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Allosaurus: Walking with Dinosaurs Special

Kenneth Branagh , Avery Brooks    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 35.19
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Allosaurus: Walking with Dinosaurs Special + Walking With Prehistoric Beasts
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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

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Effects with an Engaging Story April 9 2002
By Vstmxo
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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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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5.0 out of 5 stars Jurassic America's Greatest Predator June 19 2003
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the usual BBC Jan. 19 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Well,I have to say that I have seen this one,and it was better than the usual "Walking with Dinosaurs". This time,they have a real storyline,although it`s just a documentary film. And the dinosaurs seems a lot more full of life,although their look isn`t different. It`s a pity these series were not included in the book.
I this 30-minute special,we follow the allosaurus named Al from beeing an egg to his death. In fact,this could truly have been the life of an allosaur. But there are still a few things which I don`t understand (and it has happend TOO many times in "Walking with Dinosaurs"): why does he always start arguing with a female of his own kind?Why didn`t they let him fight another male to get the female instead?That would have been a little more realistic (and a more usual thing to happen in the dinosaur world as well).
Well,I know the filmmakers weren`t made out of cash,but I think this documentary could have been a little longer - 30 minutes was too short. It should have been about an hour. Then we would probably have had more time too learn about Al`s dangerous and wondrous world,and the fantastic creatures living there.
Still,I think this was a very nice addition to BBC`s most expensive project so far,and it is recommended watching both for dino-loving kids as well as for adults and anyone interested in dinosaurs & computer animations.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Allosaurus: Walking with Dinosaurs Special
Our 4 year old grandson just loves this dvd. He watches it at least once a day for his quiet time. Mom says he is glued to the tv everytime it is on. My husband even enjoyed it. Read more
Published on May 25 2009 by H. Corkett
5.0 out of 5 stars Make friends with a savage killer!
Allosaurus: The Story of Big Al is a beautifully engaging story that brings palaeontology to life. Great for adults and kids. Read more
Published on May 1 2008 by Matthew West
4.0 out of 5 stars Allosaurus: A Walking wiht Dinosaurs Special
BBC has done it agian, I also like the special effects on this program, and I also find this progam is worth watching and add to my collection. Read more
Published on March 26 2007 by Antym Pryshlakivsky
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched prehistoric ballad
This dramatic narrative follows the life of actual Allosaurus, Big Al, from an egg to the corpse of a fierce hunter. Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2003 by Kyle Bloomster
5.0 out of 5 stars Allosaurus - A Walking With Dinosaurs Asecial
I was more than pleased with the DVD and SERVICE!!
Published on Aug. 2 2002 by Duane Causey
5.0 out of 5 stars Give 5 Stars to Big AL
I loved the BBC's documentary series "Walking With Dinosaurs" so much, that when I saw this by them , I did not waste any time to get it ordered. Read more
Published on July 14 2002 by S. Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sequel Supreme
This equally excellent sequel is a spinoff of sorts of episode 2 "Time of the Titans" of the original Walking with Dinosaurs. Read more
Published on Jan. 15 2002 by Kellyannl
4.0 out of 5 stars Walk with me, talk with me
Another Walking with Dinosaurs video is almost as good as getting a second slice of key lime pie! In other words: Allosaurus is a fantastic installment to the already (and... Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2001 by Kent
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally misleading
I bought the DVD and was extremely irritated to receive only a demonstration version. This is not what it's advertised to be.
Published on Sept. 15 2001
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