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Allosaurus: Walking with Dinosaurs Special

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Branagh, Avery Brooks
  • Writers: Kate Bartlett, Michael Olmert
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: BBC / Warner Home Video
  • Release Date: April 10 2001
  • Run Time: 29 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059H6U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,015 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

Product Description

The phenomenal BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs spawned this 30-minute special. Using the same blend of computer animation, puppetry, and story-driven narration (by Kenneth Branagh), Allosaurus: A Walking with Dinosaurs Special centers on one particular dinosaur dubbed Big Al. Found in Wyoming in the 1980s, Big Al's fossil remains comprise the most complete allosaur skeleton ever found. Enough clues are found in the bones, 145 million years after his death, to tell the story of what might have happened from his birth to his death. The film's naturalistic approach (unlike that used in the Disney film Dinosaur, whose characters could talk) is quite spectacular, with chills (a bog turns out to be a big dinosaur threat), thrills (allosaurs chase a group of giant diplodocus), and humor (a baby allosaur seems to bump into the "camera"). A half-hour companion program, "Big Al Uncovered," illustrates how the "what-if" story of Big Al was constructed using facts uncovered by paleontologists (including the 17 injuries found in the skeleton) and filling in the gaps using the dinosaur's distant cousins (birds and crocodiles). The BBC production does not shy away from the violent world of dinosaurs, including mating and hunting techniques. However, any dinosaur fan age 7 and up should find all the Walking with Dinosaurs specials an exciting and fun education. --Doug Thomas

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vstmxo on April 9 2002
Format: DVD
The story of "Big Al," is a big hit with my 4-year-old son (and with me). This program was not produced specifically for kids, but the narration is clear and obviously comprehensible to viewers of all ages. I'm a big believer in not "dumbing-down" dialogue for the sake of children. Kids become motivated to learn -- and they do learn -- when they are challenged to understand what's going on around them. My kids want to know what mom and dad are talking about and what's going on in the world. So, they wrestle with the concepts that elude them and ask questions to fill in the blanks. "Allosaurus" has obvious dinosaur appeal, and it's truly educational and challenging. Some scenes deal with injury and death. I'd recommend that you preview the disc before showing it to your own children. In that vein, I recommend that you avoid "Walking with Prehistoric Beasts" for your kids. It's far more violent and intense than "Allosaurus."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew West on May 1 2008
Format: DVD
Allosaurus: The Story of Big Al is a beautifully engaging story that brings palaeontology to life. Great for adults and kids. This has been my daughter's favourite DVD since she was 3! She loves this DVD so much that for our vacation this year went to visit Big Al's skeleton at the University of Wyoming. This DVD uses a "you are there in the action" format to follow the life of an Allosaurus from hatching to his early demise. Watch Big Al struggle to survive in tough world where the prey are either super fast, super armoured, or super huge. Watch him unite with other young Allosaurs to take down a fully grown Diploducus. The features on the DVD explain the science behind the show to reveal how a skeleton can give up the secrets of the life and times of a creature that lived 145 Million years ago.
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Format: DVD
When I was a little kid, I used to dream of a world teeming with dinosaurs. I used to imagine what it would have been like when those skeletons I saw on exhibit lived, and how someone needed to play tour guide to that realm and how I should twist the handle. Sadly, no matter how I tried that doorway, it always remained closed, my time machine not quite working the way I would have intended, and dinosaurs were left either in bone formation or in the movies as monsters.
There was never an in-between.
With the creation of the Walking With Dinosaurs series, however, everything began to change and I, still that boy with an interest in that hobby, found myself addicted. The key that separated this series and made it "unique" - a word I try to use sparingly - is in the way the dinosaurs, our main actors and actresses, are portrayed. Instead of turning then into a depiction of a colossal, toothy menace or dryly discussing their lifespan in the way one discusses ancient relics, the series showcases dinosaurs by allowing one to walk with them through their terrain. From the flora and the fauna, the insect life and dinosaurs themselves, a depiction of CGI effects, prosthetics, and of "dinosaur knowing" comes to life. Here, you see the landscape the way it would have been, the animals roaming free and observed naturalistically, and the experience is incredible because it looks so vibrantly realistic.
In Allosaurus: A Walking With Dinosaurs Special, the Allosaurus "Big Al" is showcased as he struggles from the cradle while trying to grow into something fearsome. In sixty minutes, the fifteen years from the egg to the eventual demise it faces are depicted, showing a person that going to the head of the class wasn't easy in that age.
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Format: VHS Tape
The "seventh" episode of the spectacularly successful "Walking with Dinosaurs" series, "Allosaurus" - better known as "The Ballad of Big Al" outside the US - is a extraordinary follow-up to that series. It also served to whet many fans' appetite for the later "Prehistoric Beasts" series.
In "Allosaurus", we followed the life of "Big Al" literally from birth to the grave. Life wasn't all "blood in tooth and claw" for the top predator in Jurassic America, as we're shown. As a baby, Al had to watch for predators, especially his own kind! He had to literally teach himself to hunt, and some prey was just too big to take on without help. And mating was no pinic either; Al needs more than flowers to win a female's heart.
As a sequel of sorts to "Walking with Dinosaurs", "Allosaurus" does quite well. We're treated to the same CGI and animatronic effects seen in the previous series, and while the puppetry still needs a little work, IMHO, the CGI is top notch. All of the dinosaurs featured in the episode "Time of the Titans" - Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, and Stegosaurus - return here. Three more dinosaurs are added to the cast; Dryosaurus, Othnelia, and the famous Apatosaurus. As with "Dinosaurs", there is a "Making of..." episode, included on the VHS, giving us insight into the research of what is one of the most recognizable predatory dinosaurs, second only to Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor.
While "Allosaurus" is a wonderful series, I do have one little complaint. Surely the Framestore and BBC teams could have added a few more dinosaurs to the episode. They didn't need to have added more sauropods; three is enough.
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