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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 January 2006
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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on 11 December 2005
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2016
This is a thoroughly enjoyable docudrama - that uses CGI special effects to recreate life on Earth prior to the dinosaurs. We get to visit prehistory from the moment complex life first evolved through to the Cambrian explosion and, later, the giant monsters of the Triassic. This 3-episode series serves as a prequel to 'Walking with Dinosaurs'. It's visually stunning, and a joy to watch.

Yet I was somewhat disappointed that the BBC had made only 3 episodes! Each 30 minute episode consists of two short sections - and I'm sure these could have been expanded. I was left wanting more!
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on 17 May 2011
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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on 13 October 2006
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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on 13 November 2013
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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on 4 July 2014
Brilliant. As the others in the series, its a brilliant dvd but again for young or sensitive children some scenes might be upsetting. My son didnt bother with them but he has been watching these series for quite a while now (he is nearly 6) and so he understands that they are not real even though meat eaters did attack and kill plant eaters.
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on 31 January 2014
well I ordered walking with dinosaurs and that was great so ordered this walking with beast which was just as good .For anyone who like the prehistoric era this is for you! great picture quality and good for educational purposes. so go on, and buy it !! zoverstocks can get it to you with no disappointment.
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on 29 May 2014
a look at earth before the dinosaurs and the evolution and extinction of some of the creatures,if you like dinosaurs great get it and if you are a kid having to do this stuff at school why read it when watching and writing it is easier
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on 4 January 2006
It is the case with all natural history programming that an element of "sexing-up" will always take palce. If a triceratops for instance was shown eating all day instead of fighting for territory, nobody would watch. The BBC is usually quite good at avoiding this angle as much as possible and in this case seems to strike the same good, tried and tested balance. As usual the visual effecs are stunning and the information delivered well. In regards to the earlier comment, I didn't get the impression from my university that thsi was ever designed to be a voyage thorough history overlooking the evolution of vertebrates, simply an eye-opener on what was previously tought to be less exciting than the more obvious choice of dinosaurs.
I would recommend this to any young palaeontologist's out there or anyone even faintly interested in the amazing world that existed millions of years before the dinosaurs came along.
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