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Walking With Dinosaurs: The Ballad Of Big Al [VHS] [1999]

Kenneth Branagh    Universal, suitable for all   VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh
  • Format: VHS
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: BBC
  • VHS Release Date: 12 Feb 2001
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000056N64
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 280,432 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

In Wyoming at the end of the 1990s, scientists uncovered one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever and, with the wealth of evidence available to them, were able to reconstruct the life of a prehistoric creature with a clarity which had previously been impossible. This documentary uses the same digital and animatronic techniques used in the original 'Walking with Dinosaurs' series to provide a vivid portrait of this creature - nicknamed 'Big Al' - and the world in which he lived. Also includes 'Big Al - The Science' (AKA 'Big Al Uncovered'), a documentary examining the methods the scientists used to reconstruct Big Al's story.

From Amazon.co.uk

The Ballad of Big Al manages the tricky feat of making the viewer feel concern--even sympathy--for a 10m-long, razor-fanged carnivorous predator, an Allosaurus from 145,000,000 years ago. That it does so without resorting to Disney tactics makes its achievement all the more admirable--despite the title, these creatures thankfully don't even speak, let alone sing. In fact, Big Al scores precisely because it takes a resolutely low-key, restrained and intelligent approach to a subject that can all too often end up being sentimentalised.

The programme contains two separate half-hour segments originally transmitted as Walking With Dinosaurs "specials" The first is a biopic of Big Al, the allosaurus whose remarkably complete skeleton, found in Wyoming in 1991, allowed scientists to piece together an accurate picture of the creature's life. We follow Al from his hatching out of an egg, then at regular stages through his development into an almost fully grown adult. Almost being the operative word since, since after suffering a series of injuries Al becomes too ill to hunt and suffers an arbitrary, unspectacular demise (all the more believable and touching for it) in late adolescence.

The second programme is a "making of" documentary, showing how scientists analysed Al's bones and came up with a plausible series of adventures for him. It's easy to forget that these recreations can only be educated supposition--the camerawork and narration (by Kenneth Branagh) exactly mimic actual wildlife documentaries about living species, while the computer-generated depiction of the dinosaurs is never less than utterly convincing. We're in danger of taking this kind of dazzling FX work for granted, but Big Al freshens it up by putting it at the service of a well-structured, very specific narrative.

The programme doesn't hold back on realities of the Jurassic period's harsh, kill-or-be-killed ecosystem, but while it carries an official warning about "mild wildlife horror", Big Al sensibly never dwells on the gory stuff. The most graphic section is also, strangely, the most alluring, as a hungry pack of Allosaurs patiently stalk a herd of colossal Diplodocus across a dry salt lake. The images of these enormous creatures trotting and lumbering along against a stark white background have a surreal, dreamy beauty--the spell abruptly broken when an ailing Diplodocus collapses, exhausted, and the ravenous Allosaurs quickly move in for their bloody feast. --Neil Young


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The BBC pulls off another dinosaur coup! 14 Jun 2001
By A Customer
Format:DVD
If you enjoyed the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series you will want to buy this superb disc. The dinosaurs look great, well animated and the photography/CGI is superbly composed. Sound effects are beautifully executed and there's a great soundtrack throughout. The scene in which a pack of Allosaurs hunt a Diplodocus herd is breathtaking. The supporting documentary is very good too. All in all a great value DVD that you'll want to watch more than once or twice.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic Lions 18 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
A continuation of the BBC special "Walking With Dinosaurs." This episode depicts the life of a carnivorous dinosaur, Allosaurus [otherwise known as the lion of the Jurassic period], from its birth to its demise. This video makes a great addition to your Walking with Dinosaurs collection.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite enough... 2 July 2004
Format:DVD
Being a fan of Walking With Dinosaurs and Walking With Beasts, I decided to buy this special as well. Even though it's quite nice and of a similar high standard as the other series, I wasn't quite satisfied by this product. The reason is just as simple as it is blunt: there is not quite enough product for your money. Considering the full Walking With Dinosaurs series retails at a similar price nowadays, you'd expect a bit more from this DVD. But having said that, I did enjoy the DVD and don't regret buying it! :)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best thing to come out the BBC 12 Oct 2003
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I had nothing but praise to give to to the BBC when they delivered such a fantastic programme. It was so refreshing to watch dinosaurs in such a realistic and natural feeling habitat, none of this rubber looking models with an even more prehistoric narrator telling you all the things that you wern't interested in. The setting and the amazing use of technology was top notch. It is definately one to watch and I promise you, you will never tire of watching T-rex or Alasaurus shred a carcus to pieces, it's that good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for what it is 19 Dec 2010
Format:DVD
The programme itself is really good and a lot of fun, although it does anthropomorphise a little. I am glad I didn't pay full price for this though (it was roughly £5) as it was quite short. This is the only reason that I docked it one star. My son (who's 7) loves this and I think most dino mad kids would too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant 21 Feb 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A birthday gift for my son, he loved it, adds to his collection if dinosaur dvds, keeps him gripped the whole way through
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD 28 May 2013
By Loopy66
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is another great Walking with Dinosaurs DVD. My 8 year old really enjoyed it and there is so much information in it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well done 18 April 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A very well done film that collects all the knowledge and suppositions about T-rex available at this time and makes them easily digestible to the layman audience. Having seen the "Walking with Dinosaurs" series, this is a must see, although the original series made more of an impression it may have been because of the novelty value.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A1 Service will buy more
Published 8 days ago by Mark Harley
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
the format is a little different to Walking with Dinosaurs but this is still very much worth watching
Published 24 days ago by Ant Newson
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Boys love this
Bought for our 6 and 8 yr old -absolutly love this dvd as they are both mad about Dinosaurs- Brilliant as it keeps them quiet for ages.
Published 19 months ago by carole
5.0 out of 5 stars big Al
It was a very, very, very great movie because i could follow big Al from egg through childhood to adulthood and to his death by hunger.
Published 19 months ago by Dorthe Nielsen
5.0 out of 5 stars This is just as good as the original
After i got Walking with dinosaurs i thought that was all of it. I found out i was wrong. When i sore this i knew i had to get it because i loved the original so what could be... Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by J. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST-BUY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This really is one of the best-ever Dinosaur CGI's to ever be released. I would quite happily give it twenty stars if i could. What else can i say?
Published on 7 Feb 2012 by sausagesrus
5.0 out of 5 stars On DVD at last.
I had this on a VHS recorded tape and when the machine went out I decided to get the DVD and I'm glad I did, it is even better.
Published on 13 May 2011 by Mr. D. A. Blackbourn
2.0 out of 5 stars Walking With
A fair delivery time, however upon collection i noticed that instead of the 'Walking With..' disc, i had 'Zombie Flesh Eaters'. Read more
Published on 3 Dec 2010 by MrMarshy94
4.0 out of 5 stars Doyouthinkesaurus
"The fool hath said in his heart", " There is no God". I beg to differ. I recall hearing a joke where a scientist arrogantly told God that he could create life from the dust of... Read more
Published on 22 Sep 2010 by Roger Edward Deshon
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