Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Up to 70% off Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop now Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good series with some fascinating information, 26 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Planet Dinosaur [DVD] (DVD)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Location: Torbay, Devonshire, England

Top Reviewer Ranking: 7,550