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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good but Very Brief
Tim Haines and BBC have really spoiled us with their work on Earth’s prehistoric life. Both “Walking with Dinosaurs” and “Walking with Beasts” were models of an almost perfect balance between hard science and popular entertainment. With the bar set that high, a minor disappointment is inevitable, regarding this latest forage into the...
Published on 16 Jan. 2006 by Nick Candoros

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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but disappointing
After the excellent 'Walking with Dinosaurs' and 'Walking with Beasts', I hoped that the BBC would make a follow up series regarding the period in history before the dinosaurs. Hence I was pleased to see 'Walking with Monsters' coming to our screens.
Although previous entries in the 'Walking with...' series and Nigel...
Published on 11 Dec. 2005 by Geoffrey McCarthy


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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good but Very Brief, 16 Jan. 2006
By 
Nick Candoros (Athens - Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
Tim Haines and BBC have really spoiled us with their work on Earth’s prehistoric life. Both “Walking with Dinosaurs” and “Walking with Beasts” were models of an almost perfect balance between hard science and popular entertainment. With the bar set that high, a minor disappointment is inevitable, regarding this latest forage into the planet’s evolutionary past.
Let’s put the record straight: the “Monsters” series enjoys the same high standards of craftsmanship and educating-entertaining value as its predecessors. The species chosen to illustrate the drama of life’s evolution, are quite representative of the surrounding fauna, the “stars” of their time. Their stories are well constructed and develop in a seamless manner from one period to the next. And the “intermissions” with the time-clock ticking and the species changing before our eyes, give a very good picture of life’s continuity and the marvels of evolution.
But we would like to have more, much more. Why not having a six-episode series for the six periods of the palaeozoic era? The answer is obvious: costs constraints. That realization does nothing to allay our hunger. Sure there are enough scientific data to enable the series’ creators to construct complex and marvelous stories for each period. And to prehistoric life enthusiasts, Cambrian arthropods and Devonian fish (where is Dunkleosteus?) are as fascinating as Permian mammal-like reptiles.
Furthermore, the series, following the tradition of the “Walking with...” sagas, creates dramatic stories by presenting fascinating animal behaviors which I suspect lack solid scientific justification. Educated guesses, an indispensable part of paleontology, can push the “poetic license” card a bit too far, even for non-scientists. I understand of course the principles of inference, but I think that they overdid it this time
Despite the above grudges, the series manages in three episodes to convey the richness and fascination of life’s evolution on Earth, for the first 300 million years of its existence. The animals’ CGI are usually of the highest quality, but unfortunately for the computer guys, they already have spoiled us and we expect nothing less. And a measly 90 minutes of material manages to create many regrets for what might have been, if the BBC people gave it the time and money necessary.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars best looking walking with yet, 17 May 2011
This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This d.v.d has only three episodes,plus a 30min documentry,but don't let that put you off.

The annimation for the most part is a step ahead of earlier programmes in the series,with special mention going to the creation of DIMETRODON,and EUPARKERIA.Also the camera moves around a lot more,with some interresting angles,giving the feel of a moderen wildlife documentary,for example THE SPY IN THE DEN series.

Their is a dramatic narritave running through the episodes,with animals seemingly on the verge of extinction,which is open to debate.However since we are talking about extinct creatures,I personnally feel that once you've seen them you want to try to understand why they became sucsessful and ultimately why they became extinct.Their is a common theme running through the episodes that is how moderen animals evolved,and focuses on key events in evolution,and so to the first episode.

Episode one-This is the weekest visualy of the three,and starts off in the sea with the developement of eyes,exo skeletons,and the first vertibrates.The scorpions and fish are clearly c.g.i but a realistic looking gaint amphibian,and it's dramatic story arc salvage the episode.

Episode two-Starts off with giant lizard eating spiders,before going onto the star creature of the series DIMETRODON,the well kwown sailback lizard.The dimetrodon sequance features probably the best work in the entire walking with series,e.g camera work as mentioned earlier,movement is dynamic and realistic,and to be honest they just look really amazing,mean and full of menace.I would love to see Primeval use Dimetrodon as their creature of the week may be munching on human sun worshipers that would be fun[well you know what I mean].

Episode three- Features mammal like lizards,and is probably the most consistantly good episode of the three.However it is the 55 c.m four legged lizard
EUPARKIA that steals the show,with it's ability to run on it's two hind legs.The annimaters do a great job,looking almost totally life like ,you can see how dinosaurs wiil eventually come to be.

