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Walking With Prehistoric Beasts
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Walking With Prehistoric Beasts
Imagine a National Geographic survey of a natural world that hasn't existed for millions of years. The sequel to the mesmerizing Walking with Dinosaurs, one of the most imaginative explorations of the prehistoric world ever made, once again uses the technology of the Jurassic Park fantasies to re-create the "menagerie of weird and wonderful creatures" that roamed the globe after the dinosaurs. Designed as a series of survival dramas, each of the six episodes plays like a speculative Disney True Life Adventure (with appropriately resolute narration by Kenneth Branagh) centered around a day in the life of a creature or the seasonal cycle of a species: a pride of saber tooth cats, a herd of woolly mammoths, a tribe of hominids. It's all supposition, of course, but it's supposition based on the best research available. The BBC production, which does not shy away from this violent world, includes computer-animated footage of mating and hunting techniques. However, any prehistory fan 7 or older should enjoy this series. --Sean AxmakerSee all Product Description
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One would think that someone who does Shakespeare well should be able to get a nature show narration right, but it's obvious that paleozoology isn't Kenneth Branagh's passion, and both here and in Walking with Dinosaurs one sometimes hears that he is reading a badly-rehearsed (and occasionally poorly-written) script. Sir David Attenborough with his authority and enthusiasm would have been perfect for the job, and I was a bit surprised that such a major BBC fronting didn't feature his legendary voice and employed his singular talent in writing nature show narrations.
That aside, I enjoyed it both visually and from the educational point of view, even more so than Walking with Dinosaurs as this is a period of time that we, due to the dino craze, have heard far too little about in the major public channels before (would a film called Eocene Park be a great hit?).
I particularly enjoyed learning more about the origin of whales with the incorporation of the recent fossil findings of the ambulocetus.
The narrator does an excellent job of describing each era, the animal life, the flora and fauna, and the climate change and how it impacts the animal populace. Creatures spring to life on the screen eating, drinking, fighting, dying, and yes even (mating).
Caveats: First: I wish the documentary had gone into a bit more detail with early homo sapiens and Neanderthals. I felt the impact of these early humans on their environment wasn't fully explored. Second: About the only scenes I saw where the animation was left than perfect, was where/when the animals fed. The chewing and eating motions didn't seem quite right. The early chimp-like humans were picking nits. But the nits never seemed to quite make it INTO the mouths. Etc.
Finally, one word of caution, while this did not bother me, some sensitive viewers and young children, might have trouble with repeat scenes of graphic violence, and animal death. Even though its animation, it is very realistically portrayed and no punches are pulled. This is not a movie intended for young children( although mature children will love it).Read more ›
Or how about the Andrewsarchus, a five meter long wolf-like creature with bone crunching jaws over three feet long and related to the whale. In fact it BECAME the whales!
This is a two DVD set. The first holds six amazing episodes about six different periods of Earth's history, from right after the death of the dinosaurs to just before man starts to rule the planet. The second holds lots of fun extras: interviews, TWO 50 minute long behind-the-scene featurettes, photos, fact files and even storyboards.
Really helps fill in that space between dinosaurs and us. A must for any DVD library!
My first experience with this series was in London with the episode "Whale Killer". I knew then that this was something I wanted to see when it came across the "pond", and it was something I wanted to buy. It was a little disappointing that Stockard Channing, not Avery Brooks, narrated the Discovery Channel version, but she does a fair job. However, one would be better off buying the video version than taping the series off Discovery.
The video version is the original version that aired in the UK, with Kenneth Branagh's original narration. As with "Walking with Dinosaurs", Branagh's narration is greatly superior to Channing or Brooks', though one has to remember that Branagh isn't working with a script written for a version that is chopped up to accomidate the slighty stricter US censors and commercial time. And the video has the *complete*, uncut episodes from the original BBC airing. The animation continues from "Dinosaurs" and appears just as realistic, despite the added difficulty of rendering fur and feathers!
Although this is a excellent series, there are certain flaws that prevent the series from getting five stars. The animatronics continue to be, IMHO, of a lesser quality than the animation; they still look like rubber puppets. This is perhaps at it's most glaring in the fourth episode, with the early humans. The humans in that episode, despite more than adequate animation, just don't "feel" real, either animated or animatrionic.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
if you like prehistoric dinosaurs ... the family will love this video ... i have watched them repeatly ... nicePublished on April 2 2013 by Gregory A. Boshaw
Walking With Prehistoric Beasts Dvd is great to watch. The background music is not my favorite. If I could change it I would. Read morePublished on Aug. 3 2011 by My View
It's a great one for kids who love prehistoric animals. My 6-year-old hasn't stopping watching it since we received it a month ago.Published on July 8 2010 by Z. Kathy Liu
Just as good as the previous BBC "Walking With Dinos" series, and in our opinion, even better! My kids really liked seeing the variety of mamals - "the big, the bad, and the ugly"... Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2003
If you liked Walking with Dinosaurs, this video makes a good companion piece. You get the same fascinating computer animated and animatronic reconstructions, though in this case of... Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2002 by A. Burchfield
I don't recall anyone ever saying that the entire Phorusrhacidae was out-competed and driven into extinction by one genus of sabercat. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2002 by W. Svensen
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