the best dinosaur program that is now out. It uses the current most and recent finds and information to give a world wide view of dinosaurs. It's done with computer generated effects and it's a outstanding piece of work. Juhn Hurt does a great job of narrating this one. And it does have subtitles. It's not on blu ray in the u.s. so I had to get this version. The u.s. has a dvd version which is the same but not in hd. There is also a 3d version which has one or two episodes of this series on it. That is certianly region 2 or b only. And it doesn't have the whole tv series at all. One must wonder why bbc american did not show this tv series here. What a big mistake!. The science here is top notch and the effects are from this era. As opposed to even ten years ago. Leave it to the bbc to do another great dino series, after all they changed everything with their walking with dinosaurs show in 2000!. If you hava a all region player get this one, if not buy the dvd version , it's just a great tv series for the whole family.
on 2 July 2012
I bought this DVD for my 6 year old dino obsessed son, he enjoy's it immensely but I think it is probably better suited for older dino fans. The graphics are outstanding, the information up to date and interestingly portrayed if a little disjointed. The "violence" is a little more graphic then some of our other dino dvd's but is well within context and not gratuitous in my opinion. I also enjoyed this DVD as the supposition is backed up with evidence to support it, my biggest problem with most older dino programmes has always been the portrayal of supposition as fact.
on 19 December 2011
Like many other reviewers, I greatly appreciated Planet Dinosaur's efforts to introduce palaeontological evidence into the narrative: something that was sorely missing from Walking with Dinosaurs. Providing a better comparison of the different species and patterns of evolutionary change from different geographical locations (based on new discoveries in China, South America, Africa etc.) helped give a much better understanding of how dinosaurs lived and died (and why), as well as the current state of thinking regarding these animals.
I did not think that the CGI was nearly as poor as has been suggested, especially if you consider that much of the footage from Walking with Dinosaur was achieved using models against 'real life' landscapes. In Planet Dinosaur, on the other hand, the landscape itself is computer-generated, which is what may have led some viewers to comment on this aspect of the series.
I refrained from giving Planet Dinosaur a 5-star review for one reason only (which also drove me crazy with Walking with Dinosaurs)... and that is some of the behavioural 'guesswork' in the series.
For example: why do producers/directors of dinosaur documentaries insist on having the predator dinosaurs roar like lions/bark like seals? And why are they doing so AT THEIR PREY before going in for the kill? Wouldn't that kind of give the game away? Surely any vocalisations of aggression would be used against threats (e.g. other predators, other members of their own species) to defend territory, challenge for food etc?
Yet again and again, we see a lone predator reptile 'roaring' his head off for no apparent reason, or - even better - at an unwary herbivore. Yes, I understand that this is for the benefit of the viewer, to emphasise the scariness of the thing, but it is irritating nonetheless. I cannot think of a single extant bird or reptile species which roars like a lion or trumpets like an elephant, so I can't comprehend why some theropods would do so.
Likewise, having a herd of gigantic prey species decide to take a collective nap at night-time (lying completely flat on the ground (including their heads), and with no sentry post, when they are preyed upon by nocturnal hunters) is just bizarre! It would take an animal of this size an age to stagger to their feet - that is, if they weren't already suffocated by their own bulk in lying prone on the ground.
But these gripes aside... it is a very good series, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone. However, if I never hear John Hurt say the word "killers" again (and again and again), I will be happy.