All in all a good value package,which I strongly reccomend,buy it if you are interrested in the nuts and bolts of evoluotion.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but disappointing, 11 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
After the excellent 'Walking with Dinosaurs' and 'Walking with Beasts', I hoped that the BBC would make a follow up series regarding the period in history before the dinosaurs. Hence I was pleased to see 'Walking with Monsters' coming to our screens.
Although previous entries in the 'Walking with...' series and Nigel Marven's entries have come under a fair amount of speculation and criticism, I do think that overall they are good productions. To be frank, 'Walking with Monsters' lets the side down. My complaint about the show is not the special effects; as usual they are great. What I do think is very wrong about this series is the fact that it misses out completely a few key events in the evolution of vertebrate life which are crying out to be mentioned.
The first being the origin of all vertebrate life. All we see to start off with is the so-called first fish. Where did he come from???
Secondly and, personally from my point of view most crucially, there is no mention of the evolutuion of fish into tetrapods. We just see the fish grow legs and become an early amphibian and that's it. Surely this is worth talking about!!!
Next what about the plants. The previous shows did make small comments concerning the evolution of plant life. Here they don't really get a look in.
One of the ways the BBC could have got around some of these issues would have been to make a longer series. Previous outings have had a six episode run. Why is 'Walking with Monsters' only a three episode run? Surely this series deserved a longer run, especially considering the immense time scale, the longest of all the 'Walking with...' series so far, that it covers. For example the first episode is the worst; covering about 200 million years in 30 minutes!!!!
Overall good in places and entertaining but on the other hand also very disappointing too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Monsters look real, 13 Oct. 2006
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This may be the shortest chapter of the walking with... series, but it shows very good how life was before the dinosaurs. The animals seem here, look more realistic than in any other part of the series. I will liked more if the program lasted more than three chapters; but I still liked the way it was done, so I can't give this program less than five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars felt rushed, 5 July 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (Stevenage, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
instead of doing a story based on one creature per episode like the other "walking with" documentaries this follows the sea monster series format where they pack many into each episode, Basically what im moaning about is like sea monsters its too short but its slightly better because theres no nigel marvin
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's Good, But..., 30 Oct. 2011
By 
Theo (Gondwana) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
There are pluses and minuses with this one. The single biggest upside is that as with all the "Walking with... " shows, it is both beautiful and wondrous to behold, regardless of what you might think of the content on any deeper level. Of course, as with all the shows in this franchise there are occasional moments where the special effects don't quite come off. This time around the main problem is that here and there the CGI is just a little bit too smooth, making you suddenly all too aware that it is indeed only CGI. But such moments are very much the exception rather than the rule. Overall, this is an amazing thing to watch. It presents us with visions of incredible, alien landscapes that must surely enthral any thinking, feeling person. And because of all the shows in this series this is the one dealing with the time farthest removed from our own, it is also the one that offers us a view into certainly the most alien, and arguably the most enthralling worlds of all.

That said, there are also some viable criticisms of this work.

First of all, we might as well acknowledge that like all the shows in the franchise it is a seamless melding of real science, pure speculation, and a great deal that is somewhere in between. The series creators accept as much, but some palaeontologists quite understandably object to this blend. They would like it to be made clearer where the real science ends and the speculation begins. I am not entirely unsympathetic to this view. But the actual rights and wrongs of the issue aside, from a viewer's perspective I think the way to get the most out of this work is to approach it much in much same spirit as Destination Moon - the very first item I reviewed here on Amazon.

Destination Moon is a pioneering "hard" science fiction movie made in 1949 and first screened in 1950. It told the story of a lunar mission with as much realism as it could muster based on the actual science and technology of the day. And taken simply for what it is, Destination Moon is superb. The lunar landscape backdrops painted by famed space artist Chesley Bonestell are incredible to look upon even today. Were they 100% accurate? Of course not. But they weren't a complete fantasy either. They were a reasonable "best guess" given the information available. And over and above all that, they were amazing feats of imagination, wondrous to behold. It's the same deal here.

My own main criticism of Walking with Monsters would be its sheer brevity. While Walking with Dinosaurs and Walking with Beasts both had six episodes apiece, this one comes in with a scant three episodes in total. My reservations here aren't just a matter of wanting more, or of wanting better value for money. All of the episodes in the previous two shows focused almost entirely on a single period; a single self-contained world. That is not the case with Walking with Monsters. In fact, we actually jump around in time quite a bit. This often leaves us feeling that we've only been given a glimpse into a world that we really would have liked to have gotten to know better. To have explored more fully.

So much for the show itself. Now how about this release? To be honest, there is one small thing I truly hate about it. It has a rather lengthy advertisement for the whole "Walking with... " franchise that plays automatically every time you load the disk, and which you cannot skip through. I know this is just an annoyance, but it is... well, annoying! I have no problem with a studio including promotional material on a disk, but being _forced_ to watch this material every single time I load the disk gets old real quick. Especially when I've already paid out my own good money to actually own the disk, it's almost kind of insulting.

The extras are a bit wanting too. There is no commentary over the episodes themselves; only a 30 minute documentary that in fact covers all of the three "Walking with... " programs (Dinosaurs, Beasts, and Monsters) in the trilogy. It's okay I guess. It's nothing special, and it's certainly not especially concerned with Walking with Monsters. It actually spends far more time discussing the first program in the franchise, Walking with Dinosaurs. Frankly, we are left feeling that this program, the third and final instalment, was far from being the climax, almost an afterthought for its creators. I suppose that would explain the brevity.

Of course, in talking about "Walking with... " only as a trilogy, that naturally enough begs the question: isn't Walking With Cavemen part of the franchise? And what about The Ballard of Big Al, Chased by Dinosaurs and Chased By Sea Monsters? Aren't they part of the story too?

Well, apparently not - at least, not so far as the creators themselves are concerned! In that little 30 minute documentary I mentioned earlier, they consistently talk of the sequence only as a trilogy, apparently excluding Big Al, the Cavemen series, and those two "Chased by... " programs, all of which were actually made prior to Walking with Monsters. But truth be told, that's fine with me.

The Ballard of Big Al was always a kind of add on, an extra. And although Big Al was good, in all the rest of those shows they committed what I personally consider the colossal mistake of dispensing with voice-only narration. Instead they used an on-camera presenter who was depicted as actually being physically present in the prehistoric world. That just did not work. Frankly, it all came across as a bit silly. In fairness, Robert Winston, who narrated Walking with Cavemen, did do the job as well as it could have been done. The failure was not his - it was in the decision to have anyone do that particular job at all. Nigel Marven on the other hand, who was the presenter in the remaining outings, was an absolute clown whose performance was never anything other than wince-worthy. His constant fretting over the "danger" posed by the CGI monsters was simply ridiculous. Maybe he appealed to the six year olds, but that's about all that could be said of him. I don't know whether to lay the blame on him personally or on the writers and director, but either way it's not overstating things to say that his performance really did ruin the shows he appeared in.

So to conclude on a final positive note, one thing I definitely appreciated about Walking with Monsters was that it returned to the style of presentation that served this meta-series so well right from its inception. Kenneth Branagh has been restored as our voice-only narrator, and all's right with the world.

Theo.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for dinosaur mad kids, 19 Feb. 2010
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
My 4 year old loves this series - we now have monsters, dinosaurs and beasts. This is by far the most gruesome of the 3 and as such I won't let his 2 year old brother watch it ... yet. Lots of crunching bones and bloody death throws. D has to hide behind cushions in bits, but he won't ever let me turn it off. Goolish joy in seeing enormous monsters fighting. Not for squeemish littlies but much more adult friendly than Fireman Sam. I don't mind watching this endlessly. The graphics are amaizing, ok the science might be stretched a bit but it's still vaguely educational.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great show from a great series., 4 July 2012
By 
Michael Dobey (colorado springs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
This whole series is a wonder to watch, Most of us growing up could have never imagined such a realistic show featuring long extinct animals. Even forty years ago they didn't understand about the real nature of dinosaurs or even mammal like reptiles. And special effects were models not computer animation. The only fault with this show is that they do speculate alot. For instance Dimetrodons eating their young. Perhaps they did, or perhaps they didn't, they are the ancestors of mammals so who knows?. Perhaps they raised them. but in their defense they use what modern reptiles would do and interpolate it onto this show. I have the whole series on dvd and when I saw them on tv I was amazed. At the time it was very cutting age. Now we see more of this but at least this is based alot in science. This is an outstanding show and was a step forward in shows like this. The whole series was. Now on natgeo you may see similiar shows but these shows were breakthroughs and can give people a greater insight into the pastworlds of the creatures before the dinosaurs. Which are very interesting. I do wonder though if protomammals didn't have hair on them. It may be that they did in fact look as hairy as todays mammals.
Not in this show though. kids over 7 should enjoy this show immensely. And adults like me can't get enough. I still look for shows on the science channel, nat geo or discovery featuring dinosaurs. Or even the bbc when they do a occasional show.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars love it, 26 May 2010
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
My Foster child loves this DVD. He loves the fact that he is learning about creatures of the past in an exciting and enjoyable way. It is well presented and engages a child imagination all the way through. I would highly recommend this DVD for children interested in the creatures that once inhabited this planet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Monster DVD, 13 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] (DVD)
I bought this DVD for my 8 year old son. He absolutely loved it and here is what he had to say:

"This is an awesome series because it has lots of epic clashes and battles. I really liked the descriptions of how we evolved from these amazing creatures.
In fact, I've now got the whole series which is:
1. Walking with Monsters,
2. Walking with Dinosaurs and
3. Walking with Beasts.
So you can see that I gave it five stars because I love the whole Walking with DINOSAURS series!"

Overall, the 3D animation and attention to detail was superb and from the point of view of a grown up - well worth the money spent. Great value for money indeed!
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Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005]
Walking with Monsters [DVD] [2005] by Kenneth Branagh (DVD - 2005)
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